Why your functional broadcast brand isn’t meeting Millennial consumers’ ideals
Each spring, Magid’s local media team challenges itself to define clear perspectives on the broadcast industry that will guide our thinking and approach throughout the year. This is a comprehensive process: an internal and external review of the industry, ideation sessions with the consultants and analysts across our company, and research to understand how all of this thinking sits with consumers.
Our process this year has been particularly insightful, as we have expanded our approach to look not only at the consumers our clients want to reach, but the advertisers buying their inventory, and the employees who do the work each day. This complete view of the landscape has been a powerful tool in defining the very real challenges broadcasters face in 2019, as well as the opportunities that can make for growing businesses in the future.
We’ve been sharing our key findings from this process in a series of posts that look at the path forward for your brands and content, the keys to aligning station staffs, and the right approach toward platform expansion. This week we’re focusing on a matter close to the heart – creating emotional connections between the consumer and your brand.
Transition from Boomers to Millennials
Your audience has changed – Millennials now make up more than 60% of the 25-54 age demographic – and they connect with brands and content differently than previous generations. Not just how they connect, but why: they’re seeking emotional connections to the content and brands they engage with.
Legacy broadcast brands are still highly respected by consumers. This is a great foundation and one to leverage. But stations need to balance that respected, functional position with a tone and approach that encourages Millennials to engage. It’s not about being soft, biased or funny. Very hard-hitting journalism can (and should) also be entertaining and enjoyable to watch.
The shift in generations are clear to see in our most recent research. Millennials place a higher value on Emotional Connection, being Entertaining, Fits Life Pattern and Makes You Think. These top ideals tell us something pretty compelling about your Millennial audience: they want entertaining but not without substance, and on stories where they can emotionally connect.
In contrast, Boomers place high importance on Unbiased, Trustworthy and Objective news content. These are functional journalistic values that define credibility – and perfectly match the ideals of what legacy newscasts have been focused on for decades.
This doesn’t mean we walk away from creating objective content that builds trust with our viewers. It means we need to embrace being authentic, human and focus on emotionally engaging content. Both generations value investigative news. It’s just in how we approach it.
Think like iconic brands
As an industry, we need to take a page from the books of iconic brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, who have evolved and adapted over the past decade to maintain and grow their emotional connection with consumers. Part of that evolution over the past decade has been thinking like us: content publishers.
Brands like these have successfully grown their emotional connections with consumers, creating compelling content that flows through an engaging, emotional brand. If you want to catch up, you need to think like them. The harsh reality is your ability to create and publish content is no longer unique. You have to define emotionally engaging brands that extend beyond function and harness them to deliver a broader array of content that consumers and advertisers want.
We have an opportunity in this climate to reset expectations. Raise bars. Think expansively about our brands. Make little changes and big changes – that will ultimately reshape the face of local news.