The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Katie Deighton, Senior Reporter

May 4, 2016 | 3 min read

The Drum caught up with the likes of Expedia, Planet Organic and Matches Fashion to discover their secrets to engaging with the often-analysed millennial age group.

Appropriately speaking at the Millennial 20/20 event, many brand representatives stressed the importance of content when engaging with a target group aged 18-34. “This is the generation that love sharing content; they look at their consumer peer groups to get inspiration and also social affirmation,” said Gary Morrison, senior vice president and head of retail at Expedia.

“You have to go where that group is and it is on social networks. You have to make sure you’re getting content and information about your products and services in those networks so they can engage with them and share them and comment on them and with that you’ll start to get more brand recognition and loyalty.”

While getting content in front of millennials is still important to Sebastian Neylan, director of online marketing at Lonely Planet, it is vital that it retains a tone of voice to set a brand apart.

He explained: "Be sure that you’re entertaining them - it’s not enough to inform and inspire you need to have a bit of quirk, a bit of edge, something funny, very visual.”

Pinpointing the notion of “quirk” is now essential to Fortnum & Mason’s marketing team, which was set the challenge of engaging a younger audience with a brand associated with an older (and richer) crowd.

“We set about making sure we got out in the world and became more fun, because that was the feedback we had from that age group - that we’re a little formal and not really for them,” Fortnum & Mason's customer experience director, Zia Zareem-Slade, said.

The brand set about forging a relationship with Somerset House’s iconic Christmas skate experience, appearing at festivals and developing champagne ice pops. Through these little changes, brand perception has shifted palpably, according the Zareem-Slade.

“By being a little less formal and taking ourselves out of Piccadilly has been the way we’ve connected with those customers,” she said. “And that for us has really been quite powerful.”

For one brand, engaging millennials has been easy - so easy, in fact, that its marketing strategy has not had to change at all. Planet Organic, the healthy living retailer, was born out of founder Renée Elliott's values in sustainability, values which have infiltrated the millennial market thanks to influencers such as Deliciously Ella and Madeleine Shaw.

"People ask us all the time: ‘How do we market to the millennials?' and to be honest we don’t,” Elliott told The Drum. “We just do what we do and they get us because they get health and they understand social responsibility, taking care of the planet, taking care of yourself, being disruptive and [being] audacious.

“That’s what we are and what we’ve always been."

Expedia Fashion Fortnum & Mason

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