And regardless of the down economy, millennials are as
optimistic as they are ambitious, something which goes for both
genders. A 2010 study by the Pew Research Center found that even
among unemployed millennials, an overwhelming 89% believe they'll
have enough money in the future. This optimism allows them to take
risks. While many would say that lean times require hunkering down
or settling, today's young men couldn't disagree more. Instead they
are going all out and swinging for the fences. It may sound like a
foolish approach, but consider Steve Jobs' parting words to
Stanford's class of 2005: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." Insofar as
it means chasing a big dream any way you can, foolish is OK.
To effectively market to men, marketers need to understand both
their aspirations and what inspires them. Today's men admire those,
like Jobs, who break the mold; who see the risks and take them
anyway, achieving success on their own individual terms. And this
admiration leads to strong brand identification that companies such
as Apple have seized
upon in their advertising. The message is clear: "I'm young. I'm
creative." In other words: "I'm a Mac." It seems to be working.
According to a new study by global brands agency Millward Brown, in
2011 Apple leapfrogged Google to become the world's most valuable
Of course, people are willing to pay more for Apple products
both because they identify with the brand and because of the high
quality of the product. Confident of their eventual success, men
are eager to invest in quality from the start, and smart brands
have adapted to these shifting tastes. A good example is Samsonite,
which went from marketing itself simply as durable luggage in the
'70s to targeting today's big-dreaming male consumer by offering
both ruggedness and refinement, with stylish products fit for the
man he wants to be.
It all comes back to freedom -- freedom to be what you want and
buy what you want. And in anticipation of that freedom, men are
exercising their purchasing power in an increasingly aspirational
way. They are becoming more quality-conscious and aiming for the
best in every area of life.
Marketers would do well to take notice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ricardo Poupada is
general manager and co-founder of AskMen, the world's largest
lifestyle website for men. For more insights into manhood, visit
AskMen's new data-driven site at greatmalesurvey.com.