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

Quote of the Day: “When deciding what products to buy, what’s most valuable to me is reviews from users regardless of whether or not I know them.”—Female, 32, MA

Adidas is continuing to take customization to the next level, with a new pop-up store that creates custom clothes in a majorly futuristic way. Knit For You, located in Berlin uses a laser body scanner to determine exact measurements for their personalized merino wool sweaters. To select their design, shoppers go into a dark room where patterns that can be adjusted with hand gestures are projected on their chests. The final chosen product is then knitted, washed, and dried in-store to be picked up in hours, for the price of $215. (Business Insider

BuzzFeed’s wildly popular food platform Tasty is expanding into the coffee business. In a partnership with NBCUniversal, Tasty has begun selling Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee beans, and of course, they’re “offer[ing] a quiz to help with decision making.” Quiz-takers will be asked about their favorite fruit, how they feel about caffeine, what their ideal morning is like, and more, to which they can answer with emojis. Once the coffee choice is made, consumers can make it even more personal by creating their own labels. (Grub Street)  

Chinese Millennials are using digital devices for “connection, discovery and actualization,” more often than their American counterparts. A recent global survey from Labbrand found that 85% of Chinese Millennials are using their phones to make in-store payments on a weekly basis, compared to 44% of U.S. Millennials. They’re also more likely to broadcast their behavior online: Over seven in ten Chinese Millennials are posting movie, restaurant, travel, and other activity-related reviews weekly and over half say they share everything they do online, compared to 44% and 28% of U.S. Millennials respectively. (ReadITQuik

What cities are Millennial homebuyers flocking to? According to an analysis by LendingTree, the top three are Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Des Moines, Iowa—based on mortgage requests by those 35 and under. The online loan company says that on average 36.1% of all their mortgage requests came from the age group, a slight increase from the year before, which they say is “thanks to a stronger jobs market and overall economy.” They expect to see more young buyers looking for homes as financial situations keep improving. (Yahoo FinanceCredit.com

YouTube is being criticized for filtering LGBTQ content. Recently, YouTube creators have discovered that some content featuring LGBTQ titles and themes are being filtered when users enable “Restricted Mode” to screen out “potentially objectionable content.” YouTuber Neon Fiona pointed to her own page as evidence, citing that videos with “girlfriend” in the title were filtered under the mode, but videos with “boyfriend” in the title were not. Not all LGBTQ content is filtered and one YouTuber observes, “This is something that no one’s really sure how it’s working.” (Tubefilter

Quote of the Day: “When I was watching the Super Bowl, I switched the channel or left the room when it was a commercial break.”—Male, 27, MN

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