Gregg L. Witt

Truth One: Build A Product & Brand That Matters To Young People

5 Truth Strategies: Truth 1 – Identity

What Brands Can Learn From The Dairy Industries’ Struggle To Increase Milk Consumption.

Problem Synopsis:

The dairy industry is struggling with a continuous decrease in milk consumption since 1945, especially among young people with changing preferences and habits toward dairy products. This poses a significant challenge that requires finding effective ways to engage and appeal to this demographic.

Latest Dairy Industry Strategy: The Milk Processor Education Program, the industry’s marketing and education arm, is targeting milk-averse Generation Z with a new statement: “Gonna Need Milk.”

Milk consumption has steadily declined since World War II, and now, the industry is using gamers and social media influencers to reposition milk as a sports drink. The industry is pitching milk as the OG sports drink, as chocolate milk has been shown to help athletes recover after a workout. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Kim Severson, a national food correspondent for The New York Times, who believes that milk consumption is a problem because of cultural, social, and animal rights issues.

The Milk Problem:

“It’s cultural. It’s social. It’s about animal rights…So, milk has had a lot of competition. Water has actually been a big competitor for milk for this generation. It’s quite a dilemma for Big Milk.” – Kim Severson

“But I think the thing that may ultimately save milk is just the contrarian nature of young people. So it’s not going to be too long until someone decides that actually, drinking milk is cool. There’s a little bit of, I don’t know, “milk core,” this idea that people are more interested in farming, the flip phone, and mending their own clothes. There’s a whole kind of vibe around that. And I think that milk core could ultimately save milk.” – Kim Severson.

Strategic POV: An Open Letter To The Dairy Folks

The Milk Industry Problem

Image courtesy of Gonna Need Milk

Listen up, dairy industry pros, Young people these days are smarter than ever before and can see through deceptive marketing tactics. It’s time to face the truth: our bodies do NOT “need” milk.

But no need for despair, because there is hope. While young people may not be chugging glasses of milk like they used to, they still have a love for dairy in other forms. Yogurt, cheese, and even whole milk in lattes are all still highly coveted.

As for the claim that milk is the “OG energy drink,” well, let’s just say no. Coffee beat Milk to the punch and Mountain Dew stole the trophy. The likelihood of young people buying into Milk as the original energy drink is, well, nonsense.

So, dairy industry leaders, it is time to face the reality. Young people are not falling for the BS anymore, but that does not mean they do not appreciate the deliciousness that dairy has to offer. Just stop trying to sell a product on false narratives, and people will happily keep enjoying their yogurt, cheese, and lattes.

Solution: What Can Brands Learn From The Dairy Industry?

  • Develop a product that resonates with the values and lifestyles of today’s youth.
  • Adapt to evolving consumer needs by continuously innovating and diversifying your product offerings.
  • Establish authentic brand messaging through compelling storytelling that reflects your ability to deliver on your promises.
  • Influential creators are not going to help you solve the problem with advertising alone, co-create with them to effectively implement numbers 1-3 above
  • Content /storeis based on brand narratives and cultral connections, make trends hi jacking a ….secondary, hoping
  • Making something “cool” be something cool

Self-Audit: How Well-Positioned Is Your Product & Brand to Resonate with Today’s Young Consumers?

Give each question a “NO”, “YEAH” or “HELL YEAH” and write it down. NO = 0 points, YEAH = 5 points, and HELL YEAH = 10 points.

  1. Does your company have a comprehensive understanding of its target audience and their preferences?
  2. Has your brand implemented innovative strategies to engage with young people and address changing consumer habits?
  3. Has your team invested in research and development to create new products that appeal to young people?
  4. Does your brand prioritize creating original and compelling brand narratives to make cultural connections over trend hijacking?

If you scored 25 points or more you are on the right path 🏆

Seeking to optimize your brand’s youth or niche segment performance? Contact us for a personalized audit, workshop, or speaking engagement.

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