Here's What Your Company Can Do to Appeal to the HENRY Millennial
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Meet ... HENRY. Born in the last decades of the twentieth century, HENRY is not just any millennial. No, HENRY is one of the most sought-after consumers on the planet right now: the High Earning, Not Rich Yet millennial.
HENRYs -- whose acronym has been cited by multiple publications -- have six-figure jobs but like to travel instead of buy stuff; so, those products they do buy have to count.
To help with purchasing decisions, HENRYs follow social media influencers ---topical experts -- more than they do celebrities.
Their disposable income rewards only the brands that enhance their lifestyles, support their values and "spark joy."
And they're a growing force: Pew has reported that this year millennials are set to overtake baby boomers as the largest living adult generation, taking for themselves the mantle of "owner of the largest purchasing power." Sound good? Here’s how to make good with this newly dominant consumer.
Optimize your content for HENRY's busy, urban life.
According to the same Pew report, millennials are more diverse and better educated than previous generations, and they’re happier living urban lifestyles. Therefore, marketing to them requires a different tack.
“What we are seeing from our audience is that they are really looking for a research aide,” Ian Bell told me in an interview. He's CEO of Digital Trends, which has a core following composed primarily of HENRY millennials. Said Bell: “We provide straightforward writing that is balanced and fun, respects their intelligence and ultimately shows them how to buy products that make their lives easier.”
Digital Trends attracts 30 million unique monthly visitors, and Bell said that its following tends to be loyal. He attributed this to the brand’s understanding of how HENRYs consume content. Skimmable text and live-streaming video, optimized for the 94 percent of millennials who use a smartphone, are some of the foundational qualities, he said, that help his company attract this group.
Millennials, and especially HENRYs, are busy, smart and on the go. So, take note of these factors and keep them in mind when you’re trying to reach this demographic group; adapt your content accordingly.
Level with your audience in creative ways.
The importance of authenticity when reaching millennials has been extensively dissected, but can’t be overstated. These generational skeptics have an innate ability to sniff out marketing fluff and fake news
As millennials have come into adulthood, nationwide faith in institutions has dropped. A Gallup poll showed that only 43 percent of adults surveyed still had "some" confidence in big business, and 42 percent had "very little" trust in internet news media. Furthermore, 84 percent of millennials polled said they didn't trust conventional advertising. The takeaway: You have to think outside the box.
Related: 10 Tips for Millennial Marketing
"Millennials are smart, and they require a different approach to advertising that's more transparent, more cause-driven," Tina Mulqueen, CEO of Kindred PR and founder of Et al. Media, told me. Still, there’s a silver lining, too, Mulqueen said. "Millennials also value creativity, which gives advertisers some room to explore interesting activations and counter-culture narratives," she said.
Which brings us to another vital point.
Stand up for what matters.
Victoria’s Secret has announced it will close 53 stores this year, following a weak fourth quarter. The women's underwear brand is struggling to keep up with younger competitors like Savage X Fenty, a competitor which stands up for values like inclusion and body positivity. Former Starbucks CEO and political hopeful Howard Schultz shot himself in the foot by downplaying race as an issue, becoming an icon of out-of-touch corporate culture overnight.
The takeaway: Mature companies cannot afford to ignore crisis issues that millennials live and experience every day.
“Companies are recognizing they have a role in our democracy, a leadership role,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, told Quartz. “It’s far better to err on the side of history, democracy and the Constitution then kowtow to vitriolic bullies.” The stakes are high, as several companies have sullied their reputations by garnering the unwanted support of hate groups.
Millennials’ favorite brands don’t just talk about solid values. They put their money where their mouth is. Savage X Fenty’s runway shows are one example. Another is Patagonia’s pledge to donate its millions of dollars in tax returns to fight environmental injustices caused by the same administration giving them tax breaks. Consider also how Gucci hit the right note last year by swearing off fur.
Let people know what kind of good you’re doing in the world. Then, actually do it.
Position, and strike your note.
If you’re doing good in the world, by communicating authentically with your audience through creative, non-traditional methods, and if your content is optimized for the busy, urban lives of HENRY millennials, you’re positioning yourself to be heard. A message that strikes the right note will put you in the good graces of the new most powerful consumers alive.
Just be sure you are in their good graces.