The millennials are more vulnerable than one might think

Retail Financial Services

James Goad

Artificial IntelligenceBack OfficeBank and Brand Distribution of Retail Financial ServicesBehavioursDigitalExperienceJourneyRetail Financial ServicesSegementationSocial Media

Millennials have surpassed baby boomers to become the largest consumer demographic, however with a deep mistrust of the system status quo born out of the financial crisis and an uncertainty regarding the future it is essential that brands are changing their paradigms to engage with this generation or risk becoming redundant.


  • Millennials think and do things differently from previous generations. However a lot of brands still treat and communicate with them as if they follow the previous norm. Those brands who don’t change their paradigms to meet Millennials' needs will become redundant.
  • They also feel cheated by previous generations both by their raiding and keeping assets.
  • In addition they are very uncertain of the future. The old models of working, buying a house, working lives etc. have all changed. There are no precedents from the past to help guide them.
  • However they still have aspirations to get on but they don't know how to do it. Brands who can show them the way in this new world will be the winners both in the short and long term.
  • 7 out of 10 Millennials are "socially" active and over 75% demand more of brands, especially banks!

Key issues and challenges

  • Rules of engagement have changed from people going to buy from brands to brands needing to go to people. Challenge is how best to enable this.
  • Amazon and Facebook are increasingly becoming the common interface for Millennials and providers are just becoming white labelled offerings with no customer insight and intimacy.
  • However key brands struggle to think of people other than as “walking wallets”.
  • Brands business cases are all short term and usually dictated by Finance. They want to see an immediate return on spend with Millennials buying in the short term – this is at odds with Millennials' behaviour.
  • It is brands that are vulnerable not individuals!
  • Millennials don’t trust the current status quo. They feel the system is rigged against them.

Conclusions and solutions

  • Brands can still go out to mass audiences but need to have different, niche messages for all the sub groups.
  • Brands cannot be sure of reaching people unless they understand what the sub sections of people want and when, and continue to stay relevant
  • New space is the one of passion and culture solving issues and alleviating fear.
  • There is no silver bullet but there is a need to invest in Millennials for the long term; to value them and treat with care.
  • Need to build brand out, have patience and commit time and investment.
  • Talk to Millennials at “eye level" not top down; get alongside them and guide and support their life journeys.
  • Time and experience are the new currencies not direct wealth creation.
  • Provide Millennials with the right tools and support and they are happy to do things for themselves.

Moderator: Simon Cocker, Simon Cocker Consultancy
Experts: Sam Peskin, Wetware