The generation a person is born into can dictate a lot about how they will grow up, and those born between the early 1980s to mid-1990s are specific in their own right. Millennials have become a key target demographic, whose idiosyncrasies and particular traits should be observed closely, especially by those of you looking to distinguish your brand from the rest.
So what makes a millennial? It’s difficult to place people into categories, and, ironically, that’s something a lot of the millennial generation would resist. However, we’ve come up with four key characteristics that are important to consider.
1. Everything Is Online
The millennial generation was born into the Digital Era, and so tends to feel more comfortable with social media and new technologies. The way products and services are experienced is moving into the online world at rapid speed, and millennials appreciate and encourage this migration both for convenience and novelty. If it’s not online, they probably won’t use it.
2. Me, Me, Me
Psychologist Jean Twenge refers to millennials as “Generation Me,” likely in reference to the way they strive for individuality in a world that is getting smaller every day. The importance of connectivity and feeling like your voice is heard is crucial, and goes back to the increased usage of social media in today’s world. Feedback, of any kind, is not only welcomed, it is expected.
3. Do The Unexpected
If you’ve ever tried to tell a millennial what to do, you’ll likely understand that this generation really doesn’t enjoy rigid constraints or conventionality. Whilst gentle guidance can be very effective in drawing millennials to your brand, the most effective strategy is to create a brand they want to be a part of, and choose to follow.
4. We’re All In This Together
Whilst they strive for individuality, millennials are also more concerned than their generational predecessors about the society in which they live. David Burstein describes them as “pragmatic idealists.” They want to engage with things that can make the world a better place, but they know it takes a lot of work to make meaningful change.
Millennials are the most studied generation in recent history, and if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that they’re a cohort of individuals all keen to make a difference in the world. The best way you can engage with them is to show them how you can help with that.
 Twinge, Jean (September 30, 2014). "Generation Me – Revised and Updated: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before".
 Burstein, David (February 12, 2013). Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. p. 3