There are approximately two billion millennials around the world. In the United States alone, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in June 2015 that there are 83.1 million millennials and 74.5 million baby boomers. Millennials are considered to be the largest and most diverse generation in the U.S.

This distinctive demographic is described as the “digital generation” and THE next “must have customer.” Without a doubt, these consumers have incredibly strong purchase power and can help make or break a brand.

The million-dollar question – How to best reach, engage and stay connected with this target audience for the long term? There have been countless columns on best practices. Here is our thinking at CGPR:

Market “With”, Not At Millennials: Market with millennials, rather than to them. Companies want these confident consumers to be evangelical brand ambassadors, but this must happen organically for success. Dont talk at them. Millennials want to be involved, participate and call the shots.

A recent example of a millennial campaign that generated many kudos is Dollar Shave Club. In a recent product launch, they curated a 94-second video on YouTube that was entertaining, engaging, and humorous. The social marketing campaign won over millennials and the initiative earned the company 12,000 new customers the first two days its online store opened.

Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades Are F***ing Great

Go Where They Go: Find out where millennials go for their content and go there immediately, whether it is Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or another online communication community. Brands should first do their homework, as social media platforms that engage millennials require commitment. Also keep in mind that this is time consuming and a 24/7 effort.

Be Personal: Brands must get to know millennials on a personal level and incorporate personally relatable content into their marketing strategies. Coca-Cola launched the “Share a Coke” campaign in 2014 in the U.S. to engage consumers to use the hashtag #shareacoke on social media. The campaign put 250 of the most popular names among millennials, such as Ashley, Jenna and Mike, on 20-ounce bottles. The personalization also went beyond names and included popular terms used by the millennial demographic such as bestie and wingman. As a result, over 650,000 users incorporated the hashtag on their posts to Instagram. Coca-Cola was able to reach members of their target audience that they might not have reached without millennials sharing the hashtag with their personal connections.

Share a Coke

Be Authentic: Millennials are interested in brands being true to who they are. They want brands to be honest about their products and services. Holding real and personal conversations with fans is a thoughtful way for brands to show their authentic side. McDonalds is one example of a company that increased brand trust by using authenticity. McDonalds Canada created a Q&A campaign called “Our Food, Your Questions” to invite consumers to ask questions and their food and company. McDonalds U.S. had equal success when they decided to implement the campaign. With help from the TV show, MythBusters, McDonalds U.S. used TV commercials and webisode videos (short online-only TV shows) showing real peoples questions and McDonalds answers. Their webisode “What are McDonalds USA fries made of?” received over 7.2 million views. By listening and responding to consumers, McDonalds was able to help establish brand authenticity and transparency.

Canadian Farmers

Use Humor: Brands must use humor, but they also need to make sure that what they think is funny is also funny to their target audience. Funny tweets and entertaining Snapchats grab millennials attention. Old Spice is an example of a brand that used humor in their marketing campaign, and it worked. Their campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” that went viral five years ago still remains memorable for its humor. More recently, Old Spice launched another successful campaign called “Make a Smellmitment,” which received 11.6 million view on YouTube. Old Spice was able to reposition itself and become popular among young male millennials and addressing its reputation of being outdated. Old Spice continues to post humorous tweets and also incorporates funny YouTube videos and Vines to keep millennials entertained.

Engage/Respond Quickly: Millennials tend to be more loyal to brands that respond quickly. Brands should carefully watch their fans/followers’ social media posts, be involved and stay connected. Taco Bell, for example, quickly engages and responds with their followers on social media platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Taco Bell is constantly retweeting their fans tweets, which makes millennials feel important and recognized.

To win the attention (and dollars) of millennials, brands must understand that this demographic has a different way of thinking and understanding. Marketers should remember these tips in order for their next marketing campaign to be successful and effective in winning millennials.