The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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Page 85 of 124

december 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  85 Plenty has been said about the elusive Millennial generation. Traditional media outreach doesn't seem to capture their attention, and they gravitate towards small, niche brands—the more unknown the better. It's no wonder that bigger, established brands are at a loss for how to connect with this finicky group. And while this group might make these brands want to throw their hands up in frustration, that isn't an option unless they want to ignore the newly-crowned largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many studies discovered what Millennials drink in terms of wine, spirits and beers, but public relations, public affairs and marketing firm MWWPR, with its beverage practice across the New York and Los Angeles offices, decided to dive deeper and look into why they pick up the glass in the first place and what drives them to become an advocate for a brand. "We represent big brands in this field," begins JP Schuerman, President, Western Region for MWWPR. "We noticed a growing divide between large brands in the sector and Millennials. If this divide continues, they will lose Millennials. You either die or pivot, which is why this research is important." When focusing on the trial side of the equation, the study found that the biggest motivators came down to, in order of most influential to least, friends and co-workers, bartenders/ mixologists and the brands them- selves—Millennials see these groups as trusted sources. That being said, there are nuances to the last category, the brands; they must present a story behind their product that Millennials "perceive as adventurous, authentic, cool, experienced and creative." The research uncovered that, for this group, it's not just about the taste of the spirit, it's more about the act of discovering it. Due to this idea, MWWPR suggests brands focus on letting consumers feel as though they just stumbled onto a secret, whether that comes in the form of behind-the- scenes access to company or revealing a new product to Millennials first. They also recommend emphasizing the company's narrative through experiences like pop-up bars or ambassador workshops. "Perhaps the most unforeseen part of our study was on the influencer side," Schuerman continues. "When this group wants to share something on their own social media pages, they look first to big, social influencers, and then, surprisingly, to traditional media sources, consumed digitally. It used to be that getting a traditional media hit was the end; now it is just the start. Brands need to amplify these hits through influencers, social channels and brand ambassadors." Instead of speaking at the Millennials, Schuerman and his team recommend enabling influencers to create their own content, which seamlessly weaves their voice with your brand messaging. Co-creating content or allowing influencers to share branded content are other options for brands to leverage these important relationships. The end goal of any inter- action with this demographic should be to gain their trust; to achieve this all-important objective, brands should remain authentic to their narrative and offer enticing experiences. Although this research delves deep into the motivation behind Millennials' trial and influence behav- ior, Schuerman admits they have only begun to scratch the surface during phase one of their study. In the second quarter of next year, MWWPR will collaborate further with bartenders more quantitatively and with brands to see what's missing and how they can continue to expand their understand- ing of this consumer group. To read the full research study from MWWPR, visit MILLENNIALS & SPIRITS INFLUENCING THE PATH TO DISCOVERY MWWPR CONDUCTED INDEPTH RESEARCH ON THE MILLENNIAL AUDIENCE AND THEIR FACTORS OF INFLUENCE IN THE SPIRITS CATEGORY, UNCOVERING THEIR MOST TRUSTED SOURCES AND EMOTIONAL CONNECTORS. THE RESEARCH INCLUDED AN ONLINE SURVEY AMONG 1,000+ CONSUMERS AGES 2134 IN THE TOP 20 DMAS WHO DRINK LIQUOR 3+ TIMES PER MONTH, AS WELL AS TARGETED FOCUS GROUPS WITH BARTENDERS AND OTHER RELEVANT INFLUENCERS IN TOP URBAN DMAS INCLUDING NEW YORK, CHICAGO, LOS ANGELES, DENVER AND SAN FRANCISCO. WHEN IT COMES TO ADVOCACY, THIRD PARTY CREDIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL FOR MILLENNIALS TO SHARE AND ADVOCATE ON BEHALF OF A LIQUOR BRAND MILLENNIALS ARE INFLUENCED BY THREE MAIN SOURCES WHEN IT COMES TO GATHERING ON TRYING LIQUOR BRANDS TRUSTED INFORMATION FRIENDS AND COWORKERS BARTENDERS AND MIXOLOGISTS BRANDS TRIAL VS. ADVOCACY HOW DO YOU GET MILLENNIALS TO SHARE? SHARE CONTENT ABOUT NEW LIQUOR BRANDS THAT IS POSTED BY A SOCIAL INFLUENCER 54% SHARE EDITORIAL CONTENT THAT IS POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA 45% % STRONGLY AGREE THAT THEY ARE INTERESTED IN TRYING CRAFT OR SMALL BATCH LIQUORS ONETHIRD SAID A BRAND'S TRADITION AND HISTORY CAN INFLUENCE THE LIQUOR THEY CHOOSE TRADITION AND STORYTELLING ARE STRONG INFLUENCERS IN DECISIONMAKING FOR MILLENNIALS A GOOD STORY GOES A LONG WAY THE EXCITEMENT OF DISCOVERY COMPELS MILLENNIALS TO SHARE MILLENNIALS ARE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT DISCOVERING NEW LIQUOR BRANDS AND WANT TO SHARE 90% GET EXCITED WHEN THEY DISCOVER A NEW LIQUOR BRAND 66% TELL THEIR CLOSE FRIENDS ABOUT A NEWLY DISCOVERED LIQUOR BRAND 31% SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AFTER DISCOVERING A NEW LIQUOR BRAND

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