The Millennial 20/20 Summit held their inaugural New York City-based summit on March 1st and 2nd, showcasing a host of business luminaries whose Millennial consumer require them to be highly innovation-focused. Naturally, Firebrand Group was in attendance (Jeremy’s working on a few follow-up Inc. pieces for his innovation column) to chat with some of thought leaders present and to enjoy the mix of panels on Millennial innovation and evolution. The Millennial 20/20 Summit was brimming with talent and immersive panels to educate industry insiders, so it is a bit hard to choose our favorites, though I did witness several talents that truly delivered in Millennial education and how to best cater to such a fickle generation.


H&M Foundation

First up, Stockholm’s monolith of a retailer, H&M presented the H&M Foundation and its goal to introduce circular fashion (we’ll explain what that is a moment.) One could ask what this circular fashion have to do with Millennials. The answer, of course, is that it starts of with awareness. H&M has drilled down to a science what it is their Millennial consumer cares about. They’re not brand loyal, they won’t to participate in a greater cause, are plagued by multiple choices, skeptic to commercial audiences and believe in the power of their opinions. Diana Amini, the Global Manager of the H&M foundation, explained thow this research became the catalyst for the H&M Foundation. But this scope stretches beyond consumers as 80-85% of H&M global employees are Millennials as well.

The H&M Foundation works to provide circular fashion — recyclable, reusable garments to absorb some of the weight of fabric waste on this planet. Their job is to simply “drive to create a positive change.” In doing so, the foundation has created the Global Change Award which challenges consumers of all ages to create a science/fashion innovation that could positively effect the fashion industry. One applicant & winner designed a solution to make polyester, the world’s most used fabric, reusable.  The H&M Foundation is employing everyone not just its consumers to be the change the want to see in the world.



Known as the consumer beauty subscription model of choice, Birchbox had a lot to say about digitally marketing and maintaining the Birchbox customer. Katia Beauchamp, CEO and co-founder of Birchbox lead her session on “how transforming what we buy and howe buy.” Birchbox had a niche positioning in the market. In 2010 only 2% of beauty was sold online — 2% and remained  flat not moving. The subscription model is the bread and better of Birchbox. Beauchamp quotes their model as a “Try, Learn & Buy” practice, and clearly it’s worked for them. Knowing most consumers won’t purchase prestige beauty brands without trying them, Birchbox has used the lure of the subscription to attract their customers. Birchbox may not have invented it, but now, Paid sampling has become the fastest growing consumer web category.

Another fascinating note of Birchbox’s success is through a market study they observed their consumers proportionally represented the 80% of consumers who aren’t obsessed with beauty. These consumers have a casual relationship with beauty; identifying this niche has led to 4 million consumers to date, Birchbox reached their five year revenue goal in seven months.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing reveals was how Birchbox uses it’s subscription sampling platform as a consumer acquisition tool to invest in larger, full-scaled beauty product lines.


Other Highlights

The conference’s other panels were chalked with incredible learnings. Moleskin presented the importance of physical items in a digital world, helping their consumers engage on and offline, while Mailchimp discussed the innovation and simplicity of email marketing. Warby Parker’s CEO’s Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa presented on driving brand credibility and social impact in the millennial age.

Sad you missed out on the fun? Well the Millennial 20/20 conference hits London and Singapore later in the year. For more details check them out here.