To secure the loyalty of Millennial consumers - an entire generation of digital natives aged 18 to 33 - brands and marketing agencies need to look at advertising in a completely new way, according to a study of how 2,000 US Millennials think about their brand loyalties. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The study examined the ways in which this modern generation's brand choices are influenced and what matters most to them, and concluded that this generation of tech-savvy young adults are something of a 'consumer juggernaut' representing US$600 billion worth of annual spending power in the US alone.

The insights gained for this survey were gathered to help agencies and brands evaluate how their current efforts align with the next generation of brand promoters. The survey targeted a random sample of US consumers who were self-identified as being both between the ages of 18 and 33 and owning both a personal computer and a smartphone.

Among the study's key findings:

  • The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree
    When it comes to brand loyalty, 64% of Millennials surveyed feel the same level of or greater brand loyalty than their Baby Boomer or Generation X parents, with 24% feeling more brand loyal than their parents.
  • Social is Challenging TV for Influence
    60% of Millennials said that social advertising has the most influence over them in how they perceive a brand and a brand's value, compared with TV at 70%. In contrast, traditional media outside of TV falls flat. Radio, billboards (OOH), and magazines finished last in the sphere of influence, with mobile and online - both display and video - comfortably in the centre.
  • Maybe Mother Doesn't Know Best
    While many Millennials have brand loyalty identical to or surpassing that of their parents, 77% will use a different set of criteria in selecting brands to which they'll be loyal.
  • No One Wants a Bad Reputation
    In the new age of branding, having a quality product is no longer enough to secure loyalty. 47% of Millennial respondents said they would change brands if their current brand were found to have bad business practices.
  • Keeping it Real
    Moving forward, brands will need to sit up and listen in order to remain relevant to Millennials. Over half of the survey respondents, 52%, said that for brands to maintain their relevance, they need to be willing to change based on consumer opinion. 44% expect brands to engage in open dialogue through social channels and 38% want brands to be more about the consumer and less about the brand.

"For brands and agencies seeking to gain the trust and admiration of Millennials, the secret of success will lie in their ability to select the right partners, employ the right strategies, leverage the right technology and be prepared to constantly turn and pivot," concluded Scott German, general manager for Adroit Digital. "Through the wide range of advertising technologies available today, they should be able to open a dialogue and lay the foundation for earning the loyalty of Millennials."