01 May Branding for the Millennial Generation2
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Today’s consumer is astute thanks to our evolved technology and accessible information (thanks google and Pinterest). This helps consumers make more acknowledged decisions when choosing a brand. Therefore consumers, especially millennial generation consumers, take the brand promise and brand values very seriously. This makes companies think even more through their branding, so they could connect their brand with consumers and offer them value, not just a product or a service.
Philip Kotler, who is the father of modern marketing, has said that a brand is a name, symbol, design, or a combination of the three that is used to distinguish one product from another but a distinct link between a consumer and a brand is missing from this definition. It is really a product-centered approach because it does not take the service as a process. More broadly, a brand is a value creation system that has functional benefits, and a promise that makes the consumers spend money on.
A brand is a combination of emotional and functional values that make the brand unique in the eyes of the consumer and enables the company to give the consumer the desired and expected experience.
What makes the brand stand out to the consumer?
According to Kotler:
1. A brand has positive qualities
2. A brand has certain advantages compared to competitors
3. A brand emphasizes its company values
4. A brand showcases its uniqueness (individual traits)
5. Brand adverts to a specific audience (users)
A brand is related to the consumers, and to a promise, the brand makes to them, but the primary purpose of branding is to create a brand identity that has to be clear and easily communicated. Brand Identity is a brand creator’s understanding of the brand and making the consumer feel a certain way of the brand. Identity is a source of difference and thought that makes the brand stand out from the others.
Denisee Lee Yohn writes in her book “What Great Brands Do” that there is no difference between a brand and company management because the brand is a part of a company. Similar to a company, brand identity also has vision and mission. CRM Magazine insights that Brand management, as a company management method, involves building the brand and company simultaneously.
Brand Mission and Vision
The mission determines who and how the brand affects society as a whole. The mission is the activities and processes that are intended to be carried out in the market to fulfill the vision of the brand in the future. The mission describes what will be done with the brand, the brand leading idea, or an area of the brand where the efforts will be concentrated. In the case of brands, the vision usually formulates as an understanding of the future; the mission, therefore, always formulates as activities or processes.
Increased access to information allows consumers to receive more diverse information about brands, in addition to the mass media. Negative comments and assessments on social media also harm both the brand and the brand creator herself. Therefore, when creating a brand identity, it is essential to ensure that the functional benefits, added value, and promise created for the consumer correspond to reality. By communicating the identity to the consumer, the image of the brand is formed.
Thanks to the availability of information, consumers can see through the artificial image of the company’s brand and compare it with reality. Today, consumers are more aware of brand promises and therefore have a more significant opportunity to make more rational brand choices. Despite the efforts of companies, the identity of the brand and the image of the brand in the minds of consumers do not coincide. Companies hire research firms to conduct in-depth research on the brand image to adjust the message they convey to consumers through marketing communications to align with the intended brand identity.
Branding for the Millennial Generation
Joeri Van den Bergh and Mattias Behrer discuss in their book “How Cool Brands Stay Hot” the attitude of the Millenial generation, also known as Generation Y, towards brands. The book talks about Generation Z also if you are interested in that too (people born after 2001). Generation Y is defined as those born between 1981 and 2000. Generation Y values reality, honesty, and authenticity in all areas of life and strives for a more meaningful life.
The nature and attitude of Generation Y are influenced not only by culture but also by developments in the world. This is also the case with previous generations. The following list illustrates the generational differences using the main keywords that the members of the target group most pointed out to characterize their generation.
GENERATION Y (1981-2000)
Use of technology (24%)
Culture of music (11%)
GENERATION X (1965-1980)
Use of technology (12%)
Work ethics (11%)
Work ethics (17%)
THE SILENT GENERATION (1927-1945)
The recession of World War II (14%)
Although Generation X preceding Generation Y also points to technology as a source of difference for its own generation, the share is half that of the Y-generation (12% vs. 24%). For Generation Y, technology is more than a tool because they have linked their social life to it (creating a profile on different social networks, frequency of use of social networks, etc.). Technology and the developed society have a profound impact on the values and activities of the Millennials.
The following chart shows the essential features of the brand in the opinion of Generation Y. The study surveyed young people aged 15-25 from 16 countries around the world, with a sample size of 4,065 people.
The brand should have a recognizable style, it should create a positive experience (happiness) and keep up with the times. The clean reputation and authenticity of the brand were also pointed out. Brands whose products are purchased and services are consumed must be at the same level and correct as of the consumer.
Generation Y has much more control over their lives than previous generations to accomplish goals that make them happy. The brands that help Generation Y achieve its goals have the best chance of securing a long-lasting and profitable relationship with this consumer group, says Linda Tan, ZenithOptimedia’s strategic manager, after a survey of 5,800 participants aged 18-34 in ten countries. Health, financial stability, careers, and the realization of dreams are the most critical areas that Generation Y wants to control. While the Millennial Generation may seem like a carefree target group interested in celebrities and social media, beneath the surface is a conscious, attentive, and smart consumer.
The new generation of consumers wants to shape their lives themselves and take responsibility for their future – taking care of their homes, paying bills, valuing the family, staying in good shape, and so on. At the heart of the product and service is the benefit to the consumer and then the value to his family, the local community, his environment, other communities, and ultimately society as a whole.
The study results show that the new generation of consumers wants to be convinced that the brand is clear, understandable, with a clean reputation and that its activities go hand in hand with what it promises. So, in addition to the rational and emotional level, the consumer wants to know what the brand believes in.
The changes taking place in the brand design are related to the attitude of a generation of consumers towards brands. For brands to meet the expectations of the Millennial generation of consumers, it is advisable to rethink the nature of the brand and analyze the brand’s promise and added value and its validity in reality, because the Millennial generation of consumers is marketing conscious and sees through an artificial image.
Brand creators need to take into account brand characteristics that are important for the Millennial generation in branding to be relevant to consumers. Brand characteristics must reflect the real values of the company, and branding must start with the consumer.
Which generation are you? I am the Millennial Generation or Generation Y.
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