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Branding for Millennials: Best Practices and Trends

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The millennial generation comprises a signification portion of today’s consumer base. These twenty and thirty-somethings are also responsible for defining many of the trends that brands use to market their products. And when it comes to apparel, the competition is fierce.

How can your clothing line stand out in millennial minds when there are so many other brands vying for the same customers? To help you answer this question, here are the most important design and branding trends driving millennial shoppers today.

Positioning Your Brand for Millennial Consumers

So, where to start? Millennial marketing expert Jeff Fromm explains that millennials are largely interested in authenticity. Brands who convey a humanistic approach in their marketing are more likely to resonate with those consumers and build brand loyalty. Employing these strategies on your hang tag can take many forms.

First off, consider how to create hand-drawn elements on your hang tag. Ryan McCready, content editor and data analyst at Venngage, says that brands are reaching towards hand-drawn illustrations and graphics. This makes products seem more accessible and aligns with the millennial generation’s need for authenticity. Hand-drawn images are a step away from corporate imagery and feel more natural and honest.

Kavita Daswani at Style offers another idea for targeting millennials through hang tags. She uses the example of a luxury swimwear and resort brand that wanted to create a more intimate brand experience through closer customer connections. They approached this goal by investing in educational hang tags that have details about where the garment’s fabric mill is located and how the product was made. This anchors the garment to a place and a story to show why it’s special.

The target group is also passionate about business ethics and eco-friendly practices. The marketing organization SEMPO says that 87 percent of millennials believe that brands exist not just to make a profit, but to make a difference in the world. Being more transparent about your practices, or touting a sustainable commitment, can help please these earth-minded customers.

Copywriter and lifestyle journalist Philip Mak adds that 70 percent of millennials are more willing to spend money on a brand that does good in the world. This means that making a sustainable move on the corporate level – and marketing that through a hangtag – can have a huge impact on your bottom line. It’s also important to be personal with this message, helping the consumer understand how your product fits into their commitment to make the world a better place.

Boundless Labs, e-commerce focused email marketing agency, adds that it’s extremely important that your physical product, your website, and your emails all be an extension of one another. It’s super important that your product and online marketing strategy is cohesive.

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Millennials and Technology

According to Millennial Marketing, a site dedicated to helping brands understand this cohort, 58 percent of millennial consumers feel more loyal towards brands that create multisensory experiences.

Multisensory interactions can be created in a variety of ways, including virtual reality and other technologies that blend the physical with the digital. Perhaps the best way to bridge this gap is through new mobile technology. Michael Wang, President and CEO at Onestop Internet, says that brands that want to engage with millennials must focus on mobile experiences. This is because the majority of millennials use their mobile phones to browse products and make online purchases.

Hi-Tech Hang Tags

Modern brands are capitalizing on this passion for technology and excitement in a variety of ways.

Journalist and tech consultant Rachel Arthur explains how handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff incorporated technology into her hang tag design. Before Fashion Week 2017 in Los Angeles, Minkoff released ten limited edition bags featuring tech-enabled hang tags. When scanned by a phone, the hang tags revealed a free ticket to Minkoff’s Spring/Summer runway event. This tech debut wasn’t just a one time event: It served as an announcement that all of Minkoff’s handbag hang tags were going to be tech enabled in the future. This strategy helps meet the millennial need for instant satisfaction while also bridging the gap between fashion and technology.

Another innovative approach to hang tag technology is incorporating a QR code for scannable coupons and access to brand social sites. QlikTag says that this makes it easier for millennials to share their experiences with others. Organic, peer-to-peer sharing is one of the most influential ways that brands can discover new customers. By simply tweaking your custom hang tag design to incorporate new experiences, you can harness this strategy for your brand.

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Millennial Color Trends

Millennial color preferences play a large role in how apparel companies market their brands. To make sure you’re incorporating millennial ideas into your hang tags, it’s important to stay updated with what colors are in – and which ones are out.

Betsy Mikel at Inc. writes that millennial pink is a popular color many millennial-driven brands are turning towards. Imbued with tones of peach and salmon, this is neither a bright pink or a baby pink. It’s also a slight departure from the 2016 Pantone color of the year, rose quartz, which has been splashed across pop culture in varying forms.

Another popular millennial color is beige. Reflecting a shift towards naturalism, creative consultancy FranklinTill says that the popular pink color will lean more towards a more neutral tone in the coming future. This reflects concepts of purity and a closeness to nature, and beige tones are showing up more and more in branded materials.

Typography Trends

Inspired by the glitz and glamour of the Great Gatsby days, luxury-driven millennials are drawn to gold foil lettering. In branding, gold type is often set against dark backdrops that evoke a sense of elegance. Adrienne Wolter, team coach at WebpageFX, explains that this trend is showing up across the most popular pinterest pins, DIY blogs and even wedding invitations. This shows that it’s a current design element that won’t be going away anytime soon.

Geometric designs and bright pops of color are also taking over typography, Envato editor Brittany Jezouit says. This old school look caters to millennials, who are obsessed with the pop culture and design trends of the 1990’s. She adds that mismatched fonts and creative type pairings are gaining popularity on printed branding materials. This is a smart way to grab the attention of a millennial audience and create an exciting contrast.

The Future of Millennial Branding

Staying up to date with the latest trends affecting millennials can be challenging. Communications consulting for Lauren Friedman offers a few tips for how brands can remain in the know.

She recommends social listening as a key way to garner customer feedback, adding that watching social media posts and descriptions can help a brand determine how customers feel about certain products and styles. This can help you see what the millennial generation is enjoying about your brand’s marketing materials, and also where you might need to improve.

Images by: bdcbethebest, StockSnap, antoniadiaz/©123RF Stock Photo

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