They’re known as the ‘me generation’, narcissistic and with an ugly ‘look after number one’ attitude. So I was rather happy, having been born between the mid-eighties and early 2000’s, to learn that there’s more to the group than just sponging off your parents and sending attention seeking social media posts. An event by Acacia Avenue I recently attended, took a look the Millenial generation with some powerful insights for marketers. Here are my key takeaways:

Millennials have been shaped by the economic downturn and the vast changes introduced by the internet. Typically they’re more adaptable, happy for their path to change and keen to keep their options open. However the group have a difficult paradox on their hands, balancing between being more exposed to everything, but having limited opportunities.

Focus on the product

Popular brands with millennials like Airbnb, Uber and Ikea understand that this group aren’t as impressed by the mystique of brands as their parents were. When asked about Apple’s appeal the reply was ‘not for the style – it’s because they help me run my life’. Simply put, where a previous generation may have asked ‘what does this brand say about me?’, the millennial asks ‘what does the brand actually do?’

Be honest

‘Just be honest, it’s what millennial’s expect’, says Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie, founder of Mallow and Marsh. Her crowd-funded company understands the power of asking your audience and involving them in shaping your product right from the start. Millennials aren’t looking for perfection, they respond to personality. Just ask, listen and be seen to respond.

Be part of their story

‘Mind space’ is the holy grail for marketers, and founder James Eder said for millennials, it’s all about their story. His brand, which operates in the student market, have worked really hard to make an impact at this key stage in a person’s life. The idea is that they can become part of their story, creating a powerful and lifelong brand loyalty.

So if you want to engage millennials, be honest, ask them what they think and don’t pay too much attention to what has worked for their parent’s generation.