They make up a quarter of the U.S. population and by 2020 they will represent 40 percent of U.S. shoppers. The youth that make up the generation Ipsos calls iGen are on the verge of transforming how Americans connect, watch and consume. So how can brands connect with iGen on their terms in the digital world?
To engage this influential generation of youth born after 1996, you’ll have to go through their smart phones. Not only do they connect and learn through the devices, more than two-thirds use their phone to shop online.
They’re not necessarily worried about sharing their data but want some control over how it’s used. For example, they often have both public and private versions of Instagram to manage who sees what portions of their activity. That’s why building trust is the most integral part of engaging with people. This allows them to find information from multiple perspectives, so they can make decisions based on what they think is credible, entertaining or interesting.
To do that, the Ipsos community practice uses behavioral science principals to build trust and engage people in online communities. Following are several BeSci principals applied through community rules of engagement and examples of them in action:
Reciprocity means build relationships: A leading media company wanted to bring together its best female consumers—including active bloggers—to connect and inspire one another through social sharing. Using the BeSci principle of reciprocity, the Ipsos Community team created a multi-year online community. They encouraged ongoing participation online and offline, relationship building, and authentic feedback that created an environment of trust. One activity involved five community members who traded their daily makeup products with new products for two weeks. They kept detailed video and blog diaries that led to endorsements from real women who are top influencers in getting other women to buy cosmetics.
Authenticity means be transparent: There is a reason for communication beyond profit. You want to engage in “real talk” and encourage uncensored feedback to allow participants to say what they want to say. For example, fast food chain Wendy’s started Twitter feuds akin to rap battles where they roasted rival brands. They traded insults and snarky comebacks in a game of one-upmanship, which extended to customers, who eagerly got in on the act.
Social belonging means show impact: A sense of belonging is a key human motivator. Active recognition reaffirms this belonging. Letting members know the immediate impact of their investments in the community deepens the sense of purpose and pride that members have in their participation. A grocery retailer community regularly shares brand decisions that the community helps to inform through regular announcements from the brand. One example said: “You told us how we should refine our new price tags. We took your comments into consideration and now they’re in store.” Community members offered feedback like “It’s really good to know and see that what we contribute is really making a difference for all of us. Thank YOU for letting us have a say!”
Participatory feedback means recognize and reward: Rewards like badges or games encourage people to engage. Through its community, a technology company encouraged ongoing participation by inviting members to VIP industry events. This gave them the opportunity to connect face-to-face with company representatives and other peers in the tech space. This kind of engagement allows the company to expand the consumer presence across organizations within the company, all the way up to the CEO office. It also encourages a more consumer-centric approach that continues to help improve the customer experience.
System 1 design means develop engaging content:
Finally, we live in a System 1 world – we are moved by content that is visceral – incorporating motion, sound, visual and emotional elements. When we lean into this type content we get better results.