Commentary

You Can Have Us At Hello

Dear Brands,

Remember when you had a hard time distinguishing us from other generations, and weren't sure how to best engage us let alone keep us engaged? Well, we don't. For as long as we've be around, brands have been gathering data on us, judging, watching, look -- some of us remembering more or less than others given the rapid evolution of technology.

And that's why it's so surprising, for us at least, to understand why there's so much noise in the media around the "new" data that our phones keep records of our movements and locations. These days, who doesn't!?

It's like saying, after all this time of doing things like accepting terms we didn't read to download a new app, finding out the city I personify via games on Facebook, following a pin on an iPhone to get to the suburbs, jamming to Band of Horses on Pandora or making a reservation on Opentable.com that it's a mystery the brands we're engaging with know information about us. It's not a secret or a surprise, it's a truth. Brands know about us because we give them information.

In a day and age when we're always on, always connected, it's not just to our people but to myriad brands we've chosen (some willingly, inadvertently or by association) to share with to make said connections possible. And when you really think about it, we're also connected to the connections of the brands and so on. So, it's strange to say we want more privacy when we're not being so private.

However, as Stephen Colbert would say, there is an element of "truthiness." We are aware we're giving you information, more so and more willing, than other generations, but we don't want you to do evil with it. Or use it to annoy us.

Since you know so much about us, use it to act with purpose than to make noise. And do things that help and make life better. Because that's what we're doing for you, right? And remember, when we share we expect something in return.

Thus, brands, we encourage you to turn this seemingly negative media hype into something positive. Engage us, enable us to engage others about you and give us a reason to reengage. Sure, like Spanx, there's not a one size fits all option. But you have the capability to localize and personalize your messaging. And here are a few examples of how to do that:

  • Surprise and delight: If you had a cancellation and you know I tried to make a reservation and was denied or I'm within 100 yards of your restaurant, holla!
  • Customer serve-us: Consider an act like the beer vendor at Safeco field who delivers beer upon tweet.
  • Entice me to stop by: If I'm traveling and you know my coffee addiction because of my mobile app, lure me into a nearby located location along my path with a free whatever it is I drink.
  • Enhance my experience: Think about a way to extend the Amazon and Apple online recommendation services offline to make my experience better.

  • Make me feel special: When I check into a hotel with my credit card, right then, give me the option of earning rewards through a trip to the restaurant or bar. Or toss in a discount to try the spa.

You get where I'm going with this.

So, with the information you have and the access to us, help us help you.

Signed,

Jerry "If I was a Millennial" Maguire

4 comments about "You Can Have Us At Hello".
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  1. Byron Wolt from Speak to Students, May 6, 2011 at 4:51 p.m.

    GREAT information. I have marketed to high school students for 13 years now and I am always AMAZED at how many hard core, old school sales people are willing to give up ALL future contact with youth in order to make some monthly sales quota NOW. Instead of building a relationship with content and value to millenials, too many practice The ABC method of Always Be Closing which is one of the most off putting things you can ever do to a millenial.

    Thanks again for your information. In my opinion it is VERY accurate and useful if you want to market to youth!

  2. Paul Myers from 540 Productions, May 6, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.

    We just launched a new platform that allows restaurants and other retailers to communicate to their customers within 100 yards of your restaurant via custom branded WiFi hot-spot zones.

    Upcoming programs with automotive brands and NFL teams will allow consumers to enter a WiFi "zone" and automatically receive offers for coffee or a free whatever it is you drink.

    Branded WiFi zones at NFL games will make the consumer experience better along with discounts on NFL team merchandise and/or concessions.

    Recent pilot programs offered Gen-Y consumers free MP3 downloads along with sweepstakes and contest prizes such as home and car audio, skateboard, snowboards and other action sports equipment, apparel and accessories.

    The best part is that its easy! The consumer does not have to pair their bluetooth device, nor jump through a bunch of other hoops in order to receive the information, offers and other content.

    Plus, they get to decide when, where and how much they want to receive from the brands and consume at their own pace rather than being "force-fed"...

  3. Paul Myers from 540 Productions, May 6, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.

    We just launched a new platform that allows restaurants and other retailers to communicate to their customers within 100 yards of your restaurant via custom branded WiFi hot-spot zones.

    Upcoming programs with automotive brands and NFL teams will allow consumers to enter a WiFi "zone" and automatically receive offers for coffee or a free whatever it is you drink.

    Branded WiFi zones at NFL games will make the consumer experience better along with discounts on NFL team merchandise and/or concessions.

    Recent pilot programs offered Gen-Y consumers free MP3 downloads along with sweepstakes and contest prizes such as home and car audio, skateboard, snowboards and other action sports equipment, apparel and accessories.

    The best part is that its easy! The consumer does not have to pair their bluetooth device, nor jump through a bunch of other hoops in order to receive the information, offers and other content.

    Plus, they get to decide when, where and how much they want to receive from the brands and consume at their own pace rather than being "force-fed"...

  4. Jay Levin from Kerr Hill Inc., May 8, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.

    Nice post Cori,
    I agree when you say "Engage us, enable us to engage others about you and give us a reason to reengage."
    It's fundamental. When more and more reports Forrester included are saying that younger audiences hate brands and don't want them anywhere in their social media - your message is not only relevant but timely.
    I can tell you unequivocally, what most of us already know - that people want conversations. They don't want to be shouted at or talked at. Not hard to get. Who wants to talked at or down to. There's nothing experiencially enhancing in that. You're right we all want to be surprised and delighted.
    As a producer for a frontier edge online studio that amasses loyal, engaged and sustaining community audiences that connect and convert. We do this by creating characters that embody the brand, lifestyle and call to action messages of the clients we represent.
    I look forward to reading more comments.

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