Making up 25 percent of thepopulation, the millennial generation is three times larger than Gen X and alarger group than baby boomers. According to Forbes magazine, they spend $200 billion on an annual basis—and they’re changingthe entire face of marketing.
Fast Company reports that millennials are expected to control $24 trillion in wealth by 2020. “As millennials demand more meaning from companies,” says Fast Company, “brands need valuable messaging to connect with young adult consumers.”
While much has been written about the millennial consumer who doesn’t respond to advertising and who often avoids established brands, Fortune magazine reports that some companies have successfully captured the millennial market.
In a measure of the average millennial’s emotional attachment to brands, Apple reigns supreme. Apple ranked first among young adults, and 87 percent said their smartphone never leaves their side. The oldest millennials were entering their formative years when the iPhone debuted in 2007.
The study, conducted by brand consultancy firm MBLM, weighs the various factors that affect the emotional connections brands build with their customers. The level of intimacy a brand builds with its customers is key to shaping the customers’ perceptions of what the brand stands for.
According to MBLM’s 2018 study of the most intimate brands, Disney ranked second among millennials and YouTube ranked third.
“We were surprised and pleased to see YouTube as an addition to the top-three most intimate brands for millennials this year,” says Mario Natarelli, managing partner of MBLM. “We believe its rise is due to our culture’s continued need for escape and the brand’s immediate, diverse content, personalities and growing offerings in movies and live TV. YouTube is clearly an established ritual in the lives of many millennials today.”
Another recent study from Defy showed that 85 percent of their millennial respondents regularly watch YouTube.
Other brands that round out the MBLM top 10 are: Target, Amazon, Nintendo, Google, Xbox, Netflix and Whole Foods.
Ages 18–24 yielded a different mix of top companies. The MBLM top 10 for the college-age group in 2018 are: Apple, Amazon, YouTube, PlayStation, Starbucks, Nintendo, Google, Netflix, Coca Cola and Walmart.
Also in a recent study, the McCarthy Group reported that 47 percent of millennials state the Internet is the one thing they cannot live without. In addition to locating information, they use social media to discover how brands are promoting themselves and, most importantly, who is promoting and recommending those brands.
According to Jim Kreyenhagen, the vice president of Marketing and Consumer Services for doxo, millennials value flexibility, accessibility and usefulness. “At home, they’re community-focused and socially responsible,” says Kreyenhagen. “Millennials also value word-of-mouth far more than the usual approaches to branding and marketing.” For this reason, Kreyenhagen says, companies with a savvy use of social media are at an advantage in reaching millennials, as this helps to increase the company or brand’s visibility while also satisfying the millennial need for more personal recommendations from friends, family, co-workers and more.