Mic Knows How to Speak Millennial: Insights From Millennial 20/20 Speakers

Mic's CSO, who will be speaking at the upcoming Millennial 20/20, answers five questions on reaching young consumers today, and says brands need to stop “dumbing down” content for the generations…

The way young consumers want to shop, interact with brands, consume content and make payments is evolving—and we’ll be talking about it all at Millennial 20/20 along with 4,000+ brands, retailers, corporates, service providers, media, entrepreneurs, and start-ups.

Join us at Millennial 20/20 North America in New York City on March 1-2, and use the code YPULSE25 to get 25% off your tickets here. 

 

Back in 2015, we called out Mic as one of the new platforms working to Millennialize the news. Since then, the site has continued to perfect their approach to reaching young consumers, learning what matters most to the generation, and the best way to communicate with them. Mic is on mission to prove Millennials care about the news. By 2016, 70% of the media brand’s audience was between 21-34-years-old, and they have continued to reach the highly-coveted demographic by using an adaptive storytelling strategy, and meeting their audience across relevant platforms. Their DisOrDatBot interactive bots has helped make Mic the most popular publisher on Kik, asking users to choose a side on a well-known issue and then informing them if they are in the minority or the majority. Recently, the brand teamed up with Discover to give Millennials financial advice on the new digital channel The Payoff, giving guidance on topics like managing student debt and setting up a Mint account. To reach people where they’re already spending their time, the content will exist in many forms, including podcasts, video series, newsletters and more. In other words, Mic knows about communicating with Millennials. 

We spoke to Mic’s Chief Strategy Officer Cory Haik to find out how the site is reaching Millennial consumers, and what they’ve learned about the generation:

Ypulse: What part of society, or what industry, do you think Millennials are impacting the most?

Cory Haik: It’s a majority held belief by young people that equality across race, class and gender are of utmost importance. This hot-button issue stretches across sectors, and for Millennials, it will be something they vote for in public offices and with their wallets.

 

YP: What has your brand done or changed specifically to better appeal to Millennials?

CH: Mic has debunked, over and over, that young people aren’t interested or don’t care about the news. Our audiences are looking for important and meaningful news, but in a way that’s relevant to them, and on platforms they spend their time with. The combination of Mic’s voice and platform-specific approach to storytelling have had immense success and impact in engaging young people around issues that are important to them.

 

YP: What has surprised you about Millennial consumers, or have you learned anything about selling to/reaching Millennials that might surprise readers?

CH: This isn’t surprising to Mic, per se, but I think to many publishers or marketers who think they need to ‘dumb down’ their offering, or make it super hip. Our audiences appreciate when we are talking to them in smart ways about issues that matter most to them, and aren’t just trying to create cute or ‘viral’ packaging. We have to give them the credit they deserve if we want them to take us seriously.

 

YP: What do you forsee as the next big trends the will impact young consumers’ shopping behaviors?

CH: Young consumers are voting with their wallets. It will be important for brands to connect to the issues Millennials care about and be transparent and true to their values. This is very core to Mic and how we approach our journalism every day.

 

YP: What is the one thing all brands should know about selling to/reaching Millennials and the next generation of consumers?

CH: Trust and transparency are key.

 

Cory Haik, Chief Strategy Officer

Cory is the Chief Strategy Officer of Mic where she leads the company's strategy and growth initiatives across editorial, product and sales. Prior to Mic, Haik was at the Washington Post, leading innovative initiatives  to grow new audiences on mobile and platforms. Previously, she cut her teeth following the storms of the Gulf Coast at NOLA.com, site of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where she was the Managing Editor. She shared in two Pulitzer Prizes with The Times-Picayune for the staff coverage of Hurricane Katrina, for breaking news and public service in 2006. She also shared in a staff Pulitzer in 2010 for the coverage of police officer shootings with the staff of The Seattle Times. Cory holds a Masters of Arts in Communication Theory from the University of New Orleans. 

 

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The Newsfeed

“It[‘s] only about the music for me, nothing else dictates what I listen to, I either like it or I don't.”—Male, 28, WA

A new app is getting teens’ attention as it rises through the ranks of the new social apps to know, even surpassing Houseparty’s popularity—but the catch is it’s “piggyback[ing]” on Snapchat. Polly allows users to create anonymous surveys that they can send on Snapchat (there's that anonymity allure again), meaning many users may not have actually downloaded the Polly app, so they “could slip away if friends stop posting questions.” For now though, the app amassed 20 million users and 100 million answers last month, proving it’s one to keep an eye on. (TechCrunch)

Designers are taking to social media to “shame” the retailers ripping off their work. When Zoila Darton spotted a Forever 21 shirt eerily similar to the one she helped create to benefit Planned Parenthood, she posted a tweet to let the brand know their copycat didn’t go unnoticed—and quickly gained attention from fashion editors and others. This isn’t the first time pieces have been copied by Forever 21, but designers have a hard time taking legal recourse against the powerful company. Instead, social media posts are often their best bet. (NYTimes)

BeautyCon is continuing to take “Sephora and Coachella and smash it into one thing” to appeal to young consumers. At the latest L.A. event, 20,000 beauty fans came to meet their influencer idols and try out the latest makeup trends, surrounded by empowering slogans and messages—true to the brand’s idea that “beauty can be something beyond a concealer culture.” Of course, brands were there “to win over the new generation”—ChapStick Duo offered cotton candy while Rimmel London’s “slayground” gave attendees a chance to set down their makeup and enjoy a jungle gym and swing set.
(The New Yorker)

It turns out saving money might not be cord cutters’ top reason for switching to streaming. Instead, a recent Magid Associates survey found that “the attractions” of SVOD programming (aka their content) is their top reason for making the move, followed by the overall decline of TV-viewing among 18-24-year-olds. Cable companies are trying to reel The Post-TV Gen back in by offering lower-cost cable bundles (so-called “skinny bundles”), but stepping up their shows might be a better first step to reversing the “accelerating” trend of cutting the cord. (TheStreet)

Pokémon is reaching out to a new generation of trainers with its first app for preschool-aged kids. Pokémon Playhouse follows in the wake of the massively successful augmented reality app, Pokémon Go (which was so popular that we put together an entire infographic on it) but won’t be AR-based. Instead, Playhouse will tap into the collectibles trend by featuring favorite characters like Pikachu for kids to collect by completing activities. There will also be puzzles and more in the app’s “interactive park.” (Kidscreen)

“I'm literally listening to music any time it is socially acceptable.”—Female, 28, MN

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