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.


4 thoughts on “Research: the New Frontier….for me, that is.

  1. You ask if digital media affects the sexes differently, if it appeals to one more than the other. I’m not sure. I feel like that is one gap that might be drastically shrinking these days. Through the freedoms of the internet and social acceptance of different gender roles (its totally ok for a guy to wear skinny jeans, and women can be tough and sexy at the same time), I feel that the gender differences are ones that no longer are as prominent an issue, at least from an advertising sense. The largest use websites do just fine advertising to both, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest have spent millions developing trend and behavior pattern software to create custom ads for each specific user. I think it’s more like wearing a tailored suit instead of walmart sweatpants, the ads just fit better and work for what you’d like to do.

    That said, the culture of online users certainly needs to change, there is waaay too much bullying that directs toward younger women gamers and online users.

    And if you like those logo quizzes, try sporcle. They’re fun.

  2. I think you are right in catching the millennials attention through consistent brand identity. Such brands as Coca Cola and Band-Aids have become a household term and they achieved this by being consistent and keeping up with their image. I think this is a good way to tap into the minds of each generation without having to be overly obnoxious or gruesome. I do think that randomness in advertising also sticks in our generations’ minds, such as “I’m on a horse.” Old Spice commercials. It is so ridiculously random that it makes us remember it. A lot of movie trailers have been going this route too recently. Flashes of random scenes from the movie that don’t necessarily piece together in the trailer but leads the audience wanting more and curious what really happens.

  3. First of all, I enjoy your perspective on millennials, Shannan. You are seeing this from a different light than most of us are which makes it really interesting! Anyway. You mentioned sexes. I was very surprised that the study was only done on females. Given some of the broad generalizations that were made throughout the article (such as, millennials as a whole are good multi-taskers), I believe the assumption is there that males would react the same way. In my personal belief, I would think that they are about the same as a whole, but maybe varying a bit by platform. So for instance, more females are on Twitter and more males watch YouTube videos. This is of course anecdotal but that seems to be the trend among my peers. I would be curious to see the results if that was tested.

  4. Excuse my lateness! I missed a comment for this weeks blog comments that I’d like to get points on 🙂 Your “Aha moment” appealed to me as well in that logos allow a certain emotional attachment to a brand. One company who has hit gold with this and is missing from your picture in their advertising is TARGET. They’ve revolutionized how using one’s logo in creative advertising can be so appealing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s