The spoken word is a powerful force…just ask my grown kids whom I can still stop dead in their tracks with just a word. I still got it! In my day we actually talked with our mouths unlike my lovely children who seem to use their thumbs a lot. These day’s texting and social media conversations has a huge impact on customers before they even walk into your store, but how do you reach them once they’re actually there? Can you literally catch their ear again and continue that dialogue? You have the ability to engage them through your overhead speakers today, but are you?

For so many years our speakers have been used as a means to page and play music. When you look at them that way, they’re just an operational expense and a cost to do business. Why not make those speakers a resource, a marketing and advertising tool and a means to further your brand merchandising with EVERY customer in your retail space? Seems like a no brainer to me. When you look at it that way, all of a sudden those very same speakers take on a whole new life of their own….Long gone are the days we just used those speakers to deliver old school elevator music.

Once you realize you have this powerful and impactful tool right at your fingertips you need to define how to use it to your advantage. First you need to define “who” are you trying to reach? Who is your core demographic right “now” and more importantly “who” is going to be your core demographic 2 years from now? Remember, at any given moment one of my children is most probably right there shopping in your store. You have Millennials walking your aisles that are in the midst of their loyalty branding phase. So strike up a conversation, educate them, entertain them….do something to engage them….NOW.

I have spent the better part of my career speaking about the sales lift that retailers get from a weekly price and product advertisement in their audio. And that still holds true.  With the evolution of Millennials into the market place that same audio may be one of the best “branding” tools you have available. Building your brand name and what you stand for, and behind, is just as important and what you sell these days.

Let’s think about this. Printed marketing has gone by the wayside and Millennials are not reading articles on-line either. They skim. If it’s not in a short blip somewhere they aren’t interested. And heaven forbid they should read something they might interpret as a marketing piece, a very ugly word to them….they’ll hit delete quicker than I can blink. Yes, they use your apps and your ecommerce. They see your social media postings and use your couponing deliveries. They expect your technology to meet their technical wants…and you do all that. But with the massive quantity of information crossing their screens daily how do you have a unique voice that is heard? How can you speak to them and differentiate yourself without them clicking right on past you?  It’s really quite simple….you literally talk to them. Old school.

They’re right there in your store. Walking around picking up your produce, looking through you bakery, literally looking for something to catch their attention. So let’s talk to them. Hey you, Mr. Shopper… yeah you looking at deli meats. Did you know that for 4 years now we here at blah blah have been supporting the local blah blah by donating a percentage of our profits to help those who are need? Or our family of employees her at blah blah gathers together to volunteer our time to support the blah blah and we’d like to ask you to join us. Or we are dedicated to the sustainability of our environment and are supporting our beliefs by lower carbon emissions through a centralized delivery process blah blah blah and lowering our footprint by installing energy efficient lighting and implementing….etc etc.

In the past you may have felt that your charitable causes were just side projects. Being civic minded, sustainable and charitable in your community was just something you did on the side. That small positive impact now translates to influencing loyalty and building trust, branding, with your Millennial shopper. A shopper who by definition is cause driven, pro-social and looking to be engaged. Tell them and show them the difference your brand is making. Define who and what you support and be authentic about it. Speak with passion and conviction about who you are as a brand. You’re not just a store….

Finally, at the very core of every dialogue lies the spoken words themselves that we chose to communicate with. Are we picking our words wisely? Are we evolving?  Don’t fall victim to using the same ole’ stale branding and marketing terms with Millennials.  We have seen a definite evolution of communication with Millennials. At the heart of it all it’s really our intent and delivery that makes the biggest impact though. Be sincere, be real.

The world around us is evolving and we need to evolve with it. Get hip people. You have a captive audience….right there in your store….and you’re the only voice they hear. Make it count….

 

Blue Skies Everyone

#GrandMillennial