As a b-boomer I have a lot to learn much about Millennials, their insights and buying power. Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 2000 (although years vary over different resources). They are engaged online more than any generation and have changed our ways of messaging. They are driving collaborative consumption in that they want involvement in new products, but not always from the ground up; they’ll leave it to someone else to design as long as their input is considered.

Two thirds of Millennials firmly believe they will become famous. They thrive in hives, building communities around friends who think and live within similarities. They’re adept at projecting marketing messages and can detect bullshit. They possess nearly a trillion dollars in spending power.

Millennials also like firsts. They want to be firsts at anything, they want to see firsts in online content. Chevy took that cue to develop their campaign, which shows their cars skydiving, bungee jumping, doing other stunts. The online campaign was up for five months, with cars selling out. Enjoy the ride.

Chevy teamed up with MTV/Scratch to re-imagine the automotive experience from concepts to ownership and recently put young buyers in charge of product planning through two concept coupes. Taking a cue from the software industry, the Chevrolet concepts serve as prototypes to start a discussion, to iterate and co-create the future of transportation. In order to do so, they crowdsourced students from UCLA, Pepperdyne and high schools to find out what they want in a car. The findings shows that youth want total connectivity in an automobile, low cost, high performance, 2-door with 4 seats. These concept cars are two interpretations of the results. Which would be yours?   

The sessions targeted to youth over the last four days really illustrate how messaging has changed and will continue to evolve in order to engage and mesmerize this highly intelligent, independent segment of the market who know what they want.  These peeps are smart and the challenge to provide them with unmatched user experiences lies ahead.

Look back at this past week’s Super Tuesday. With all the news surrounding the Republican playing field, talk of sex, lies and budget and who’s taking which ten states — Obama decides to have his first press conference in six months. Guess what steals the show. Rewind to Obama’s prior trip to Australia. In the midst of all press surrounding his trip, a company publicizes free crocodile insurance for Mr. President, a story which results in 4,969 media hits. Also in recent news recall the fire that broke out on Richard Branson’s private island property, where Kate Winslet, (physically) strong woman she is, carried out Branson’s beloved mother to save her from the fire. The London fire brigade then launches a real time blog, offering Kate fire rescue training, along with rescue tips of their own, which results in 1,787 media hits.

Call these efforts newsjacking at its finest: Injecting your ideas or putting a spin to your brand into breaking news, in real-time blogging, to generate media coverage for yourself or your brand. In order to do this we must change what we’ve learned to garner attention, but it is challenging to go beyond the traditional mindset. On the web, you are what you publish. Companies are fearful by not first running things by their attorneys, and secondly they want to know and understand the ROI of engagement. In order to be successful, speed is required with instant reaction in the marketplace. Companies need to focus on something really interesting going on, and from there surround it with your ideas. So few companies are able to hit at the right moment — campaigns are generated from last year’s data, all based on long term planning. They forget about the NOW moment and the short windows of opportunity.

Companies with measured success often set up a war room with real time news feed so they are prepared to strike when the fire is hot.  We have opportunities ahead to set our clients and our business in the midst of newsbreaking events.  Even the speaker, David Meerman Scott, is planning his next newsjacking effort and wants your ideas.  Keyword is Marley, but that’s all I can say.

Packed crowd for good speaker and subject of Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale, tells his life story and experiences of 40 years ago with tie-in to current day identity theft.
*No one in China is masterminding a grand theft of your credit card. Cases usually begin with someone in the company opening the door for that proliferator – someone who opens an email they shouldn’t, launches a website they shouldn’t despite best CIO cautions.
*It is 4,000 times easier today than in his day to steal someone’s identity due to technology and online access of data.
*Using your credit card puts the risk on AmEx not you. Using your debit card only gives someone access to your bank account.
*Provide your children with a supplemental credit card; the bill comes to you while it builds credit score for them (when debit cards for the kiddos do not). They can still pay you (or not) and this teaches them accountability.
*Parents want 16 years olds to be adults. They are not. Sixteen year olds are kids. Abagnale’s actions at age 16 gave him no pause to think about what he was doing.
*Would he do it again? “No, it was a lonely place.”
*FB: Be wary of information put out there. Once someone has your place of birth, your date of birth, and a full front photo, identity theft is a cinch.

Want to talk to Frank?