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Trust is King When Advertising Towards Millennials

Laura Criscione
The world that we live in today is inundated with advertisements. Whether it be television commercials, billboards, radio commercials, magazine and newspaper ads etc. The list goes on. Older generations have become accustomed to this type of advertising and it worked in the past for companies to promote their products and services in this manner. However, Generation Y, the millennials, have completely altered the way businesses need to grab their consumers’ attention.  It is important for companies to get involved with how these young adults are responding to ads, since they “officially make up a majority of the voting age population and the workforce, and they’re close to making up the majority of entrepreneurs.” [1]

Millennials have become immune to traditional advertising. GenY are considered “digital natives”, the first generation to grow up literally attached to smartphones, tablets and laptops, with access to social media and the Internet.”[2] By being surrounded by technology 24/7, they have changed the way they view advertising. Unlike previous generations, such as GenX, “only about 1% of millennials claim that a compelling advertisement influences them. The rest are almost naturally skeptical of advertising. They think it’s all spin, so they don’t bother paying attention.”[3] 

Millennials have learned to ignore the thousands of ads they see every single day. They think ads are invasive, intrusive and untrustworthy. “When deciding to purchase something they communicate with each other far more than any advertising campaign can. When trying to figure out whether something is worth buying, millennials will go to their friends and social networks to see what people think.”[4]  In order for companies to get through to this generation, different tactics are needed. The bottom line is TRUST.

Millennials want authenticity. They want authentic brands, and companies who want to build relationships with them. The best way to show authenticity is by being active on social media and communicating with their consumers on an everyday basis. Connecting online depicts they are willing to learn more about their customers, showing they care. Millennials want to be involved with their favorite brands and expect to get things in return for being so actively involved. “They want to control their messaging. They also are easily incentivized. They expect to be rewarded for their loyalty, for their followers or likes. They want coupons. They want to be among the first to receive updates. They want to be included in a brand’s communications efforts.”[5] This openness between business and consumer allows for relationships to grow and businesses to expand.  

What’s even more important than openness on social media? Content creation is key. “Millennials want more. They want it now. They want it newer. And they want it faster than ever before. They consume and share content like crazy – but it has to be good – innovative, and cutting edge. They want easy and transportable. They want connectivity and share-ability.”[6] Creating content, whether it be on social media, blogs, or business websites, allows for more engagement and trust among these digital savvy young adults. By knowing that their favorite brand is active online, makes them more inclined to do the same. This also leads to building better relationships since they know these companies are authentic and transparent. In addition to businesses giving back to their customers, millennials are also looking for companies to give back to the world and community in the same fashion. “Another factor that attracts millennials is social goodness. If they feel a brand is doing good for the world, giving back, is keen on building and nurturing relationships, and has an authentic voice, they’ll become loyal.”[7] 

Generation Y is all about trust. They won’t trust brands unless they are given a reason to do so. By being open, actively communicating with them, and creating relevant content allows for greater relationships to be made, leading to even more successful businesses in the future.  

By: Laura Criscione


[1] Tyson, Matthew. "Millennials Want Brands To Be More Authentic. Here's Why That Matters." The Huffington Post., 21 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
[2] Newman, Daniel. "Research Shows Millennials Don't Respond To Ads." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
[3] Tyson, Matthew. "Millennials Want Brands To Be More Authentic. Here's Why That Matters."
[4]  Newman, Daniel. "Research Shows Millennials Don't Respond To Ads."
[5] Newman, Daniel. "Research Shows Millennials Don't Respond To Ads."
[6] Newman, Daniel. "Research Shows Millennials Don't Respond To Ads."
[7]  Newman, Daniel. "Millennials Don't Care about Ads: So How Do We Build Community around Them? - Power More." Power More. 23 July 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.


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