How to address Millennials through native content : MinuteBuzz x Sutter Mills show the way forward

Everybody’s talking about Millennials, what they do, what they want, how they behave, their ideals and expectations leaving brands with one key question… how do we speak and communicate with them?!

In this article, I want to share with you the discovery I made on a “Sociannel”, Minute Buzz, created, fed and watched by this very target group, and how together we managed to create a tool to continuously create the most adapted and impactful content to better understand, reach and attract Millennials.

Everything started out with a standard qualitative research study with my University students at Paris VII. Our objective was two-fold : get (or at least try to get) to the core of this new and hard-to-grasp target and understand the mechanisms of native advertising. That’s how we first met with Minute Buzz.

MinuteBuzz is the first “100% video, 100% social” media channel. They shut down their website last September and have been posting their content only on social networks since. Curious to discover this new concept, we decided to structure our study around this channel and its content.

We tested 50 native content creations produced by Minute Buzz through 30 interviews of 18–35 year-old men and women, all subscribers to one of the MinuteBuzz social pages. The group of people that we selected did not only like the MinuteBuzz pages on social networks but also came from a wide range of backgrounds, far from being the stereotypical snapchat/twitter/tinder-addicted teens. University students, young workers and business people, all articulate and very clear on their motivations contributed to our study.

To be honest, when we started the study, I was if not patronizing, at least a bit reserved about MinuteBuzz.

Indeed, as a staunch intellectual (almost snobbish, some might say) and a worthy representative of Generation X, the first videos that immediately came to my mind were those of cute cats, hilarious stunt failures and schoolboy pranks — nothing that could really get me interested. What a surprise ! I discovered a whole new world… a true concept, designed by and for Millennials, offering brand new information consumption habits and patterns.

Surprise #1 : a new informative communication style

For these digital natives, social networks have replaced television -and a fortiori, newspapers- as first providers of information, implying a new approach to sharing information. Indeed, this new way of consuming information now mixes the traditional news on national and international politics, as well as what happens on the web. This mix of genres means much wider but also careless, less prioritized and detailed information.

Moreover, the need for humour and ridicule seems to be the answer of this generation to the great difficulties it has to face : less in the rage, more in the sarcasm… as if they had replaced the desperate ‘no future’ speech by a disillusioned ‘what the f**k’. As a 24-year old student in journalism said : “our generation has a lot of very difficult things, challenges to face… in a more and more sad world… so, there is this very important silly moment we need, when you don’t give a damn : MinuteBuzz tries to address this need for a relaxing moment in this crushing and overwhelming world.”

In this context, for our target, there is no doubt that MinuteBuzz is a real and reliable provider of information: “I always check information sources when I read something and I know that MinuteBuzz is a trusted source” said a 26 year-old businessman.

Surprise #2: the ability to create attachment

What makes them so original (versus their main competitors Konbini, BuzzFeed, 9gag…) is their ability to mix social media and TV communication codes to design a new generation channel with its visual identity, its gimmicks (the most famous being its ability to introduce movie scenes in their video edits) and regular programs like the weather forecast, news recaps, cooking tips… This creates a genuine sense of closeness and attachment.

“The producers always try to use a humorous tone and to create a connection with the audience by making jokes that everyone can grasp” a 27 year-old man working in IT consulting told us.

Surprise #3: the level of engagement in native advertising

Of course, this “Sociannel” broadcasts advertising. What surprised me the most, as a market researcher who has been doing these kinds of interviews for 15 years and who has oh so often observed defensive attitudes about marketing/ mercantile messages, is the very positive feedback received on this type of content. Interviewees put forward the high level of interest generated by the product or the story, but, above all, the Millennials spirit instilled by all the content, creating a true sense of belonging.

That was our queue : this sense of belonging to a community is the best lever to generate commitment. It is this particular environment that we felt we could use to get the most insightful understanding of the Millennials target.

To design impactful communication and advertising, you need to know your target audience and to grasp the content they are sensitive to. MinuteBuzz brought to the table its deep understanding of Millennials and its ability to generate viewer engagement, SutterMills its expertise in data analytics and online qualitative studies. Jointly, we created an innovative Consistency Ad Manager tool, based on the test & learn principle thus allowing continuous content production improvement.

This collaboration sparks the creation of an innovative and disruptive tool to imagine the native content of the future.