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How Aeropostale and Asos are getting mobile right with millennials

Aeropostale and Asos are among the few brands that are targeting millennials and getting mobile right by providing lifestyle content and establishing credibility with an audience that appreciates quality.

While many brands are now considering the millennial generation, they still lack in efforts aiming to include themselves in every aspect of these consumers? lives and are still focused on traditional, deal-oriented marketing. Transforming a brand into a provider of wholesome lifestyle content can turn millennial consumers into loyal customers.

?Allowing consumers to have personalized and customized experiences on brands? mobile sites make the millennial visitor feel like they are getting the inside scoop,? said Carin van Vuuren, CMO at Usablenet, New York. ?Things like look books, views on cat walk trends and exclusive offers are features that Asos does.

?None of these ideas are incredibly new, but the power of social engagement is crucial for this age generation,? she said. ?Brands are really only beginning to learn about millennials, and millennials are not being taken as seriously as they want to be taken as consumers.

?This demographic is not as deal driven as what they?re made out to be. They have grown up learning to make good decisions and will invest in products that are sustainable and good for the planet.?

Following the guidelines
In response to millennials? ways of consuming content, brands are adjusting their mobile user experience, messaging and overall strategy to align with this younger demographic.

Usablenet works with Aeropostale, Asos,  a British online fashion and beauty store, and many other similar brands, 350 in total. While some of them are millennial-facing, the mobile technology company helps get their clients onto the mobile channel, whether it is through mobile optimization, mobile applications or tablet experiences.

Usablenet?s efforts hope to go beyond making a site or app merely look good; it focuses more on what consumers are trying to achieve when they use a brand?s platform.

?Only a few brands are truly understanding the essential approach of reaching millennials,? Ms. Van Vuuren said. ?

To best reach this audience, brands should be marketing their products in designs that reflect the instant gratification mindset of this generation. Personalization is also a crucial tactic that must be used in order to reach these consumers. This tactic can be executed in many forms, such as shopping filters, allowing customers to shop solely for the product they are searching for, she said.

?Brands? efforts should make their customers think, ?I feel comfortable bringing this brand into my everyday environment,?? she said. ?If not, they?ll go find something else.??

Another tactic is animation. Gifs, images and video are prevalently used in this case, in addition to user-generated content, because these are features that millennials are using in their everyday casual conversations, making brands? efforts more translatable and familiar.?

Active participants
?Aeropostale teased its fans about its rebranding effort AeroNow this summer by mimicking millennials? behaviors. The fashion retailer used social and mobile messaging to build anticipation for the upcoming reveal of its rebranding initiative in July, which included a text campaign that invited customers to its stores and hashtag promotions.?

By using provocative messages such as ?You?ve changed so we?ve changed? and ?Are You Who You Were a Year Ago?,? the retailer aimed to relate to a younger generation regarding life changes while driving interest in its new look. The messaging was intentionally vague to draw in attention via mobile and social, where the retailer?s target audience spends much of its time (see story).

In fact, a recent report revealed that 36 percent of millennials have made a decision on where to spend money or have switched companies based on a brand's mobile offerings, suggesting that companies failing to meet these consumers' mobile needs could find themselves facing extinction. 

According to the survey completed by image software provider Mitek and research partner Zogby Analytics, 60 percent of millennial participants believe mobile will takeover all processes over the next five years. While some brands are responding accordingly by providing mobile solutions, these consumers are likely to disengage with businesses that do not (see story).

?Any millennial mobile marketing solution needs to be simple, trusted and a source for saving or optimizing the shopping basket,? said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. ?Always think about deducing clicks and simplifying any campaign or solution. 

?Strategies that capture attention through the media clutter secure trial and advocacy, and more loyalty is essential,? he said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York