What do millennials want from brands?
A view from Adnan Ebrahim

What do millennials want from brands?

Adnan Ebrahim, the 25-year-old chief executive and founder of car enthusiast community, Car Throttle, reveals the mindset of those hard-to-reach media consumers.

What millennials want from brands shouldn’t be such a mystery. After all, there are more than two billion of us worldwide.

Once, we were seen as a media and marketing dichotomy - rich in buying power but time-poor, lacking any sort of attention span or responsibilities, and suspicious, (to the point of resistance) when it came to brand marketing. 

Now, we’re better understood. It’s not that we resist brand marketing, it’s simply that we have higher expectations of brand behaviour towards us. 

Those brands that deliver receive our unshakeable loyalty, our advocacy, our engagement and our hard-earned cash. Those that fail have little meaning in our lives and no amount of interstitials, digital banners or TV ads will change that.

So who are we? Our five million monthly Car Throttle users form part of a generation that’s full of optimism, compulsively checking our phones and consuming entertainment and news via multiple social platforms and apps. 

We want digital brands that can be personalised, filtered, experienced in live environments and which aren’t restricted by geographical borders. Millennials have grown up within global digital communities so won’t restrict themselves to entertainment, media and social interactions from a single nationality or gated community. 

Yes, Facebook is still the dominant social network, driving huge numbers worldwide, especially around video views (we saw 60 million views in January alone). However, it’s the millennials who are driving faster growth and brand engagement across Instagram and Snapchat. These social networks are considered less intrusive and force brands to provide more authentic, entertaining and transparent experiences. 

Brands need to remember that millennials can now create content faster and often better than they can. As a result, their expectations are higher. If branded content doesn’t deliver on quality, entertainment or personality, audiences won’t be back.

At Car Throttle, we give both users and brands cutting-edge content creation tools and provide total platform transparency, even posting about product updates to the site for anyone who may be interested. Instead of competing with existing influencers, we embrace fellow content creators and provide them with free distribution on our platform. Users love seeing their favourite brands and personalities all in one place.

We reward involvement in the community by staging meet-ups all over the world and providing meaningful and enjoyable brand experiences. We ensure that our users know each of us by name and by face thanks to regular video stories on mobile platforms like Instagram and Snapchat so that they feel part of something special, safe in the knowledge that we’re accessible and authentic and not just some faceless algorithm.

So who are millennials really? History will call us the connected generation, the virtual generation, the autonomous car generation and the ‘Smart home’ generation. Day-to-day however, we want brands to play more meaningful roles in our lives - to make our lives easier, allow us to self-express, reward us and give us better value for our engagement. 

We expect brands to entertain, stimulate and offer exciting real-life experiences. In one of our recent campaigns, Xbox UK invited us down to the Top Gear test track for an exhilarating track ride with The Stig, to celebrate the launch of Forza 6. 

We’re a generation that has grown up recording every detail of our lives on social platforms. We therefore expect the same open and honest approach from brands before we’ll invest our trust and engagement. We want brands to listen, communicate and be more responsive - as we’d expect from any friend within our social network. 

Make a positive impact on what matters to us millennials and we’ll influence the success of any brand. We’re definitely worth getting to know.