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design

The Millennials' Most Significant Relationship: Social Media

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The Millennials' Most Significant Relationship: Social Media

Millennials are challenging the status quo within marketing and advertising--forcing new tactics within the industry. There has been so much reported, researched and written about the habits of this generation. But one thing stands out: the significant adoption of social media into their lives.


Millennials barely watch television but sleep with a mobile under their pillows. For them, the mobile device is an extension of the body, mind, mouth and heart.  Socializing and connecting is in the palm of their hand. Whether it is through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Yelp--starting a conversation has never been more instant. These social media sites allow millennials to like, hashtag, repost and share content.  They are given the freedom to create their own online archive. 

But what aesthetics are millennials actually looking for in social media? Here's what our research and work tells us:

  • Mobile content
  • Consistent themes, both written and visually
  • Clear and accurate content that is impartial
  • Various viewpoints and recognizable names
  • High quality videos and photos
  • Brands with a sense of community
  • Interactive platforms

These qualities attract Millennials. They help to deliver concise, digestible messages and create a personal experience online. When crafting any content, to engage your millennial audience it helps to keep the following in mind:

  • Reveal the human side of your company
  • Write short status updates (recommended under 100 characters)
  • Respond to each comment or post on your page promptly
  • Produce content that is relevant to your audience/followers (know who they are)

Brands need to act like Millennials to attract them. In doing so, brands reduce the distance from themselves to their customers. That gap is now replaced with a personal connection the customer feels towards the brand.

Questions? Give us a buzz or send us an email. We’d love to discuss our insights and what’s worked for us. 

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Storytelling in Design: How to Identify It and Bring It Into Your Brand

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Storytelling in Design: How to Identify It and Bring It Into Your Brand

We're hiring for a few positions so I spent about 4 hours yesterday reviewing resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles. I stopped at the ones with big brand experience in their portfolios and looked at the ads.  For the most part the ads...looked like ads...with a big famous brand logo on them. "Okay, this is someone who knows the system, who is capable of creating for our clients."

But the few that really caught my eye were designers who were able to tell stories. They highlighted their love for storytelling in their portfolios, even in their approach to creating their own portfolios-- how they told their own stories of who they were, what they did, and why they loved design. It was an entirely different approach to design and self-identity, which made me feel like I was breathing different air. 

Behind every design is an amazing story. Great brands don't hire designers and say, "Design us an ad that tells a story." Storytelling is part of the way the brand THINKS. It's part of brand DNA. Designers follow brand guidelines when creating. Therefore, storytelling must be derived from brand guidelines and brand visual centers that emphasize storytelling. Here are some steps to bring a storytelling approach to your brand:

Write a Brand Manifesto: Great writing is something we can all get behind. The Declaration of Independence is a great example. "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...inalienable rights..." We each see something powerful when we say those words. Brands are no different. A brand manifesto conjures up an emotional connection. It defines the purpose of the brand--the why, when and where for audiences. Most importantly it creates a bridge from POV to visuals that a great designers can feel and manifest visually.

Create a Visual Center...No Really Do It. Brands need more than visual guidelines that align folks on font types, logo lockups and colors. Great brands that tell great stories need visual centers that show more than use cases. The visual center is where the manifesto and brand values marry the visuals. The story, mood, and purpose of the brand appears with photos, drawings or other stimulating visuals.

Change Your Creative Process: If you're looking at this and wondering why storytelling isn't a big part of everything that is produced, take a step back at the creative process. Is your creative process designed to prioritize storytelling? Does your creative process take into account the hard work that's been done on the visual center and brand guidelines. Are sales goals and deadlines preventing the creative process from actualizing? Take all of these things into consideration and map the process to the importance of storytelling.

If you'd like more info on how to bring better storytelling to your brand, we're happy to help. Yaaas!  Feel free to reach out to us directly. 

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How Brands Use Microsites to Win Millennials

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How Brands Use Microsites to Win Millennials

Millennials are connecting with brands completely differently than any other generation. They, and others who have adopted Millennials behaviors, are your audience. 

But 84% of Millennials do not trust traditional advertising. Eye-opening stats for any brand. "Yawn. Alright cool, but why microsites," you say.

STATS DON'T LIE: 

  1. Only 1% of Millennials believe that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more
  2. 84% of Millennials state that user generated content on company websites influences their buying decision
  3. 95% of US Millennials in the US think friends are the most credible source of product information
  4. US Millennials prefer social content sharing
  5. 48% of Millennials state word-of-mouth influences their product purchases
  6. 42% of Millennials are interested in helping brands develop products and services

Done correctly, microsites don't have distractions that exist on the main site, enabling visitors to focus on the content, where they find real conversations and actively engage in calls to action. Microsite experiences elevate branding, provide a clear, trusted reason for repeat visits, increase the online footprint and are often a preferred part of the Millennial buyer’s journey.

Focus on trust. To overcome trust issues and improve brand communications, microsites are a beautiful place where brands can host two-way conversations and curate brand and user generated content from social media or anywhere else. Trust is found in conversations. Trust is found in peer-to-peer discussions. Trust is found where audiences discover authentic stories of people who reflect their experiences and stories. In building a mircosite, brands are building communities for their customers to explore, learn more and develop affinity for a brand.

Sephora, one of our clients, has done a beautiful job of creating such an experience with their Beauty Board. Beauty Board works as an experience that aggregates and curates social media content and direct submissions from users through the interface. Here, the Millennial audience can see what works for others, what others have to say, which products are popular, and tell their own stories as well. It is a perfect example of how a great brand can build trust and community--THE foundational elements to engage Millennials. 

Microsites also create a playground for consumers to explore and get a sense of the deeper meaning of the brand and it's personality. McDonald's has put a lot of hard work into appealing to Millennials in response to increasingly negative awareness around their brand. They've set up numerous microsites that target different ethnicities, cultures and consumers of all types in the buying journey. McDonald's delivers curated content to reshape brand image. 

If building greater rapport with Millenials is important to you, consider a microsite to generate conversation and build trust. It's a lot easier than you think. For more insights and direction, reach out to me directly at desmond@mintyfreshdigital.com

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It's the Mood, Stupid.

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It's the Mood, Stupid.

Remember your first camping trip? When you were sitting by the fire, late at night, and Uncle Karl was telling scary stories that made you shriek with fear? That's mood. Take away the fire, the darkness, and you've got uncle Karl just telling a bunch of stories. (Don't be weird, Uncle Karl.)

Great products are awesome on their own. But market-leading products are supported by a strong brand, great design, and powerful storytelling. Great products are able to change our outlook on life and transcend merely being something optional, to being a vital component of our existence.  So how do we create the perfect mood for our audience? At Minty Fresh, we believe this is shaped by a few key components: Audience insights, brand consistency, and design. 

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS

Uncle Karl wouldn't tell the same campfire story to a bunch of seniors because he throughly understands his audience. He's spent enough time knowing that they can be shaped by his storylines and what he has to say. The same is true for brands. Brands must first do a very thorough job of understanding who their audiences are, what they do, what compels them to make choices and what moves them emotionally. Often times, this comes in the shape of audience personas. We've worked with many of our clients to develop these personas, which ultimately help designers design better, marketers market better and companies close more deals. 

BRAND CONSISTENCY

Uncle Karl doesn't start the story off screaming. He's not laughing all the way through it either. He's very consistent and deliberate in presenting the story. He uses eye contact regularly, moves his hands and gestures. Consistency is key for brands too. This might be referred to as the big picture of "storytelling." Among many things, brand also includes, voice and story. We work with our clients to land on the central brand story and a central brand voice. This defines how you talk to your different audiences, and how you communicate why you exist and why your offering is important. Having a central voice and story creates consistency in all messaging, and it empowers brands to move forward in unison. 

DESIGN

Knowing his audience and knowing the central story and voice he should speak in, Uncle Karl adds in his own flavor to the campfire story. He throws another log into the fire so that his face is illuminated. He sits you in a tight, close circle, and adds an occasional BOO! here and there to make you jump. This is storytelling design at it's finest. Brands can learn here, too. Each element that composes the story must engage design at the highest levels, so that each particular detail resonates with the audience. This is what being FRESH in design is all about. It keeps old stories new and makes them seriously resonate with the audience. To stay competitive in an extremely noisy forest, brands need to continually refresh designs to engage audiences better, whether it's in the shape of additional video, improving UX or simply adding photos that engage better in social. 

IT'S THE MOOD, STUPID

When audience insights, design, and brand meet, they create a mood that shapes the decisions that audiences will take, whether it is to dismiss, engage, or even share. As Forbes reports: 71% of buyers who see a personal value in a B2B purchase will end up buying the product or service. Creating a mood that resonates with your audience helps them see personal value. Building personal value over the long run results in customer loyalty. Thus, yes, it's the mood, and thank you Uncle Karl. 

To build a better mood for your customers, connect with us. We'd love to sit with you and share our experiences in creating better moods, designs, stories, and brand voices for some of the most awesome companies out there. Until next time, keep things FRESH

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