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. 

 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I follow movie critics/sites on Twitter - this is the best way to find out latest news and upcoming films.”—Male, 23, AL

McDonald’s new ad is brand-free and interactive. In the TV spot starring Mindy Kaling, she never says the brand’s name and no logo appears—though she is wearing a yellow dress in front of a red background. Instead, Kaling asks viewers to go to Google and search "that place where Coke tastes so good" to find out for themselves. Requesting the viewer to take action “play[s] on how teens and twentysomethings use their phones while watching TV, while also acknowledging "how they're discovering information" they trust. The ad has been viewed almost 4 million times since being posted earlier this week. (Inc.MediaPost

Nintendo might have plans to dominate the holidays (again). Last week, the brand announced the discontinuation of the wildly popular NES Classic Edition after very limited availability—news that was not received well by gamers worldwide. But now rumor has it that the brand is working on a SNES Classic Edition that could come in time for Christmas 2017, according to Eurogamer's sources. If their response is any indication, Millennial nostalgia will guarantee a success for the relaunch of the classic console. (Let’s just hope Nintendo makes enough this time.) (WWG)  

“Satisfying videos” are trending, and brands are taking notice. Clips that feature “repetitive tasks, perfect patterns in motion or machinery processes being completed in slow motion, with relaxing music” are providing Millennials and Gen Z an escape from stress—as we explored in our In Their Heads trend. These videos—which include things like paint mixing, slime squeezing, and cake icing—are only getting more popular online: over 265,000 posts on Instagram currently live under the hashtag #satisfyingvideos. Prism TV is one brand capitalizing on the trend, with a promotional video series that shows painters mixing colors together in slow motion. (DIGIDAY

Teens are ushering in a new era of “webrooming.” According to a new Dealspotr survey, 47% of 20-year-olds and younger are using their phones as their primary source for online apparel shopping, compared to 39% of Millennials and 37% of Gen X and Boomers. However, since they are less likely to have digital payment options, they were also the most likely age group to shop in-store, signifying they are using mobile to “reverse showroom” or “webroom.” The survey also found that H&M leads as the most popular retailer for the group, followed by Forever 21. (Yahoo FinanceDealspotr

Beauty brands regularly market to Millennials by speaking to their too-busy, “chicly rushed lifestyles,” but is it the right approach? Newcomers Milk Makeup and Allies of Skin are just a few examples of brands growing their beauty empires by offering simple products that are easy to apply, have multiple uses, and can shorten routines for the busy consumer. But when it comes to beauty, quality may come before convenience, especially for young consumers who enjoy spending time on makeup routines: a Ypulse survey found that 55% of 13-33-year-olds like experimenting with different looks. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “I am passionate about beauty, and I look to Ulta, Sephora, and Bluemercury to learn what news products are out on the market and how to use them.”

—Female, 24, FL

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies