5 years ago

Friendship Defines Top 50 Millennial Brand Ranking Report

By Norty Cohen

Just in time for 2015 planning season, Moose is releasing the Top 50 Millennial Brand Ranking Report. The context of planning – even the word “strategy” – links back to military terms. Concepts like SWOT analysis, mission statements, briefings, implementation, business units, benchmarking and execution are mainstays in popular marketing vernacular. But planning for next year needs to change. We are continuing to learn more about our most influential, digitally native consumer group, and we’re finding the results to be both enlightening and actionable. One thing we know for sure? A militaristic approach to marketing will turn them off. To put the subject in context, Millennials represent the rolling 20-year age group, who in a few months will be 14-35. To learn more about them, Moose has engaged in several studies over the past nine months. Our initial studies found that these consumers have a tremendous amount of self-confidence, high self image, a love for technology and an insatiable need to seek  information – primarily on their phone. We learned that they will adopt brands – and that up to 40 percent will opt-in for emails if they like you. The channels of communication can open easily, and our data identifies which digital media is most likely to be adopted by category. The engagement leader is the entertainment category, then retail/clothing, followed closely by consumer packaged goods. The big reveal though is that twice in a nine-month span we have asked 1,500 consumers to identify their three favorite brands. Our first list of favorite brands had 620 answers, and we isolated the top 50. Just weeks ago, we asked the question again, and 32 of 50 brands were repeats. However, 18 new brands edged their way onto the top 50 list. From here, we came up with two conclusions:

  1. When it comes down to it, Millennials are looking for specific benefits from brands.
    • Make me look good.
    • Make me feel good.
    • Entertain me — the top 32 brands can bank on that.
  2. The newcomers did something to make the jump. What was it?

Well, here’s what we found. Brands like Macy’s and Ralph Lauren were extremely active, personally targeting and connecting with Millennials. Ralph Lauren created their own line, targeting Millennials – and they partnered with Macy’s to use predictive analytics to personalize the connection. Wendy’s did their interactive pretzel bun TV spot – where consumers sent in tweets to be featured on the commercial. Oreo created a special dunking app, was highly involved in connective conversations and just had fun with these new “friends.”

Is it marketing or friendship? We think it’s the latter.

As we look at the study and understand where it’s going by category, we can tell you the common denominator is tonality. So Millennials are not consumers and especially not targets in a military-style marketing blitz – they’re friends. We trust friends who listen to us, are open and honest, remember our name, are consistent and stay true to themselves.  That’s the plan for 2015. Do that. We believe we can learn a lot from what’s working – and understand what the top brands in each category are doing to win. Two things are for sure – it’s not a one-way conversation and it’s not phony. How we go to market will change forever because these new friends will hold us to this standard. They market themselves as brands. They do their own analytics. And the B.S. filter – well let’s just say, it’s always on. Find out which brands cracked the top 50 and how they did it in our most recent Millennial study.

We're ready when you are.