Research: the New Frontier….for me, that is.

As I continue to advance through the University of Florida’s Web Design and Online Communication master’s degree program, I find that I am discovering new worlds every semester, and this semester is no exception. Research Methods in Digital Communication is an animal of an entirely different sort. As I delve into the various aspects of research methods, I get the opportunity to respond to what I have learned here. Week 1:

Advertising to Millennials

The first assignment I read was titled “Next Generation Strategies for Advertising to Millennials”. This paper fascinated me for a number of reasons. In addition to its relevancy to the degree I’m pursuing, the paper held my interest as a mother of two Millennials and a high school English teacher hundreds of them, so I could attest to a number of points made. Yes, for the most part they are comfortable with new technologies, they are diverse, and they have the attention spans of well-caffeinated fleas. So how do you get their fleeting attention and hold it long enough to get any message through? (As a teacher, I ask this question all the time.)

I was not surprised that digital advertising is more effective with this generation, given their immersion in technology. What did surprise me — and give me a glimmer of hope, to be honest — was that they are extremely focused on a message once it has drawn them in. In this fast-paced, continuously online age, there is a lot of noise and traffic, so in order to hear anything, there has to be an adaption of a sort of tuning out/tuning in mechanism.

Okay, they focus when they want to, so how do you make them want to? That is the biggest question. In general, the answer is strong creative and consistent brand identity tailored to touch on a variety of drivers to effectively engage Millennials.

This paper left me with a number of questions. This study and the four preceding it were based on all female subject because of tradition buying power. Has that changed? What is the buying power ratio of teens to adults, and boys to girls now compared to 1961? Which digital medium is seeing the most success in advertising to Millennials? Does digital advertising appeal more to one sex of Millennials, or both equally?

Q Scores – What’s in a Name?








The next reading assignment had to do with studies that evaluate branding to kids, teens, and adults. The biggest point I took from this — my Aha! moment — was that brand names were replaced with brand logo in assessments of brand equity because they gave a more genuine result. Adding emotional attachment in branding exponentially increased brand loyalty. Last semester we completed an incredible class on Corporate Brand and Identity on the Web. We talked about most aspects of branding, but this point took it to a whole new level for me. So this explains the rise in popularity of logo-recognition games online! Aha.