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Obama, Bacon, and knowing your audience

Recent viral videos from President Obama and Kevin Bacon illustrated the importance of strategy when reaching the Millennial audience. Since members of this generation are in their productive years, and are beginning to form loyalties to service providers, it’s important to not only know what to say, but HOW to say it. Young adults prefer personalized and conversational interaction, businesses should use this knowledge to connect with the Millennial audience and meet expectations.

What do US President Barack Obama and actor Kevin Bacon have in common? They both recently leveraged YouTube and other online video channels to reach the Millennial audience. On March 10th, Kevin Bacon released a YouTube video about “80’s Awareness” specifically targeting the Millennial generation that gained nearly 2 million views in 3 days. President Barack Obama was interviewed on Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns,” which was posted on March 11th and within 2 days had 15 million views! Kevin Bacon’s clip was designed to promote the new TV series The Following in which he’s the lead actor, while President Obama was getting a message out to uninsured young Americans to sign up for health insurance on healthcare.gov. While one could argue that neither of these topics are particularly riveting, both of these examples illustrate how knowing your audience and tailoring not only your message but also your delivery mechanism can make all the difference in the world.  It’s not just what you say, it’s HOW you say it.

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately when it comes to my day job here at Nuance and what I’m hearing from our customers. The organizations that I work with on a daily basis are facing a fundamental shift in the make-up of their customer base as younger generations – read: the Millennial generation – are growing up and doing business with them. This is a generation that has very different expectations when it comes to how they engage with a service provider (e.g. bank, telco provider, airline, etc.). And they also have very different expectations when it comes to technology. Companies need to know their “audience” and they need to consider not only the conversations that they are having with their customers, but how they are enabling those conversations in order to meet these new expectations.

We know from research conducted in late 2013 that the Millennial generation is the “virtual assistant generation.” The majority of these young adults are already using a virtual assistant on a regular basis on their smartphone, and are used to the personalized, conversational interaction that it affords. As brands are connecting through mobile apps and Web sites with their customers, they need to think about enabling this type of conversational interaction through these channels to truly connect with their audience and meet their expectations. We’ve already seen companies like USAA, US Bank, Windstream, Jetstar and Coca-Cola change how they are having conversations with their audiences, and in all cases, it’s led to improved engagement, and increased customer satisfaction.

Many organizations have invested heavily over past decades to attract baby boomers.  Nobody will blame them for doing that. After all, this generation currently holds approximately three quarters of America’s wealth! However, Millennials are now in their productive years, generating wealth, and establishing relationships with financial institutions, telecom providers, etc. These young adults are signing their first mortgages and purchasing new cars; now there is a window of opportunity to attract these young consumers and establish loyalty. Again, though, it’s important to not only know what to say, but HOW to say it.

To learn more about how virtual assistants can help to change the conversation with your customers, you can have a look at the following white paper (found
under the resources tab ) “Driving Loyalty and New Customer Acquisition with a Virtual Assistant”

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Brett Beranek

About Brett Beranek

Like you, CX and biometrics expert Brett Beranek – Director Product Strategy, Enterprise – is fascinated by transformative technologies that have a real impact on our lives. With over fifteen years of experience in the customer experience and biometrics space, Brett brings strategic and tactical insights to organizations wishing to deliver a better experience to their customers via innovative security technologies. Prior to joining Nuance, Brett a technologist and entrepreneur by education and passion, successfully introduced several disruptive technologies to the health-care, IT and security markets, including as a partner of facial recognition firm Viion Systems and member of Genetec’s management team, a security firm that transformed the video surveillance market. Brett also currently serves on the advisory board of high-tech healthcare startup GaitTronics. Brett earned a Bachelor of Commerce, Information Systems Major, from McGill University as well as an Executive Marketing certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. Brett loves travelling the globe and discovering new cultures with his three kids, Layla, Rayan and Nora and his wife, Tania.