So much has been said of millennials, yet so few marketers genuinely understand them. That’s probably because there's a generational disconnect between decision-making marketers and the millennials they’re targeting. I am a millennial woman and I can thoroughly relate to my genus.
One of the keys is that millennials think differently from previous generations. They have been bought up in a world of instant messaging and constantly evolving technology. Here today, obsolete tomorrow.
Little wonder then that millennials don’t fixate as much on things as the previous generations. They prefer experiences. They prefer being part of the conversation and saying something with their consumer choices. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want things like every other generation does.
A millennial woman loves diamond jewellery just as much as older women. A recent study by the Diamond Producers Association confirmed that. What matters is how that jewellery is presented to her and what it does in terms of expressing her true self when she’s wearing it. Millennial women are making statements all the time with their tattoos and their almost constant engagement on social media. They wear jewellery as part of this self-expression. They’ll buy it if it lets them make a statement.
That statement however, can’t be just froth. Millennials are the most educated generation in history. They are constantly researching opinions and viewpoints while doing a dozen other things — they’re champions at multi-tasking. That’s why the leading brands are all scrambling to develop multi-channel retail outreach strategies. You can’t appeal to a millennial woman just one way. You have to provide her everything, right where she is — a great brick-and-mortar environment, an easy and rapid-response mobile interface and multiple ways of communicating on social media.
What is key is that the brand also be part of the millennial consumer’s multi-channel world. Actually engage with them and understand that these women don’t need men to validate them with symbols. They’ll choose the validation they need and they decide what symbol should go with it.That’s something that is vitally important to one of the diamond industry’s chunkiest segments — the diamond engagement/wedding ring.
Successful retail strategies for diamond engagement rings today increasingly include messaging and social media channels that allow both the man and the woman to view, discuss and compare a variety of choices for the intended ring. The fact that she was involved in the purchasing process and that it reflects the kind of statement she wants to make to the world, makes the millennial woman value the ring much more. She wants to be involved in choosing the ring because she needs to feel connected to it, as it’s probably the most sentimental material thing she’ll ever own. The old idea of the man keeping it all a secret and springing it on her suddenly is out of sync with the millennial woman’s belief system.
That communication and the opportunity for the woman to tell her own story has to continue even after the engagement, (and for single women) if a jewellery brand wants to stay constantly connected with her. Pandora is where it is today because it allows the woman to wear her story on her wrist. For us, the idea isn’t about showing off as much as it is about self expression and relating to the piece of jewelry and the brand. This is why I like to involve my clients in the design process when creating bespoke pieces. The final piece of jewelry needs to be something they literally indulge in and connect with rather than using it as just another accessory.
But this relation isn’t only restricted to custom-made pieces. It doesn’t have to be about one-off statements. Millennials also appreciate it when a brand listens to them. Successful brands have product offerings that reflect what the millennials themselves have demanded. We love brands that provide a sense of belonging and acknowledgement of our generation.
Then again, we don’t want to be part of the majority. Millennials are partial to products that help differentiate them. Also, although my generation does like to follow trends, we do so only when the trend appeals to us. There are the Samsung users and the Apple users, the Nike users and the Adidas users.
In conclusion, it would be safe to say that we are quite opinionated. And we don’t approve of sweatshops or abuses of human rights and things that damage the environment. But it goes beyond that. It means a lot to our generation when a brand says it is stepping up and doing something proactive. Something we approve of.
Millennials love diamonds and jewellery just as much as anyone else. Just as long as it cracks the code!