Brands Respond With Optimism As Millennials Face More Challenges

Millennials have been over-analyzed and unfairly chastised for most of their adult lives. Yet the truth is they have been dealt a bad hand in more ways than one. Unfortunately, the pandemic is bringing a whole host of new challenges to this already disadvantaged generation, including issues with working from home, playing double duty as working parents, and a general higher level of mental distress than other cohorts, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina and Harvard Medical School. 

Below are a few attitudinal and lifestyle shifts set in motion by these growing pandemic pressures, and some clever brand responses to them.

The great reshuffling.  This describes the exodus from high-priced, heavily populated urban centers to towns and suburbs as millennials look to right-size their living spaces, get closer to family, or just feed their long-standing desire for home ownership.

As the concept of home is being radically redefined, a huge swath of Americans are soon going to be collectively embarking on a new life stage, and brands can tap into the excitement and optimism of new beginnings. For example, Zillow’s latest commercial says the brand will be of value during a time of much change.



Bubbles, pods, quaranteams. These are all terms used to describe a recent trend where two to three families agree to socialize restriction-free with each other, while continuing to maintain strict social distancing rules with others.

As we witness a shift in the concept of extended family, brands are looking beyond the traditional family plan to offer value as such. For example, UK travel company G Adventures has introduced Book Your Bubble tours, where guests are encouraged to book private group trips of 8 to unlock their family promotion.

Reimagining the staycation.  Staycationing is not a new concept. But as an audience that spent the last decade putting the experience economy into overdrive, millennials are taking advantage of a much-expanded definition of staycations: seeking out ways to stay entertained in and around their homebase. Brands are recognizing and responding to this audience’s pent-up desire for adventure in clever and inventive ways.

For example:

Explore the great outdoors: The Yeti+ platform features footage of pure, unadulterated streams across North America for its nature-loving fans. And Audi Australia created a four-hour road trip simulation that takes isolated Aussies across New South Wales.

Guided virtual tastings: Tech-forward wineries are offering tasting packs that can be shipped to homes or picked up curbside, coupled with virtual group tasting sessions.
Wanderlust from home: IKEA UAE released a series of décor collections, dubbed Vacations in a Box. The four travel destination-themed boxes contain a selection of items to transform the home into a mini-escape.

The economic and mental health consequences of the pandemic have hit millennials especially hard -- their families, finances, and future plans. Yet to date, they’ve shown impressive resilience and resolve to rebuild. Much like the examples mentioned above, brands can begin to lighten the load by offering optimism, value, and a spirit of inventiveness in light of uncertainty.

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