Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Millennial Home Front... More Than Just Dwelling Space!

This Blog Post begins with a set of some questions.  Please take out a sheet of paper and write down your answers to each one. 

1.   Which of the following belong in a high-humidity refrigerator drawer?
a.    Broccoli
b.    Apples
c.     Kiwis
d.    Kale
e.    Peppers
f.      Cantaloupes
g.    Mangoes
h.    Peaches
i.      Cucumbers

2.   If one of your stove top’s gas burners isn’t igniting, what’s the first thing you should do to try to fix it?
a.    Call an electrician
b.    Clean the lighter and burner holes
c.     Turn on the gas and light the flame with a match
d.    Switch the burner on and off three times

3.     True or false… You can crush ice and frozen foods in a food processor.
a.    True
b.    False

4.     What determines how quickly a microwave will heat food?
a.    Its wattage
b.    Its voltage
c.     Its size
d.    Whether it has a turntable tray

5.     How bad is it to pick up a baby bird?
a.    Not bad at all
b.    Sort of bad
c.     Very bad
d.    Don’t do it

I will give you the correct responses at the end of this blog.

These are questions that are featured in the current issue of HGTV Magazine. 

This issue has a set of featured “sections” dedicated to educational-inspirational topics that run the gamut from…
            ** Different varieties of glue
            ** Different varieties of paint
            ** The mechanics of stenciling a wall
            ** Guessing what color a wall or piece of furniture is
            ** How sisters rehab-re-decorated their 1950s bungalows
            ** What colors are best in a back yard
            ** How to pick out the best art from HomeGoods and Target

HGTV Magazine is designed to reach one primary target group.  The second largest generation ever in the United States who – as I write this blog – are buying their first house or settling into another small space apartment. 

Whether or not you manage a “House and Home” brand, you need to subscribe to HGTV Magazine… the “Better Homes & Gardens” of the Millennials. 

The reason why HGTV Magazine is important to subscribe to is that paging through it, looking at the pictures, reading the language of expression, reviewing the topics and digesting the directions promoted will tell you more about the Millennials than any of the zillions of conferences, academic forums, media promotions or ad agency “white papers.”

Here are three quick fundamentals from the current issue.

#1 – Millennials failed to receive any House and Home education

The percentage of Millennials who took Home Economics – male and female – is less than 30%.  More than 70% of Millennials eat 4 or more dinners at home consisting of “frozen dinners” that they microwave.

Just as Zoomers never knew the world without mobile technology, Millennials never knew that kitchens did not come automatically with built-in dishwashers, microwaves, ice-makers and garbage disposals. 

Millennial’s Baby Boomer parents found that House and Home was too much of a constraint and demand to ask their kids to help.  A recent survey fielded by the George Washington University found that over 60% of Baby Boomer parents attempted to avoid asking their kids to conduct assigned tasks at home because they did not want to bias one gender over another.

Every issue of HGTV Magazine uses the Q&A format to educate the 20- and 30-somethings about fundamental mechanics found on the home front.

As much as Millennials now seek out instructional guidance about their home, they also do the same as it relates to their health & wellness, financials, automotive maintenance and how to throw a party. 

Being “ADHD” myself, I am not the best to participate in instructional sessions nor upgrade the technology on my Apple products.  As far as Millennials are concerned, it’s now part of the pathway they walk.

#2 – Millennials are being forced to improvise

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.

The Millennials lived their childhood, adolescents and college-careers within an “I demand it and I get it” approach to life. 

Winners vs. losers.  Grades based on performance.  Rewards for actually accomplishing something.  No. No. No.  After all, according to the Baby Boomer parents, those aspects of competition are politically incorrect. 

All abruptly ended when the Millennials got out of college and started their job-career search. 
It showcases how common day items might be able to do more things than thought and how old rules might just be able to be broken and its okay.

Ask a set of Millennial Breeders which is top priority, texting or a crying baby. 
Q#1 – Broccoli, kale, peppers and cucumbers

Only then did they quickly come to the reality that automatic reward was an artificial world that their Boomer parents and Boomer faculty created for them.

Now that the Boomer parents have kicked the Millennials out of their houses and the Millennials are having to learn first-hand what cost and affordability really mean, they are being forced to truly improvise and DIY on everything from how to renovate a kitchen and bath to how to create multi-use room space to how to make okay a chair they picked up at the Salvation Army. 

Smart marketers out there are jumping on the opportunity. 

Inviting Millennials to “co-author” a brand experience personalizes it and even removes constraints that the experience must be 100% perfect.

As much as the reality check process has been difficult for Millennials, many Millennials are past the initial check point and internalizing reality. 

Brands that promise perfection and 100% super-great product quality are committing suicide today. 

Watch a BMW and Mercedes and Lexus commercial.  Then watch a Subaru and Jeep commercial.  Then tell me which brands are raking in more Millennial dollars.

Watch the idiot Chevrolet commercial with the dumbmass actor pretending to be an un-biased focus group moderator and then go out and ask Millennials on the street if they recently purchased a Chevy.

One of the most interesting sections of HGTV Magazine is the section titled, “How bad is it.”  

BTW… question #5 above is from that section and the answer is (d).  This is one of the few where doing something is 100% completely wrong!

#3 – Millennials seek out high touch more than high tech

Yes… Many Millennials stay wired to their digital mobile music.

Yes… Many Millennials cannot put down their smart phones and stop texting.

And YES… A lot of non-partnered Millennials are addicted to their credit cards and accumulated points. 

But ask a Millennial if technology produces money that will eventually pay the bills.

If you scan the pages of HGTV Magazine you will see lots and lots of ways that Millennials can add “high touch personality” and “self-expression” to their homes. 

If you watch Food Network, DIY-TV, Discovery Channel, History Channel, TLC and/or GAC (Great American Country), you will see show after show after show after show in which there’s not a single once of high-tech. 

In fact, you will see shows in which content might even be “anti-high tech.”

I get a big kick out of developers building new homes here in “ITP” (inside-the-perimeter) Atlanta.  They run real estate ads promoting all the “smart house” technology found in the homes. 

An ad in this week’s real estate insert showcased how the house has a mobile app to lock the doors.

Problem with these new homes is that they are NOT selling fast. Not like the lo-tech, bohemian-chic mid-century bungalow that still sports a laundry shoot and farm sink.

And if the new home, high tech developers do not come with “ship-lap” siding in a couple of the rooms, hand-made tiles from local "craftsmen" and/or a patio constructed out of re-purposed stone or wood… forget it.

A national group of real estate agents is running an ad right now that I caught over the weekend.  It features a Millennial guy who just broke up with a gal he was expecting to be his wife.  In his down and despair, he visits a Humane Society facilities and sees a dog that he connects with and takes home. The dog adds another dimension of high-lick to high-touch!

Before you think that the high tech advancement of your brand is what will drive its success with Millennials… think again.

If you think that launching a new app or a new website is the way to sell more product, be very, very careful in how the interactive exchange works and the brand personality translates to that tech experience.

OKAY… here’s your answers to the upfront questions... 

Q#2 – Clean the lighter and burner holes
Q#3 – False
Q#4 – (A) Its wattage
And… Q#5 – (D) Don’t do it

Go subscribe to HGTV Magazine if you are at all expecting your brand to grow among the Millennials.