The 80 million members of the Millennial generation represent 25% of the U.S. population and more than $200 billion in annual buying, according to Barkley. Still, there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding this group.
Now, Red Peak Branding, a unit of Hakuhodo DY Holdings, is launching Red Peak Youth (RPY) in what the group says is a bid to cut through the hype and connect marketers to Millennials and their actual purchasing behaviors and attitudes.
“As we complete our fourth year, creating RPY is a natural extension of our existing business," said James Fox, CEO, Red Peak. "Our experience with Millennials shows the importance of understanding how and why to connect with this distinct and broad group."
Megan Meagher, strategy director at Red Peak Branding, leads RPY. She reports to Fox. Meagher has been with Red Peak since 2010, and although just 30, her age is an asset to lead this group. "Part of the reason [for this division] came from my frustrations. I am at the older end of Millennials, but people are missing the mark. I want to provide clarity," she says.
RPY will be treated as its own department within the larger Red Peak unit, and will work with both current Red Peak clients as well as approach new ones separately. Already, RPY has provided services for American Express, CMJ Music Festival, and You on Demand.
"Interest about this broad demographic group, Millennials, is high among marketers now for many reasons, foremost among them that this group has and will continue to have massive spending power for the coming years," says Meagher. "We launched Red Peak Youth because we believe that much of what's being said about Millennials is misleading, starting with the very term: Millennials is meaningless. From a historical standpoint, they aren't truly a generation. Rather, what binds these people, roughly from the ages of 18 to 35, together, is experience: they've lived with the Internet throughout their lives and as such are ‘always-on.’ We think that distinguishing between those adults who've grown up with smartphones, Facebook and social media as a way of life versus those who've come to use the web and social media in adulthood reveals useful and actionable insights."
"This market is really saturated with everyone saying something differently with a lot of cliches and misinterpretations," says Meagher.
RPY will differentiate itself from other Millennial-focused agencies through its emphasis on specialization. "We don't want to put a veneer on this group, but to get in there to get accurate information for brands," says Meagher. "Our approach is not to go after the entire group at once, but to get brands to vary their target by specific characteristics, such as geography or life stage. We use research and data and speak directly with Millennials through focus groups and online panels. We want to know what makes them tick rather than rely on outside information."
This new unit is supported with six new employees across strategy, design, and account management. Rafael Medina, Associate
Creative Director, joins from brand strategy firm Siegel+Gale in NYC. Catherine Mevs, Strategy Director, moves to Red Peak from ad agency BBDO NY where she was senior strategic planner. Berkeley
Ramsbottom, Account Supervisor, was formerly a strategic partnership manager at T3 in Austin, TX. Anthony Perez, Senior Strategist, joins from ad agency McCann Erickson. Jordan Jacobson, Senior
Designer, moves from NYC digital-and-design agency Metronome3. And Kristen Nozell, Junior Strategist, was previously with PSFK.
Earlier this spring, Hakuhodo DY Holdings, the second-largest advertising and marketing services holding company in Japan, acquired marketing and branding specialist Red Peak Group to form a new division called kyu . Former Omnicom Group Vice Chairman Michael Birkin, founder of Red Peak Group, was tasked with running this new division.
At the time, executives said their focus was to expand specialty services, which is what it is doing with this new Millennial-focused unit. Still, don't expect Boomer or Gen X specific divisions just yet, says Meagher. "We have our hands full with Millennials. This group is the one with the most cloudy perception. But I could see us introducing something focused on Gen Z in the future."
Red Peak Group has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, London, Rio de Janeiro and Taipei, and in addition to RPY, includes Red Peak Branding and RPMC. Red Peak Branding offers expertise in the areas of design and branding, brand strategy development; research; and naming, packaging and advertising production. RPMC offers a range of experiential services in the world of sports and music.