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Can Today's Brands Keep Up with Millennials and Technology?From Riley Wilson over at Content Standard

Millennials and technology represent the dichotomic need many brands are seemingly faced with acquiring, fueled by questions like “how do we reach the Millennial demographic?” or “what’s the ‘next big thing’ in tech?” According to a recent report by data and analytics company Annalect, these two questions are directly related. Annalect’s six-month long survey found 52 percent of Millennials believe the technology a brand uses is the most important factor when making purchasing decisions, compared to 48 percent of respondents who said the brand name was the most important.

More than a third of the Millennials surveyed said they’d remain loyal to technology-savvy and up-to-date brands. These Millennials, also known as Generation Y-ers, are defined as those born between 1982 and 1993, and they are more than 77 million strong. Although many have suffered unemployment and ongoing debt from the Great Recession, they are still larger than the Baby Boomer generation and will soon need to fill in buying power where retiring Boomers will leave a void. It’s a callout many big name marketers are keeping in mind: getting a jump on the tech-savvy Millennials as they mature in both age and salary.

Brands like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Starbucks were cited as using technology to effectively reach Millennials. But even established companies like 103-year-old Oreo (Nabisco) and 123-year-old General Electric have found a way to put technology and Millennials at the forefront of their broader company strategy.

education, technology, internet, summer holidays, social networking and teenage concept - group of teenagers with smartphones

Take GE’s award-winning content strategy behind the #sixsecondscience campaign, which made GE one of the first brands to successfully util
ize Vine as a marketing platform. It also resulted in the extremely successful “moon boots” fashion craze with JackThreads.

Raghu Krishnamoorthy, GE’s VP of executive development and chief learning officer, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that “culture is contextual” for GE, referring to the way GE seesMillennial culture and how they engage and allow tech to shape their decisions. GE, at its core, is a technology and innovations company, but the 2015 GE consumer is obviously very different from the nineteenth century consumer.

Linda Boff, executive director of branded marketing for the company, says context is everything, and that GE has found a sweet spot when it comes to taking technology, simplifying it, and having it make sense when speaking to a consumer. “As a company thoroughly about science and invention, we’ve leaned hard into new platforms,” she told Adweek. “We like being first. We use it to telegraph who we are: a company that loves science and is courageous. Our content is inherently about what we love.”

Of course, no one size fits all, but considering context when it comes to Millennials and technology could be a great start.

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