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5 Ways Southeast Asian Start-ups Can Market to Millennials

Brands have to work for their attention

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 29 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, millennials are a demographic most brands want to capture, not only for their spending power as more and more of them enter the workforce, but for their ability to shape trends and influence innovation. But be warned that brands will have to work for their attention.

Here are five ways Southeast Asian start-ups can effectively market to this constantly connected generation:

 

1. Be on social media

To reach millennials, your brand has to be where they are: on social media. This means maintaining a presence and engaging with your audience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest and Snapchat when necessary.

Jessica Li, co-founder of Malaysia-based food delivery app Dahmakan, says that her team uses Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to share more casual insights about the culture at Dahmakan that, in turn, boost the brand visibility of the company.

 

2. Collaborate with influencers

Influencers are individuals with a strong following on social media and have built their name and credibility in their respective fields—fashion, beauty, food, technology, etc. They can impact purchasing decisions based on their real or perceived authority.

Jane Choi of Vienna-based global digital marketing firm OutThereMedia says in this Inc. Southeast Asia piece that in order to choose the best influencers, brands have to go beyond their number of followers and instead look at the market reach and engagement levels. She adds, “All influencers want their next post to be better than the former. The question to ask is: what value can your brand provide [with regards to] enhancing their image?”

 

3. Focus on producing engaging content

Millennials are very responsive to original, creative, and relevant content, and they rarely think twice about sharing it with their friends, family, and even professional network.

When one speaks of creating rich content, box office giant Marvel has it down pat, as this Inc. Southeast Asia article explains.

Jaclyn Lee, head of marketing at Malaysian fashion app Shoppr, says in the article, “Marvel [has] been able to build their brand within an ecosystem that enables them to include new and old fans into their world. They do this well by translating their content across a number of different channels, i.e., in movies, television series, events, etc.” In relation to Shoppr she adds, “We also reach our users at all possible touch points: on app, web, in-store, at an event, etc. No matter where they are on their shopping journey, it's being where they are that drives that connection.”

Make sure you are producing the right content for a particular platform, whether it’s on the big screen or just on mobile and desktop.

 

4. Share their passions

“Millennials define themselves by their interests and passions. They want to connect with brands that share their passions. This is a key motivation for their purchasing decisions,” writes Christina DesMarais in her Inc. article.    

They are likely to support brands that share the same values and beliefs, such as a sustainable lifestyle, fair trade, and social entrepreneurship.

 

5. Forget the hard sell

Millennials can spot advertising from a mile away, so it’s best to steer clear of the hard sell. Better yet, find a way for brands and consumers to work together, as Philippine start-up Hoy did.

Hoy is a social media app that allows users to post their selfies with their favorite brands in exchange for rewards. “We want to have a community where users and brands can exist plainly, visibly, and harmoniously with each other,” co-founder and CEO Seph Mayol says in this Inc. Southeast Asia feature.

“We want to elevate the relationship of the consumers and brands and make that connection beneficial to both parties—users patronize or promote brands and brands reward users,” he adds.