Do You Really Know If Millennials Are Loyal to Brands?

So you want to reach Millennials? Everyone does. With all the overwhelming research out there, I feel like everything is a contradiction. For example, one study says 70% of Millennials think their generation is less brand-loyal than previous generations and yet there’s a stat that says once they find a company/product they like, 80% of Millennials will keep coming back. So are we loyal or not to brands?

Being a Millennial myself, I asked myself what do I do when making a purchase?

I used a simple example: buying nail polish. A quick, easy purchase I could make online or at the drug store. But when deciding on what polish to get, I immediately went to choosing brands (OPI or Essie), not the actual product (colour and finish).

What does a brand mean to Millennials?

My first thought was simple – brands mattered to me because I believed I identified with the brand – like I was an OPI girl over an Essie girl. But digging deeper, I realized the only reason I believed in a brand was because I’ve seen them used in salons and I trust salons to choose good products.

From there I realized that my understanding of a brand when making a purchase is completely different from what I believe brands stand for. I don’t choose one brand over another because of sheer loyalty, I trust the brand based on how people have reacted to it.

The Millennial Word-of-Mouth

Everything is based on word-of-mouth, but based on different characteristics than the passing of information from one person to another.

Millennials don’t really do research. They don’t dig into the history of a brand and develop an attachment over time. They scroll through social media and blogs to gather inspiration on whatever they’re shopping for, then develop a trust for someone else’s review. It doesn’t have to be scientifically sound, it just has to feel real. In this case, I trusted certain brands because I saw them used on me by a beautician I paid for and I’ve seen the brand all over social media by beauty bloggers and just general beauty lovers. It’s both the fact that lots of people trust the brand, but also the fact that I’ve seen it in action.

But I don’t necessarily have to try the product myself – this is important. I just have to trust the people using the product. Whether they’re industry experts or just inspirational advocates, this puts influencers on an even higher importance than ever.

So I guess both those stats actually are true. On the one hand yes, we Millennials have very little loyalty to a brand as a brand itself. But we’ll come back if we find that we like it, and deciding on whether we like something has a lot to do with who else likes it.

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