Connect the dots: Brand Loyalty & Millennials

Crack The Brand Loyalty Code For Millennials

Ethnic Shoppers Red Bean SocietyMastering brand loyalty among Millennials is increasingly a topic of conversation across professional networks and conferences in the marketing and communications industries.

According to Deloitte[1] the overall loyalty toward brands has declined for the third year in a row, attribution being made to private labels. But what are private labels anymore? Walmart’s Great Value? Cotsco’s Kirkland? Target’s Master Pantry? These are not the private labels of yesteryear, packaged in neutral brown bags with black letters “Rice” or “Cereal”. Among many others, these are brands in their own right, store brands that sit along with your brands on the shelves of the same retailers, which are also brands. Importantly, these retailers offer Millennial shoppers new business models that are deeply entrenched in purposeful experiences and values, such as quality of life, sustainability, added value, simplicity and digital enablement.

Now…let’s connect the dots.

Five years post Census 2010 we continue to hear the buzz of demographic statistics hailing the growth and opportunity of the multicultural market, clearly driven by the U.S. Hispanic segment. As a result, today’s media programming formats cater to increasingly bi-cultural and bilingual Millennials, while digital and social platforms have grown exponentially and Spanish language venues have multiplied. In the recent upfront events for all networks, Hispanic and not, the voice was loud and clear that the U.S. consumer market is going through fast and pervasive changes: in its demographic and cultural composition; in media consumption; lifestyles; digital usage; and digitally enabled shopping behavior, to name a few.

Still…the lingering questions remain across ad agencies and corporate boardrooms in a marketing industry that seems to be lost in its own conversation: How do I drive growth? What does it take to build loyalty among Millennials? And then, as it relates to Hispanic…is it language or culture? Don’t they eventually assimilate like the rest of us?

I propose that brand loyalty is decreasing among traditional brands because marketers have been slow to crack the loyalty code among Millennial female shoppers, a complex, largely multicultural and rapidly growing consumer segment. Secondly, brands are not engaging in relevant conversations with all Millennials, inclusive of culture and language.

The media gets it; industry data sources clearly point to these shifts in audiences. Retailers are ahead of the curve because they see multicultural shoppers everyday in their stores. In contrast, companies and brand decision makers seem to be too far from that reality and don’t really see themselves in it. Rest assured…these consumers do see you and they know that you’re not seeing them.

If your efforts to address Millennials are not yielding the expected results it’s because your brand is likely not engaging with the “other” 44% of Millennial shoppers who alas…happen to be multicultural, primarily of Hispanic origin and highly influential. In today’s fast paced environment, readiness and agility are paramount to success. Face up to it: Non-Hispanic Whites are well on their way to becoming the minority and Multicultural Millennials the primary consumers of brands in America.

Engagement with Millennials must be rooted not only on their generational values but also on the overlapping cultural insights of influencer multicultural peers who respond to distinct cultural motivators.

Some words of encouragement:

  • Not all Millennials are marketing skeptics, entitled and unreachable. In fact, due to their cultural backgrounds, Multicultural Millennials are receptive and more aspirational in their choices;
  • While you may not find them using traditional media, digital platforms offer more opportunities for targeted brand activities, culturally relevant content, engagement and measurement.

Thus, if you haven’t started, don’t hesitate any longer. Do it now: be decisive, nimble and quick to adapt to these changes.

  • Learn about Multicultural Millennial values and insist on socio demographic breakouts among Multicultural segments so you may compare across cultures. These insights will allow you to identify new opportunities and strategize more accurately.
  • Identify the cultural differences and similarities as they relate to your brand and category. This will help you be more relevant across your marketing strategies.
  • Connect the dots. Let consumer insights drive your strategy, acknowledge Multicultural influencers and integrate your marketing plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to reinvent and innovate to meet their expectations and delight Multicultural Millennials with purposeful and culturally relevant content.

Achieving brand loyalty among Millennials is not an impossible task but it most certainly takes focused cultural learning and more cohesive integration across platforms than ever before.

[1] http://www.bbb.org/blog/2014/01/brand-loyalty-declines-for-third-year-straight/