Those darn “elusive” Millennials

Similar to the discontent that some folks have for the 2011 vintage out of California, marketing to us millennials keeps popping up on the airwaves of discussion. This generation is still baffling marketers and I don’t know why. We are pretty awesome and totally deserve the attention…but let’s set that aside for now. If there is one thing that companies are missing the boat on when it comes to this crazy millenial generations it is the following:

Being authentic.

That doesn’t mean you pretend to. It doesn’t mean you create some elaborate story line of why you are authentic. You just do it. It is kind of like being awesome. No one who is awesome ever says that they are awesome. Those that boldly state they are awesome simply aren’t. Everyone around them knows this so they nod and smile while that individual gives a little love to their ego. My favorite commercial that was on the air a while back is Budweiser’s jab at the craft beer industry. They are doing the exact thing that won’t work (or maybe it will, what do I know). It is a “Hey everybody! Come see how awesome we are at brewing beer the hard way” advertisement that proves two things:

  1. They are threatened by the craft beer industry and the real authenticity that comes from it (pumpkin peach ale and whatnot).
  2. They just don’t understand what they are up against from a marketing standpoint.

I am fine with Budweiser as a beer, there is a reason why it has been pretty successful as a product. That said I put it in the same category as Coors, Heineken, Tsingtao etc etc. It’s a beer. I know what I am getting and I really don’t have to think twice. Realistically they are on the same playing field as the hipster enjoyed PBR, Olympia, Hamms, Rainier (love me some Rainier) and so on. High Life has it’s own level somewhere in there because, let’s face it, it is the Champagne of beers. All of these are steady, consistent and refreshing when all you want is that cold one at the end of the day. If these styles of beer were so good why has the craft brewing scene exploded like it has? Why are people lining up for hours to get a couple sips of Pliny the Younger? The craft scene is authentic. So they don’t make beer the “hard way” but they make it the interesting way that people like to connect to.

I really don’t care at all about Budweiser’s production methods but if I walk into Russian River Brewing or Cascade Barrel House I want to geek out about those beers. They are cool, they are different and they are doing things that stand out from the “popular” beer world. Sure they aren’t as big but you know what, they make some damn fine brew. Why are millennals so elusive? We aren’t. We just crave the things that have an authentic, interesting story that we can connect to (or we are just trying to do something before it was cool). We aren’t as interested in the things that have no personality or story.

My theory: the big guns in each industry are too big to notice the details.

Probably because they are too busy doing things “the hard way.” Work smarter, not harder folks.


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