Gen X and Gen Y consumers want similar -- and different -- things from the brands they buy. While members of the both demographics value brands that have the qualities of best friends, members of Gen Y place a higher value on brands that are seen as buzzy category leaders.
According to GfK's Brand Benchmark study, which assessed consumer relationships across products and services in 48 categories via more than 17,000 online surveys, members of Generation X placed a high value on pragmatic solutions, seeking out products that help them get things done faster. More than 90% of Gen X consumers equate product quality with value.
Conversely, members of Generation Y put a higher premium on brands that are perceived as being higher-quality, unique and more visible than other brands. They also should have significant buzz.
Those different relationships yield different market results. Brands that have the so-called “Best Friend” relationship (the one coveted by Gen X) with consumers command a higher share of wallet, more positive word of mouth and more recommendations than those with lower “Best Friend” ratings. Those with “Star” or “Guru” relationships (such as those valued by Gen Y) can command higher price premiums.
“It is essential for brands to create positive and memorable experiences to build strong consumer-brand relationships," Jo-Ann Osipow, EVP of GfK's brand and customer experience team, tells Marketing Daily. “Bolstering a brand's reputation as having the qualities of a true friend -- with a clear understanding of customers' needs and a presence in their social world -- can be a win-win for both marketer and consumer.”