With the rapid ascension of social media and its eventual monetization through advertising, much has been made of the importance of social media marketing, strategy, and proper tactics. But Curt Cuscino, Founder of HypeLife Brands, was quick to point out during the interview that while employing a sound social media engagement strategy is important, it's secondary to brand and the principles that serve as the foundation for that brand. "It's more than that, even," adds Cuscino. "Millennials must believe that your brand shares its values, that the things that define your brand's heart and core are honest and true.
"The key here is honesty. If Millennials believe in you, in your brand, then and only then can those social media strategies begin to pay off."
Key to understanding Cuscino's reasoning is first understanding the mindset of Millennials, the group most coveted by advertisers of all shapes and sizes. This is a demographic that values passion, hard work, honesty and transparency – and it actively seeks these traits in the brands they choose to support. And there is perhaps no more organic process of brand support than social media, where Millennials can directly engage with their favorite brands, where a filtered photo of a brand's product or a mention on Twitter can actually serve as an extension of that particular user's persona.
The most engaged people on social media are telling a story about who they are through images or 140-character bursts of thought, and to let a brand's story seep into their own is a point of pride for Millennials. "They're proud to be associated with that brand in some way," says Cuscino. "That's the ultimate goal for a brand. To build a foundation that's so strong, one that Millennials believe in and champion so passionately, that they take to social media to tell others about it.
"Building a cohesive and consistent social media strategy is incredibly important, and it will go a long way to supporting a well-conceived brand. But at most, it's there to support. The focus, first and foremost, is the brand and the values that give it a heart."
HypeLife Brands is a leading brand development + precision marketing agency dedicated to helping brands engage the Millennial generation. HypeLife serves a select roster of clients across the U.S. with a focus on disruptive lifestyle brands and start-ups in industries such as surf, apparel, insurance, film & entertainment, and world-changers.
Founded in 2001, the agency is headquartered in coastally-located Oceanside, California's Downtown Arts District.
Learn more about HypeLife Brands and their laser-focus on Millennial Marketing at HypeLifeBrands.com.