Walmart, Target, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are among the top 10 most beloved brands of Millennials, according to the 2015 Top 50 Millennial Brand Ranking Report released this week by Moosylvania, an independent digital advertising agency. The brand comparison study was conducted with Millennials in two separate surveys over the course of nine months.
The latest rankings, based on panel studies of 1,500 Millennials—defined as age 14 to 35—not only ranks which Top 50 brands continue to earn Millennial love, but why these brands are connecting so strongly with them. Participants in each survey were asked to rank their top three brands unaided—32 of the 50 brands mentioned were repeats. Eighteen new brands edged their way into the latest list.
The 2015 top five “most beloved” brands are Nike, Apple, Samsung, Sony and Walmart. A few of the newcomers to the list included Pizza Hut (21), Chevrolet (23), Honda (31), Oreo (33), Sprint (42) and Chanel (43), among others. In spite of last holiday season’s security breach, Target rose from 27th to sixth in the 2015 rankings. Facebook, PlayStation and Old Navy were among 11 brands that lost favor with Millennials and dropped from the Top 50 list. Absent from either list were alcohol and spirit brands.
In addition to their favorite brands, Millennials participating in the latest study identified key media traits that transform a high-awareness brand into a beloved brand. Important brand characteristics that matter most to Millennials include High-Quality Products (75 percent), Would Recommend This Brand (61 percent), Fits Their Personality (53 percent), Social Responsibility (40 percent), Shares Similar Interests (39 percent) and Says Important Things (31 percent).
“What these two back-to-back studies reveal is that a form of personalized communication has to be involved before a brand can get recognized. Make me look good, make me feel good and entertain me—mass communication has been supplanted with friendship marketing,” said Norty Cohen, founder and CEO of Moosylvania. “Millennials’ curation skills allow them to consider new entities. Consider that in one year’s time 18 brands went from not one mention to placing in the Top 50, proving that Millennials will adopt brands that get into their zone.”
Cohen describes Millennial consumers as their own brand managers.
“This generation is looking for brands that help them become something more than their regular selves. Provide a high-quality product or service that helps them look cool, and Millennials will return the favor with their recommendations and purchasing power,” Cohen said. “They care about what’s happening on their street, in their neighborhood and beyond—and so should marketers. Brands that market with a strong, positive message and display a sense of social responsibility show they care about what Millennials care about.”
For example, Ralph Lauren, who went from 104th to 30th in the rankings, and Wendy’s (47), a newcomer to the 2015 Top 50 list, both created campaigns that included participatory TV commercials and music videos. The companies then micro-targeted consumers by speaking directly to them through their various social media platforms, Cohen says.
“Millennials are not just consumers—they’re friends. They trust friends who listen to them, are open and honest, remember their names, are consistent and stay true to who they are,” Cohen said. “Marketers who connect with them as friends on that level have an opportunity to break into the favorites list.”