One of the most challenging aspects of marketing and branding efforts today is ascertaining how one’s brand connects with consumers and how healthy this attachment is for long term consumer affection. Today, the greatest focus for both agencies and media companies is on Millennials – what are their preferences, what are the connectors that bind this demographic to a brand and what are the long term prospects and opportunities for brands to more closely connect with this cohort.
Agency executive, Katerina Sudit, Managing Partner, Executive Lead at Mindshare, believes that the biggest challenge to brands today is the “commoditization of established brands,” especially for Millennials because, “the importance of the brand for Millennials is paramount.” She notes that it is vital for large brands to connect with the consumer in, “what is it you are doing for them, not what it is you are selling to them. It is not just about the message. It is about the value-based engagement plan.”
Media executive Mary Kate Callen, Senior Director, Velocity Culture and Creative Insights, Viacom, found through her research that Millennials value authenticity and have a stronger sense of relationship. She asks, “Will brands take this to the next level of what being a person really is? (Millennials) have complex, dimensionalized values and that is a difficult thing for brands to nail.”
From agencies to media companies, it is clear that Millennials in particular must experience a brand attachment that speaks personally to them. How can advertisers be sure that their brands are connecting with Millennials? Gary Reisman, CEO of LEAP Media Investments, has an answer. His company has developed a patented process which activates audiences that are connected with specific brands across all media platforms - online, social, mobile and in advanced TV planning and buying.
“It’s widely known that over 75% of our purchase decisions are made based on emotion – meaning the bonds and relationships we have with brands and products yields relevance and meaning that drive us to engage and purchase brands and products,” Reisman explains.
The higher the emotional attachment is to a brand, the less willing a consumer is to give up the brand, the greater the attention paid to messages from that brand, the greater the advocacy on social media and the higher the sales. “Every brand has its own business plan and strategic needs. LEAP has developed audiences for over 400 brands across 25 categories. LEAP audiences specifically allow marketers to target consumers based on what level of emotional attachment they have to their brands” notes Reisman.
According to LEAP, Amazon is a clear winner among Millennials with the greatest emotional attachment for both females and males. Other brands in the top ten for Millennials include Netflix (although stronger among women than men), Microsoft Office and Windows, YouTube, Visa, iPhone and Apple. Differences are revealing: Women are more highly attached to Target and Facebook while men are more highly attached to Samsung.
The top ten brands with the highest emotional attachment among Millennials are:
MillennialsAdults 18-34 Females 18-34 Males 18-34
Amazon.com 63.1%* Amazon 68.4 Amazon 55.4
Netflix 55.1 Netflix 61.9 Visa 44.7
YouTube 52.5 Target 57.5 Microsoft Office 44.2
Microsoft Suite 50.9 Microsoft Office 56.9 YouTube 44.2
Visa 49.3 Visa 54.5 Microsoft Windows 42.9
Target 46.6 iPhone 52.8 Microsoft 39.8
iPhone 46.3 Apple 51.6 Netflix 39.3
Apple 45.0 YouTube 51.6 iPhone 37.8
MicrosoftWindows 42.8 Facebook 50.4 Apple 36.9
Facebook 42.6 Microsoft Windows 42.4 Samsung TV 33.5
Source: LEAP Media Investments 2016 study
*To be read: 63.1% of Adults 18-34 Have a Strong Emotional Attachment to Amazon
“The marketers we work with leverage the LEAP Enthusiasts audiences to stimulate immediate sales and social sharing, which is so important in today’s media marketplace. At the same time they also target their Conquests audiences who are moderately attached to the brand to further solidify brand attachment and gain market share,” stated Reisman.
So in this era of fragmentation and increased competition, the advantage of a strong emotional attachment to a consumer cannot be understated. Millennials, with their own unique attractions to specific brands, will be dictating the purchasing patterns and brand affiliations of the future. Smart and strategic brands will focus on emotional attachment as a way to insure future growth and loyalty among these pivotal consumers.
This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com