For Anne-Marie Lavan, Bauer Media’s group marketing director, The Millennials Chapter marks a new era for the company.
This is Bauer’s first audience led insight project to support the business’s new commercial structure consisting of multi-platform agency and client hubs.
“This re-organisation leaves us highly flexible to best serve both our consumers and commercial customers” says Lavan. “We started thinking about how we would support that new alignment with best-in-class audience insight”
Tackling the Millennials was the obvious choice. Bauer Media UK reaches over 22 million UK consumers every week through multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, Kiss, Grazia, Empire, Magic and Absolute Radio. In fact, it reaches 57% of consumers aged 16 to 34.
“We’ve always had a strong track record with this age group , it’s an important demographic to understand,” she says.
Lavan believed much of the existing insight into Millennials was “zeitgeisty” – “great fun but I don’t know how usable it is”, and tends to lump nearly 20 years of adult life into just one stereotype. Her plan was for an in-depth piece of research aimed at uncovering the real Millennials, something that with its ties to TGI Clickstream would be of everyday use to agencies and advertisers.
By being audience-led it is also more relevant for Bauer’s advertiser audience than simply knitting together brand stories, and will grow in size and depth, with further ‘chapters’ planned. It worked with Crowd.DNA and Kantar Media to make The Millennial Chapter highly “credible” to an agency audience, adds Lavan.
The results are impressive – Bauer has identified five very distinct types of Millennial, who brands and advertisers should target accordingly, from the very vocal ‘Influencers’ who have high media usage and are ‘in’ to everything, to the slightly older ‘Contented', satisfied with life, perhaps with children, and less likely to engage with advertising.
Internally, too, the research is having an impact on how Bauer executives view their audience and is informing new product development and innovation workshops.
“I’m personally really proud of it, because it’s credible. It really does take a deep look into how Millennials’ live,” she says. “It’s about concentrating on ‘who’ they are rather than just ‘how’ they are accessing media. We’re getting under the skin of what they are worried about and their ambitions, rather than simply if they are 'mobile first'.”
The research also reveals, or ratifies, some common themes across the generation. More than ever, they value experiences over possessions, are pragmatic, knowledge-hungry and incredibly creative. They create, comment and share like never before, something that has become particularly prevalent for the younger Millennials who have grown of age in a post-recession era.
“There is so much more opportunity to be creative. During the 1970s recession young people were just quite angry… and we got punk,” Lavan says. “That generation tended to express themselves through music and fashion. Now there’s a lot more to play with in expressing yourself.”
They’re also harder to reach but conversely much more aware of brands and advertising, speak the media language and accept the commercial deal – on their terms. It’s great news for brands, but mind how you step says Lavan.
“You can get it really wrong, so of course you have to be authentic and real,” she says. “You have to treat them like partners rather than customers. They’re part of the insight --- and the solution,” she cautions.
Bauer Knowledge: The Millennial Chapter is funded by Bauer Media but all content is editorially independent, except pieces labelled "brought to you by". Find out more here