Millennials. No can decide exactly who they are – or what they want. What we do know, based on the scaremongering generalisations of the media alone, is that they are apparently lazy, seriously entitled and possess incredibly limited, one-minute attention spans. They also seem to be white and middle class.
For reasons unknown, young people from minority ethnic backgrounds, or who we can call the ‘hidden millennials’, are largely ignored by mainstream media and brands when it comes to hypothesising about this much revered generation.
However, current research about population demographics and social trends suggest that by not catering to ethnic minorities, companies are costing themselves money and in turn may be sabotaging their future business.
Don’t believe us? Here are some facts reported by the IPA in their recent report, The New Britain:
- – The black and minority ethnic (BME) population in the UK has more than doubled in the last 30 years and is expected to have doubled again by 2045
- – BME groups account for 12.8% of the population of the UK
- – In 2011 one in four babies in England was born to a foreign mother.
Multiculturalism is mainstream and it’s not going away. You know who spends the most time online? Young people (duh). But recent Ofcom research also shows that ethnic minorities are more likely have broadband and embrace the latest technology. More urban and more tech savvy, they are the early adopters that will make or break a company.
So how do you engage the hidden millennial?
We live in a bespoke era. One size does not fit all. In a world where social media rules and education has become a business model, our current youth population is more aware of their options than any generation before, thus companies must work harder to convince them to spend their money. It’s in your interest to ensure that you get to know your audience, develop a way of communication that speaks directly to them, and in turn develop a relationship with them. Young people feel no obligation to support anything that doesn’t represent them and may actively campaign against an organisation they perceive to be prejudiced.
If you want to make sure that your campaigns and products resonate with a diverse cross section of society, it’s essential that you employ a diverse workforce. It might sound obvious right now, but hiring from the same narrow pool will generate the same narrow ideas. The beauty of co-creation is that you work with your target to develop legitimate concepts that always resonate with them.
The very real power of social media has encouraged a countless number of businesses to embrace the online world, and it may now seem like every organisation under the sun now has a dedicated Twitter account, Facebook page and YouTube channel. This is great, don’t get us wrong! Social media is the perfect way for modern businesses to communicate with their customers and explain their products and services directly at the people they are marketing them to. However, it is critical that a brand understands exactly what social media channel is most appropriate for them, lest they risk exposing themselves to unwanted backlash – just ask JP Morgan or R Kelly
Millennials and Diversity
Often it seems that we feel that talking about the need for diversity is the same as becoming more diverse. Lenny’s Henry recent campaign about the lack of diversity in the mainstream media has generated a lot of debate about the landscape of the media industry, and may potentially have the power to encourage a more diverse British media.
In the mean time, young ethnic minorities are online, finding content that is relevant to them and are being snapped up by companies like Latimer to help co-create amazing, inspiring and relevant youth campaigns. Many are also choosing to create their own shows that reflect their values and life experiences on platforms such as YouTube, and are in turn racking up likes and follows in their thousands. Companies looking for media inspiration, advice and tips from the experts should thus ignore the stuffy looking rulebooks and white, middle-class men in tight suits, and start looking to the young people taking the internet by storm – they might just teach you a thing or two.
Interested in how you can reach a wider youth audience? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org