Effective Generation Y marketing is critical to sales

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Joeri Van den Bergh, author of How Cool Brands Stay Hot

​Produce brands need to resonate with Millennial consumers

To grow brand awareness, sales and market share, fresh produce buyers and sellers must find ways to get closer to Generation Y (or Millennial) consumers, says marketing specialist and InSites Consulting managing partner Joeri Van den Bergh.

“It’s not about marketing to kids – Generation Y are young adults between 18 and 34 years of age and they are the ones buying fresh produce for themselves and their young families,” explains van den Bergh, author of the book ‘How Cool Brands Stay Hot’.

Generation Y consumers:

Born between the early 1980s and 1996

Eager to socialise, have fun and celebrate life

Desire to be cool, real and unique

Seek to self-identify with brands and their values

Consider themselves as a collective and think about tomorrow


Van den Bergh has identified five key themes with the acronym ‘CRUSH’ that are critical to Generation Y consumers: being cool, real and unique, being able to self-identify with brands, and happiness.

“For Generation X (born between the early ‘60s and early ‘80s), life was all about prestige and image,” he says. “Generation Y is about celebrating life, having fun, de-stressing and togetherness.”

As such, van den Bergh believes fresh produce marketers must respond to his CRUSH ideals, become more socially aware and create a buzz that resonates with these values, if they are to get more people talking about their brands and ultimately be successful.

“In our study of 15 markets worldwide we have found that if you increase your CRUSH core you increase your awareness and market share,” he says, adding that Generation Y needs to be talking about fruit and vegetables for the sector’s longevity.

“Millennials talk to their friends 146 times a week about brands and products because it’s part of their lifestyle – it’s what they’re interested in,” he says. “If they’re not talking about fruit and vegetables then you’re not part of their lifestyle. There is proof that if you get closer to the youth and involve them it will lead to better results.”

He uses Coca Cola as a recent example of a direct approach to this generation of consumer. After recording a decline in its Australian sales, Coca Cola set about putting the most popular Australian first names on its drink cans in place of the Coca Cola brand.

By tapping into the social mood and being less “top down” in its marketing approach, van den Bergh says Coca Cola became closer to its consumers and successfully returned its sales to normal before rolling out the initiative worldwide.

As well as increasing communication with Millennials, van den Bergh says brands need to give Millennials the opportunity to share their stories too. To enable that, he says brands need to relate to Millennials’ lives so they in turn can identify with that brand and its values.

As Millennials are keen to celebrate life and have fun, van den Bergh suggests marketers should ensure their brands are innovative, humorous and able to offer an element of positive surprise.

“This generation has a short attention span – they need new things all the time,” he explains, noting that limited edition products work well.

Aside from seeking short-term thrills, van den Bergh points out that Generation Y is also thinking about tomorrow and is a more social generation that considers itself as a collective.

“They think about themselves as a group and a planet, so seeing the farms where produce is grown is more important to Generation Y today,” van den Bergh notes. “They want reduced packaging and reduced waste too.”

At the same time, the older Millennials are also already thinking about tomorrow by studying, learning new skills and working hard for their first house, marriage and kids.

“The ideal image of family is still the main fantasy of Generation Y,” van den Bergh points out. “So, you have to remember to address all of Generation Y.

“You need both balls and goals to address Millennials.”

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