We often hear how millennials (people aged between 18 and 34) are less loyal customers than the older generations in the golden days, ie. pre apps and mainstream internet. And with millenials set to take over the workforce and big parts of the spend-force in the next 5 years, it may sound scary. But is it true?
We live in the age of information. Every brand and business has an online presence. This means as consumers, we have access to all the options out there. Not just the options we see when we are out and about or hear about from friends, family or traditional marketing (that would be posters, printed ads in newspapers or magazines; let’s also include television and radio).
And with more choice, the pickier we become. With two choices, time spent choosing is fairly little. There are only two to consider. With 20 options? It becomes harder to choose because it is harder to differentiate. And herein lies the crux of why millennials are thought to be less brand loyal. When brands look virtually the same, why wouldn’t the intelligent shopper try both? And if they are so similar, why would we stick to only one of them?
Millenials aren’t less loyal than their predecessor; but it takes more to win them over. They know their options, and to retain their attention is a huge task. Anyone dabbling with social media, or just plain old socialising (ie. in the flesh), will know this. Ever met someone with a pair of Nike sneakers who don’t love Nike? Or someone sipping a green juice not being positively evangelic about the hipster-yogi-greenpeace-holier-than-thou juicebar they bought it from? And don’t get us started on Apple.
If you win them over, they are unlikely to leave you. Even if they physically move away, you can be sure they will follow you on twitter and other social media, because your brand – it’s part of their brand.
Millennials give their loyalty to brands they want to be associated with. It is part of them building their own image – a task they take seriously. Selfies anyone? Hashtag my new insert-brand-name new favourite thing! Millenials document everything as part of their digital portfolio and personal brand. From where they are, who they are with, what they are eating, where they are eating it, what they are drinking, what they are wearing… In other words; a millenial who likes your brand, will let the digital world know (and if they don’t like you … you’ve been warned).
Millenials may be harder to get on your side because the are aware of your competitors – but once they’re there you’ve got yourself a brand ambassador. #win