How millennials connect with brands

The generation born between the years 1980 and 1995 (often known as Generation Y or Millennials) has been the subject of an ongoing global benchmarking survey by Edelsman Insights.  The survey, called 8095, explores the shifting priorities and requirements of Gen Y and seeks to understand their attitudes to, and relationships with, brands.Millennials are the largest generation alive today and will form 75% of the working population by the year 2025.   They are a diverse and educated generation, carrying student debt burdens and not automatically destined to be more prosperous than their parents. They are also suffering at the hands of the global economic downturn, experiencing poor job prospects.  They do however have aspirations - 48% of them hope to own their own businesses.  They are also engaging with brands and products in new and immersive ways.In the latest report, the researchers have surveyed 4000 millennials in 11 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Turkey, UAE, UK, US) and have some interesting insights.

  • Millennials are delaying purchases and demanding new levels of value from the products they purchase
  • Brand preference is the number one ‘personal identifier' they are willing to share online
  • They see brands as a partnership and a form of self expression
  • When making purchasing decisions:
    • 94% seek guidance from at least one external source
    • 51%  consult four or more sources
    • After an internet search, millennials are most likely to refer to friends and family for advice and recommendations
  • 74% of them say they influence the purchasing decisions of other generations - including their parents
  • 70% of them feel it is their responsibility to share feedback - positive and negative - with companies
  • 80% want brands to entertain them
    • They are also open to brands becoming involved in other aspects of their lives and helping them with life goals e.g. offering ‘life experiences' (trips/lessons) or mentorship
  • 40% want to participate in co-creation with brands
  • 33% want real time social media interaction
Above all, millennials want authenticity from the brands with which they engage.The report says that brands need to become more agile and collaborative.  They can capture the imagination of millennials through humour, a highly visible social media presence, by having a reputation as a great employer and having ‘a good purpose'.  Most importantly, millennials feel a sense of co-ownership towards brands and products and companies will do well to remember that the brand no longer ‘belongs to them' but to its customers, potential customers, employees and other stakeholders.