The Brands Millennials Love and What They Have in Common

When it comes to appealing to Millennials, brands should never underestimate the power of an emotional connection. This constantly evolving target audience is faced with more choice than any generation that precedes them, and thus needs a more personal reason beyond functionality to choose a brand. But the problem with emotional connection is that it can be swift and unpredictable, so brands need to maintain consistent interaction with Millennials if they want to stay savvy of their needs and desires. Thankfully, automated data collection and online market research methods are evolving as well, allowing companies to gain up-to-date consumer insights into what is and isn’t connecting with their audience. So which brands have been staying on their game?

According to the branding agency MBLM’s annual Brand Intimacy report, the top five brands among American men and woman aged 18-34 who make more than $35,000 are as follows:

5.     Nintendo

4.     Apple

3.     Netflix

2.     Amazon

1.     Disney

As a card-carrying Millennial, I have to say this list makes sense: all of these brands are already known for their popularity among young people. But there are a few key branding strategies they all have in common, which may help inform your own Millennial-centric positioning.

They’ve grown alongside Millennials. Nintendo and Disney have been entertaining Millennials since before a lot of them can remember, so it makes sense they would continue to appeal to them with nostalgia-based efforts, like Nintendo’s Pokémon Go and Disney’s live-action versions of classics like The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast. But just because the other three haven’t been around as long doesn’t mean they haven’t grown too: they make products that become habits for Millennials, creating technology that aligns seamlessly with their expanding entertainment and technological needs.

They treat customers like individuals. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple are all digital solutions that offer individual accounts with customizable features and personalized content from tailored recommendations. Every user has their own unique experience, and thus receives communications that align with their activities, making the whole interaction feel more personal and relevant. Nintendo and Disney aren’t as personalized in their product development, but certainly go the extra mile to coordinate messaging with users’ individual interests. They also have the advantage of producing engaging, emotional content that becomes a compilation of deeply personal experiences.

They embrace all platforms. All of these brands have come to dominate their respective domains, and that’s due in no small part to their presence across all relevant channels, platforms, and mediums. They maintain interactive social media presences that demonstrate consistent brand voice and capture emotionally charged brand moments. But they also make and adapt their content for functionality across multiple platforms, making them accessible almost anywhere, anytime. Not only does it keep the brands top-of-mind, but it also makes them fit easily into the lives of busy, mobile Millennials.

Developing intimacy with a consumer segment is no small feat, but forming emotional, personalized connections and habitual interaction with Millennials may help brands gain traction among this dynamic group. To learn more about what attracts Millennials and Generation Z to a mobile app—as well as what makes them delete it—check out the executive summary below.

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