A Notion Divided

When many of us were living at home, before college, we dreamt of getting out of the suburbs and into the city. A lot of us made it to the city and planted new roots, while others were soon abruptly uprooted and forced to move back to the suburbs. Now, some of us are dreaming about willingly going back to the suburbs, but cannot leave the city. Depending on where we are at this point in our lives, due to the economic regression (yes, regression), the notion of the Millennial dream is now divided between suburb and city.

And that divide is pretty big. "Eighty-five percent of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation in May 2010,” while around “180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year.”



So, this means it is important that brands recognize not all Millennials are living equal.

And it is equally important to consider that not all Millennials want the same things at the same time. While Millennials are Millennials, everyone goes through the coveted Marketing Lifestyle Triggers at different times … especially these days.

For example, think about the cast of “Jersey Shore.” They are a group of Millennials of different ages, at different points in their lives, with different living situations outside the MTV house. When the filming and fist pumping ends for the season, one of the few things they really have in common is their age bracket.

Thus, while some delays in adulthood are obvious and others not so much, brands need to think about how to help us stop said societal-induced delay, and shift the regression into progression, no matter where we are.

Here are some thoughts for brands on connecting with Millennials on both sides of the divide:

  • Create and/or enhance more “third places” like McDonald’s between work and home to encourage more flexibility with work/life schedules, even enabling the option of telecommuting. McDonald’s recently added local news as part of its value meal with McTV, offering yet another reason to not just visit the restaurant but to stay at the restaurant. For those having trouble finding a job, or for those commuting, it is a free space in which to work on finding something.
  • Make it even easier for Millennials to be aware of and have access with your brand. Consider offering your goods and/or services via a vending machine in high-traffic areas in the city and suburbs. An August 2011 Vendialogue study shows Millennials would rather go to a vending machine over convenience stores and grocery/drug stores.
  • Be versatile in your offerings, think city and suburbs. For example, Ikea offers goods for big and small spaces, and Walgreens and 7-11 offer items specific to their markets/locations.
  • Think about providing what is missing … the things some may long for in one place and bring them to life through an association with your brand.  For example, for those in the ’burbs craving bits of city life, host events where people get to experience easily accessible life and culture from all over a county that are often seen in the city like farmer’s markets, food festivals, food truck events, traveling museums or exhibits, trunk shows, etc.


1 comment about "A Notion Divided".
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  1. Rhonda Campbell from NA, November 4, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.

    As soon as I read your vending machine comment I thought about a piece I saw on the local news yesterday, where some companies are selling meat out of vending machines. The meat stays cold akin to the way sodas and bottled water in vending machines do.

    That said, I think efforts to market and sell to folks in their late teens and 20s may yield strong results if those efforts focus on how products provide heightened consumer "convenience".


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