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

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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