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“Millennial Brand Loyalty” As more marketers have focused on the Millennial Generation with efforts focused on capturing this cohort’s attentions and loyalty, major budgets are being planned in the mistaken belief that Millennials are less brand loyal than other age cohorts, and require additional attention to create brand preference. A recent assessment of 12,300 Millennial consumers in 63 categories proves that emotional values and higher expectations not only play a greater part in the Millennial decision-process, but that a brand’s ability to deliver on required emotional values trumps rational ones every time. It turns out that the loyalty bonds created by doing so for Millennials are stronger than those of other age groups. In 1985, when the first of what was christened the “Millennial Generation” were about five years old, the purchase-decision process was more rational than it was emotional, calculated to be a ratio of 70:30. That meant rational values having to do pricing, product quality, numbers of distribution points, and advertising tonnage, were more important, more leveragable, and more differentiating to consumers than emotional values. In 2000, the ratio shifted to 65:35, emotional to rational. Five years later, the ratio reversed the 1985 numbers, this time 70:30, but with the preponderance of the decision process turning emotional. This year, – as the first Millennials turn 35 – the decision process is decidedly more emotional at a category-generalized ratio of 80:20. Emotional values like customization, meeting personal emotive needs, the ability to meaningfully “talk” to the brand that actually “listened,” and a sense of authenticity became more important in the brand bonding decision-process as consumers had more access to the Internet and lived hot-wired mobile devices and, consequently, more and more empowered. Millennials are demanding real reasons to be loyal. Complicating marketing efforts, overall, cross-category expectations (examined by generational cohort and indexed versus a benchmark of 100 to provide comparability) showed Millennials to hold significantly higher expectations regarding categories and brands than any other age group as well. One thing that crosses all generational cohorts as regards brand loyalty and engagement is that brands best able to meet the consumers’ expectations for the values – particularly emotional values – that drive the category are always the brands that show up on the top of consumers’ shopping lists. A review of the Millennial loyalty leaders in the 63 categories included in this analysis revealed that 91% of them were the category’s leaders. These included huge brands such as Apple, Nike, Chipotle, and Old Navy. Ultimately, brands that are able to stand for the right emotional values, maintain relevance, and better meet Millennials’ expectations have shown higher levels of positive consumer behavior in the market place and higher loyalty levels than any other generational cohort. The secret, of course, is identifying and measuring what expectations Millennials hold for which emotional values and then planning how to communicate them to consumers in an engaging manner. Unfortunately, that’s a more complex process than just adding more social networking or more storytelling to the marketing budget. SSE This article first appeared on loyalty360.org. It’s NOT just an Oxymoron By Robert Passikoff Robert Passikoff, Brand Key’s founder and president, has pioneered work in the area of loyalty and engagement, creating the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the Sports Fan Loyalty Indexâ, and the Women’s Wear Daily Fashion Brand Engagement Indexâ. Connect Robert Passikoff Would like to Comment? Please Click Here. 22 Submit your Articles Sales and Service Excellence Essentials presented by HR.com | 12.2015


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