Home Grow Your Influence How Influencers and Brands Can Reach Millennials Through Language
How Influencers and Brands Can Reach Millennials Through Language

How Influencers and Brands Can Reach Millennials Through Language


Why Millennials?

Millennials (18 to 34 year olds) are undoubtedly the audience to target.  They are young, they have money from parents or new jobs and are ready to spend it.  They are early adopters ready to pounce on the newest mobile apps and other experimental technology.  More millennials are influencers on Vine, Snapchat, and YouTube than imaginable.  Many of them are making it big, because they are young, beautiful, funny, and able to reach youth.

The Stats

  • Millennials are more connected to influencers and brands on a regular basis, due to their heavy use of mobile devices.  67 percent of Millennials reported that they use smartphones to access the Internet.
  • Millennials engage more deeply with brands on social networks:
    • 52 percent said that, at least occasionally, they use their mobile devices on social media to note that they “like” a brand, compared with 33 percent of boomers.
    • 39 percent post product reviews.
    • 35 percent share links about products on LinkedIn.
    • 32 percent said that they follow brands on Twitter.
  • U.S. Millennials reported that they are most influenced by family, friends, and strangers, over “experts”.
    • Millennials’ purchasing decisions are influenced by five people, compared with three for boomers.
    • 59 percent of Millennials’ purchasing decisions are influenced by friends—compared with less than half of non-Millennials.
    • 52 percent are influenced by spouses and partners.
    • 51 percent are influenced by parents;
    • 33 percent, roughly twice as many as non-Millennials, listed strangers as those who influence their buying decisions
    • 23 percent cited celebrities.
  • Millennials identify with brands more personally and emotionally than do older generations.
  • Forty-eight percent of young Millennials reported that they “try to use brands of companies that are active in supporting social causes.
  • More than half of U.S. Millennials said that people seek them out for their knowledge and opinions of brands, compared with only 35 percent of boomers.
  • Even better, over 50 percent of U.S. Millennials said that they are willing to share their brand preferences on social media, compared with 31 percent of baby boomers.
  • U.S. Millennials are also more likely to be influenced by peers than are those of older consumers.  28 percent of younger Millennials and 23 percent of older Millennials said that they are more likely not to purchase or use brands that their friends disapprove of, as opposed to only 12 percent of boomers.

Speaking Millennial Language

Based on the statistics, targeting millennials for brand support, influencer support, and buying power makes sense.  It also means that both brands and influencers must approach millennials where they are at.  When over half of all millennials are willing to share brand preferences on social media, and over half also say they are not likely to purchase or use brands their friends disapprove of, it is crucial that brands cater to the millennial generation.

One of the best ways to do this is to use millennial speak, although they have likely come up with a new term for that as well.  Also, Bcg.perspectives suggests that in order “to sustain Millennial loyalty to their brands, companies must engage Millennials individually and in small groups through direct, two-way communications.”

Millennial Speak

Have you happened across a Tweet lately that includes the hashtag #bae, and wondered what bae stands for?  I have, and I am at the edge of the millennial generation.  Below is a list of the 10 slang words of 2014 frequently used by millennials.  It’s highly recommended that brands and influencers incorporate these into their targeted messaging, if you haven’t already.

  1. BAE = “before anyone else”, a term of endearment for a loved one.
  2. BASIC = defines a stereotypical girl who wears the “basic” girl uniform of Ugg boots, black leggings, and drinks Starbucks coffee.
  3. SHADE = Saying “shade” is like someone pleasantly saying something negative like, “I love how you just don’t care what you look like.”  This term originated in the drag scene but became popular amongst millennials around 2014.
  4. TURNT = “Getting turnt” or “turning up” is the new way of saying someone is in full party mode (often referring to drinking large amounts of alcohol).
  5. YAS (or YAAASSSSS) = It’s like saying yes in a big way.  This term became popular when a fan screamed out “YASSS!” during a viral video of a Lady Gaga concert.
  6. SWERVE = A term used in Kanye West’s “Mercy”, it’s used to call someone out for lying, or to tell someone to go away.
  7. CAN’T EVEN = This term is often paired with “literally”, and used when a person is overcome with emotions; excited, angry, sad, and they “can’t even” finish a sentence.
  8. SLAY = Similar to “yas”, this term is used more in fashion to refer to someone who looks amazing, or who is doing something amazing.  “You are slaying” means that you are on top of your game.
  9. FLEEK = This term became popular through a Vine user who referred to her perfect eyebrows as “fleek”. If you say that something is “on fleek”, that means it’s essentially perfect.
  10. SHIP = This term is the perfect example of the millennial perspective.  Ship is a shortened version of “relationship”.  Fandoms of popular shows have popped up as shows become popular and the internet grows.  Here, fans can debate favorite character moments, where the fans end up “shipping”, or imagining two characters are involved in a relationship.

For the full list of Top 27 Slang Words of 2014, and to get inside the minds of millennials, read this article, from Brain Jet.  Stats from bcg.perspectives.



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