While writing this, I’m reminded of Seth Godin’s words, “The truth is elusive. No one knows the whole truth about anything. We certainly don't know the truth about the things we buy and recommend and use. What we do know (and what we talk about) is our story. Our story about why we use, recommend, or are loyal to you and your products. Our story about the origin and the impact and the utility of what we buy.” It’s no secret the big millennial buzzword these days is authenticity. The industry constantly shouts at marketers that you’ve got “be real” if you want to attract consumers.
But what does “being real” really mean? Too often, marketers race to forced PowerPoint presentations of mission statements and buyer personas. It’s true; millennial moms have changed how they prefer to interact with brands. They are more influential and have more access to information than any other generation. When people say, “Be authentic!,” it’s not just about telling a story about who you are as a brand. It’s about empowering people to tell the story of who they are and what they stand for. Fostering that connection pushes your business past the competition (did I mention less than 50% of millennial moms are brand loyalists?). It makes your brand relatable to customers and gives an impression of producing quality products.
However, millennial moms don't believe brands understand them. Almost 60% say they want brands to understand what matters to them as a parent.
While I hate to preach a manufactured list as the formula for authenticity, here are three things brands can do to help boost their authenticity:
1. Be relevant to me.
Seventy-four percent of online customers get frustrated with brands that deliver content that appears to have nothing to do with their interests. Moreover, according to a recent report, 42% of millennial-aged mothers believe that “most advertising and marketing is not geared toward women like me.”
Moms look to brands that can provide relevant and personalized messaging, offers and experiences. Take a look at retailer Zulily, whose mission is to create a different website for each customer. Zulily shows every single customer a different website every time she visits and sends her a personalized email every day. They aim to build a recommendation system that provides a personalized and fun Zulily experience across all platforms.
Moms take notice of personalization. In fact, give young moms ads that are relevant to their life-stage or their children's life-stages, and 62% of them will take notice.
2. Give. And really mean it.
While cause marketing is on the agenda of many marketing plans, it’s important to remember that cause marketing cannot be a one-off campaign, but should be baked into what the brand stands for. Eighty-seven percent of customers overwhelmingly choose brands that match their personal values, and more than half of millennial women have switched brands because it supported a cause they care about. Common examples point to brands like Warby Parker or Toms Shoes with a buy-one-give-one business philosophy, but the central theme is having a focused, genuine and simple message.
3. Let moms do the talking for you.
We all know social proof is a key driver for moms. Eighty-four percent of millennial moms rely on recommendations from trusted peers. Brand advocacy should be the cornerstone of every effort you make to “be real.” The best way to make your message authentic is to have other people say it for you. Spark advocacy with your best customers by providing useful content, exclusive brand experiences and new information.
Always remember that your brand is a reflection of your consumer’s personality. To “be real” means acting like a human. I’ll end with the rest of Mr. Godin’s quote, “Marketing is storytelling. The story of your product, built into your product. The ad might be part of it, the copy might be part of it, but mostly, your product and your service and your people are all part of the story. Tell it on purpose.”