We always have our eye out for the next trends that will influence the way Millennials approach life, brands, marketing, buying, and more—but once we write about a trend it doesn’t just stop developing. In our quarterly Lifeline report, we make sure to track the trends we’ve covered in the past to keep our subscribers in tune with the new examples and iterations we’ve seen. Today we’re doing the same for you, looking at three of the trends we’ve let you know about and giving you an update on what’s happening with them today.
What we said then: Group dating is on the rise, with a growing number of services, apps and sites being created to take the awkwardness out of a one-on-one night with a stranger. The trend only makes sense for the group-oriented generation, who view their friends as their safety net and thrive in using the digital world as a tool to foster offline connections. Services focused on organizing group-dates are catching the attention of more and more single Millennials who are looking for easy, comfortable ways to meet up, and are bypassing the trappings and troubles of online dating. The Dating Ring has new users fill out an extensive profile, but not to be posted for anyone’s perusal. Only the matchmakers who work for the site read the profiles, in order to create group dates that are filled with optimal matches.
What’s happening now:
The Dating Ring has taken group dating to the extreme, arranging cross country dates by flying a group of single Millennial women from New York across the country to mingle with single Millennial men in San Francisco. After spotting a gender imbalance in each city, the founders of the group matchmaking service launche d a Crowdtilt to sponsor free trips to the opposite coast for NYC women looking for love (and another to sponsor a reverse trip for SF men). The fundraising effort was a success, raising $10,000, and The Dating Ring will be sending a group of women on a four day trip full of parties and dates to find love over Memorial Day weekend. The idea may sound bizarre to some, but many Millennials are clearly willing to band together and go the distance to find the one.
What we said then: As social media has lifted the barriers between brand and consumer, making one-on-one conversations not just possible but expected, marketing has begun to shift to beyond-niche levels. Marketing will have to become more customized to capture Millennial consumers’ attention. Brands that are shifting from broadcasting a mass-message to reaching out to small groups, and sometimes a single consumer, with a tailored experience are rising above the marketing melee in more ways than one. If done right (hint: with sincerity), this “audience of one” marketing can transform a brand experience from transactional to a relationship.
What’s happening now: J.Crew is the latest band to jump on the personalized bandwagon, but you might say they took the one-on-one marketing approach to the next level. In August of last year, fashion blogger Jenni Avins posted an open letter to Jenna Lyons, President and Creative Director of J.Crew, on New York Magazine’s The Cut blog, professing her love for one of the brand’s discontinued one-piece swimsuits and begging them to bring it back. J.Crew and Lyons didn’t just respond to Avin’s plea, they made her wish their command. Early this month, they responded with a two-page ad in NYMag announcing the suit’s return, with a handwritten note from Lyons to Avins included. Though bringing back a product from the dead isn’t always a possibility, responding to the highly publicized plea of one influencer in this case garnered J.Crew positive PR and exposure worth way more than a simple swimsuit.
Social Good Gamified
What we said then: Charity is constantly being re-defined as Millennials find their foothold and discover the ability to make change, despite pockets suffering from debt. Combining Millennials’ affinity for music festivals and the chance to make an impact, last year’s Global Citizen Festival was a prime example of Millennial-tailored philanthropy. The event drew 60,000 newly appointed “Global Citizens” to Central Park’s Great Lawn. Did we mention that every ticket was free? It starts with Global Citizen’s slogan: “Take Action. Earn Points. See Impact.” A tagline that might sound like it was written by Tarzan is extremely effective, focusing first on the gaming aspect of this program to reel in Millennials. To earn points, Global Citizens can watch videos (+1 point), share articles to social networks and blogs (+1 point), take quizzes (+3 points), sign petitions (+3 points), and send emails to government representatives (+5 points). Once participants have earned 8 points, they have the chance to win double-pass concert tickets to the festival, with the ability to enter multiple times to increase the chance of winning. The system is simple, accessible, and makes attending the concert into a gamified act of good.
What’s happening now: Global Citizen is continuing their gamified approach to philanthropy, this year posing a challenge to those who want to attend fee-free concerts with their new eco-awareness campaign. In partnership with Ekocycle, the nonprofit declared April 9th “A Day Without Waste,” encouraging participants to “trade wasteful habits for points” and share the ways that they were reducing waste on social media with the hashtag #ADayWithoutWaste. Those who shared earned points that could be used towards tickets to concerts featuring Kings of Leon, Edward Sharpe, and other artists. According to Ekocycle, the effort kept 1.5 million waste items out of landfills around the world, and the campaign is continuing, with more participants sharing their efforts to conserve in order to earn points towards a musical experience.