Editor's View - February 2017

Attracting Millennials Through Brands
By Wanda Jankowski

Though there are other people in the universe, it seems where business is concerned the conversation inevitably swings back to how to reach the Millennial generation. In this issue, branding is explored in “Unique Visions” as well as in the “Kathy Ireland on Brand Success” column next door. To round out our branding coverage, here are some thoughts on the Millennial mindset from industry experts featured in “Unique Visions.”

Liz Romano, creative director at Belle Maison, comments, “I think Millennials are still drawn to products that are fresh, updated and aspirational. Social media brings interior design to a more accessible level by allowing followers access to home décor solutions previously reserved for a smaller audience. Accessible fashion has influenced the Millennial shopper and they do expect home brands to update their collections more often.”

When it comes to comfort sleep brands, whose best features often require explanation, Eric Linn, vice-president of marketing, Soft-Tex Manufacturing Co., states, “Millennials are generally very inquisitive and are interested in the technologies behind the product. However, they are primarily visual buyers and learners, so your product packaging and online marketing needs to appeal to that mindset.”

Romano also notes an interesting phenomenon indicating that the idea behind the Peter Allen song, “Everything Old Is New Again,”still has some validity. “There are some design motifs and weaving processes that have resurfaced from their grandparents’ generation that the Millennial shopper considers trendy and reto,” Romano says.

Ilana Wilensky, vice-president & partner, Jewel Branding & Licensing, builds on that idea in offering a caution: don’t assume all Millennials think and act like. “‘Millennials’ is definitely the big buzz word of the moment, and while it is important to understand this demographic, it is also short-sighted to assume that this enormous population has all the same tastes and preferences,” she says. “While we do find certain aesthetics may skew more towards Millennials, the range of looks are so diverse. For example, Bouffants & Broken Hearts fashion bedding is bold, vibrant and quirky, which has definitely struck a chord with this demographic. Conversely, we represent the brand, Heirlooomed, which is bedding that has a vintage look and celebrates goods inspired by the past for future generations to enjoy. These are two extremely different brands and aesthetics that appeal to different segments of Millennials.

“I think what’s more universal about the Millennial generation is how they obtain information and how they prefer to shop. They never knew a time without the internet, social media, e-commerce, smartphones, etc., and these are the platforms that drive their tastes and purchase behaviors,” Wilensky concludes.

Designer Nikki Chu, for example, created videos for a social media campaign called “Designer Bedding Makeover” in which she partnered with celebrities and influencers to make over their bedrooms incorporating Nikki Chu Home products. The social media series garnered millions of consumer impressions and directed viewers to where her products are sold.

A brave new world, indeed!

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