Millennials say they exclusively use their favorite brand. Brand favorites are like BFFs. Similar to the way they choose friends -- by appearance and ultimately behavior -- Millennials seek qualities and actions from brands that align with their individual interests and principles. They stand by their favorite brands and even advocate for them. In turn, they believe favorites should empathize with their daily challenges in the same way a close friend does.
The number of brands that Millennials specify as favorites is fragmented (219 Millennials cited 70 brands in a recent study). Many familiar names are among the top 10 favorites: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nike, Google, Sony, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Forever 21, Hollister, Nintendo, and Target. Mentioned by 26% of respondents, Apple is by far the ultimate favorite. In comparison, the next four brands combined are cited by 23% of respondents. Lessons on favorite brands indicate that marketers need to focus on shared benefits and reciprocity as much as dialoguing and collaboration. Whether they are household names or niche brands, favorite brands demonstrate we are entering the age of the Mutual Economy, where brand development strategies will center more and more on nurturing intimacy and good citizenship, all with the aim of cultivating deep loyalty -- in another word, faithfulness.
So how can marketers create faithfulness? Here are some helpful tips based on what Millennials have told us.
1. Identify with what matters most
Mirror your target consumers' personal values, understand their lifestyles, and relate to the things that are important to them.
2. Be versatile
In a more superficial, complex, and uncertain world favorite brands provide a sense of continuity, closeness, and completeness. Trusted brands help users seamlessly accomplish a range of tasks throughout the day.
3. Inspire the senses
Favorite brands have a beauty and aesthetic reminiscent of a piece of artwork or architecture -- qualities that help users feel pride and drive advocacy.
4. Have a meaningful back story
Favorite brands have a history, regardless of whether it’s an old one or not. They credibly mash up different influences to create a cultural legacy.
5. Make the mundane interesting
Favorite brands make the mundane aspects of daily life interesting; they motivate and enable users to be creative, curious, collaborative, and productive.
6. Know what you’re really about
Favorite brands have a deep self-awareness. They understand what they are about -- what’s up for grabs versus sacrosanct, and which attributes can credibly evolve with the Zeitgeist.
7. Connect sincerely
Favorite brands match promises and ideals with the actual product, service delivery, and brand experience.
8. Esteem the individual
Favorite brands strongly value consumers as people first. They create personal experiences that satisfy the need to be acknowledged, individuated, and made to feel special.
9. Relate as a peer
Create appeal through communications that are straightforward and professional and simultaneously playful or humorous.
10. Contribute to something meaningful
Mirror target audiences’ social beliefs and sense of responsibility toward community, society, and the planet. Favorite brands advocate for causes that impact Millennials’ daily lives.
Because favorite brands help them feel connected, influential, and productive, Millennials instinctively covet and protect them. Clearly, cultivating faithfulness is a relevant orientation for marketing and communication teams to now rally behind.