What happens when millennials — who are poised to be the largest spending generation in history — are faced with a global pandemic and skyrocketing unemployment rates? More than half of millennials admitted the outbreak of Covid-19 has affected their spending decisions. Even before the pandemic hit, millennials were known for their mindful spending habits. Now, they are challenging companies to not only be progressive in their values and branding but also to be “essential” to make their spending cut.
As social distancing and stay-at-home orders emerged, millennials have had ample time to reflect on what is actually important to them, with many millennial-focused companies falling out of favor. Other companies, however, have adapted to the current mindset, forging new and/or stronger emotional connections with millennial consumers. Here are four LA-based companies that I believe have successfully (and creatively) adapted in order to serve millennials amid the pandemic:
Trinity Packaging Supply
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, Trinity Packaging Supply’s retail clients were closing temporarily or permanently. However, due to delays in the global supply chain, the CEO was approached by B2B clients to help source hand sanitizer and PPE products. The company had the capability to produce FDA-approved hand sanitizer in-house while maintaining complete control of the entire supply chain. It is now producing more than 150,000 bottles daily. Trinity also recently expanded its operations to make its sanitizer available to the public. This has placed it in a unique position to meet both the growing demand and high-quality standards of the millennial generation.
Key takeaway: In listening to your clients’ key pain points, you can adapt your business model to develop products your customers actually need, and in doing so, create a whole new customer base. Being nimble and staying at the forefront of customer needs is essential, especially during these unpredictable times.
One of our clients, CropSwap, makes fresh, local produce convenient and customizable through a disruptive app. Partnering with popular LA growers, the company recently launched its new subscription service called CropBox, which allows customers to receive an assortment of boxes filled with their own selection of fresh local produce and more. Customers can then choose to pick them up locally or have them delivered. This endeavor has also been a pivot for many local farms and growers who haven’t been able to sell to restaurants due to mandated closures. Additionally, since recent civil rights events have shed light on issues of food security and inequity in LA’s communities of color, CropSwap also added a donation button to the app that enables people to donate boxes of organic produce directly to local families in need.
Key takeaway: A deep understanding of your audience is crucial to surviving, if not thriving, during the pandemic. CropSwap tapped into its extensive knowledge of the farming community to deliver a product that makes an impact where it matters most. Through relationships with key partners, you could also identify major challenges brought on by the pandemic and offer a quick solution.
Lovebug & Me Music
With schools, parks and day cares closed and playdates on pause for an undetermined amount of time, millennial-aged parents are faced with the responsibility of schooling and entertaining their children at home. Lovebug & Me Music, which normally provides interactive and enriching children’s music classes and parties at various locations throughout the LA area, pivoted to an online model that allows parents and children to partake in its musical series via Zoom. Musical educators teach the classes live, allowing children to sing along and even socialize with one another while safely at home. In an effort to address the economic uncertainty of these times, Lovebug & Me Music has also added virtual Sunday community classes.
Key takeaway: In this “new normal,” businesses that previously relied on in-person services must think of virtual offerings as a long-term part of their business and marketing strategy — not just a temporary fix while social distancing guidelines are in place. For Lovebug & Me Music, this meant reimagining their in-person music classes for a virtual setting while retaining a sense of community for parents and children.
Hedley & Bennett
In the wake of Covid-19, Hedley & Bennett, a company that has made its name handcrafting aprons using top-grade materials, recently transitioned its manufacturing operations to produce face masks to help prevent the spread of the virus. And, keeping in line with millennials’ conscientious buying habits, every mask purchased supports their efforts to donate more masks to the doctors, nurses, first responders, food services workers and all other essential workers putting their health on the line each day. Already, the LA-based company has donated more than 200,000 masks.
Key takeaway: In pivoting its business to produce masks, the company restructured key parts of its business to ensure it could keep up with demand. For you, this could mean consolidating specific departments while expanding others to stay afloat — a difficult decision for companies both big and small. However, by accepting the reality of the pandemic and challenges on the road ahead, you can anticipate potential fallouts and take the necessary steps to adapt quickly.