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Wooing a millennial: A how-to guide

Millennials are creative and like to put their own spin on things, including food and supplements. Are you providing them with the right tools to do so?

Millennials are like termites. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork, and they mate for life—tattoos, fixies and all. As the up-and-coming earners of our time, the market is abuzz with concerns over how to snag these elusive 20-somethings. What’s the trick? The trick is in knowing that there isn’t one. (Kinda.) Hear me out.

Show your true colors (and make sure they’re good ones)

These savvy shoppers are on top of their game. Pockets laden with barcode-scanning smartphones, millennials know when a brand isn’t living up to its claims because, well, there’s an app for that. This generation can’t be duped. They’re in search of the real deal: a relationship built on true love that can stand the test of time (or social media). All talk and no game? They’ll know. So be genuine.

In this age of rainbow hair, craft home-brews and bathroom selfies, personality rules the day. Not only do millennials want to show you theirs, but they also want to see what you’re all about. No need to fake it—just stand for something and repeat x infinity. Authenticity beats perfection, so show them you’re human, too. Social media is social, after all. At its core, it’s about connecting, not selling.

Show of hands for those out there thinking, "But connection does not increased revenue make!" I hear ya ... at least it doesn’t directly increase revenue.

Sure, one “follow” doesn’t precisely correlate to the sale of one product, but now you have their ears and their eyes (and let’s not undervalue the eyes #minimalism). Show them why your product will immeasurably enhance their lives and there’s no trickery needed—millennials will be eating out of your hand (read: aesthetically curated Instagram feed) in no time.

Know your strengths

First and foremost, remember this: real food > supplements, always. It’s something that was decided back when we were all still watching Friends, long before the handlebar mustache became an icon, when the term “hipster” was simply a twinkle in someone’s eye. Instead of attempting to change this hierarchy, exploit its weaknesses.

This generation is not naive. They know full well that whole foods alone won’t fulfill all their nutritional needs. Millennials aren’t looking for a cure-all anything—and that means product, brand or workout. Diversity is key. They’re looking for products to fortify their diets in the areas most lacking and to set themselves up for a lifetime of not needing to rely on the health care industry. After all, the odds are not exactly in their favor (cough: insurance prices).

So, give them what they want! If millennials are looking for condition-specific goods, i.e. probiotics for immunity and digestion, adaptogens for stress, pre-workout for focused energy and protein to get “swole,” why not cater to their needs?

Indulge the foodie generation

Food pics are the new porn, and everyone and their sister has a recipe blog. Although these hard truths may garner a few eye rolls here and there, there’s a lot to be gained for companies willing to use the food movement to its advantage.

Millennials are creative and all about putting their own spin on something (see again: personality rules the day). Provide them with the tools to do so by formulating a product that encourages them to play.

A capsule will only ever be a capsule, but a powder? Well, a powder could be cheesecake, waffles, a golden milk latte, or something yet-to-be trendy AF. And just think about all the free content those millennials will make for you, and how all their friends will see that picture they took featuring your product and want to take a similar one but better (because everyone’s a photographer now). And soon enough … well, that’s pretty much how Lululemon became a cult, so #enoughsaid, #amiright?

Too long, didn’t read

1) How to pique millennial interest? Honesty. Make claims and stick to them.

2) How to get them to stick around? Personality. Show millennials what you’re about and woo them to fall in love with your mission. Goal: Get them to swipe right on your brand.

3) How to get them to buy? Exploit the weakness: Food isn’t what it used to be and there are some nutritional gaps to fill. Get specific.

4) How to seal the deal? Create a tribe around your product. Pull a Lulu.

Play your cards right, and this gen is in it for the long haul.

Natasha Boote is content manager for the supplement brand Ora Organic. 

The Millennial Issue of Nutrition Business Journal is available for purchase here.

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