This post is written by Arathi Menon, Senior Account Executive for Edelman in Bangalore, Millennial and part of the Edelman 8095 global liaison network.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Sushmita, a 26-year-old working professional here in Bangalore. When I asked her how she defines “a brand,” she said, “A good brand is one that reads my mind- one that talks to me personally, caters to my likes and dislikes. A bad brand is here today, gone tomorrow.” When I asked her what advice she would share with companies who want to reach her and her friends, she said, “If you’re as good as you claim, we will buy your brand. You don’t have to bend over backwards trying to sell it.” Taking this a bit further, a Millennial in the States told us, “Focus on making an excellent product. If you do so then all of your marketing will be true… and most of the marketing will be done by us.”
While we are stereotyped as a generation with no real sense of brand loyalty, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, we are extremely brand conscious and brand loyal. Brands can have an aspirational value that we work to obtain. They can reflect our sense of style or personality. It is a sense of loyalty that drives me to buy my favorite pair of expensive jeans instead of opting for the local brand that’s on sale. My sister, a Gen Xer, doesn’t “get what all of the fuss is about.” But for me and my friends, whether it’s something as simple as shampoo or something as shiny as a smart phone, we go to great lengths to learn about the product, ask our immediate circle of trusted friends and relatives for advice, Google it extensively and follow every conversation available about the product.
Whether we know it or not, this process transforms us into brand advocates, well versed enough to confidently describe a product’s pros and cons to our friends and family. And it doesn’t stop at point of purchase. I have joined Facebook and Twitter pages created by my favorite brands. I’ve actively shared information about them online and offline. I was never asked or incentivized to take this action. I wanted to and I’m not alone.
According to our study, 70% of Millennials we surveyed around the world said that once they find a company or product they like, they keep coming back. This jumped to 80% in the US and 73% in India. Further, we found that:
- At least eight-in-10 Millennials have taken action on behalf of brands they trust and respect. Further, 8095 Live feedback suggests that nine-in-10 U.S. Millennials are taking action every week on behalf of brands, and those actions are a combination of online and offline actions.
- When asked what they have done on behalf of a brand they trust and respect, 68 percent have recommended the products to their family and friends; 44 percent have friended or followed that brand on their social network; more than a third have posted something about the brand on their social network; 35 percent have volunteered to test new products from the brand; and 32 percent have written an online review of the brand or product. In China, 84 percent have recommended their trusted brand to family and friends and 73 percent have friended or followed that brand on their social network.