Brand loyalty is not dead, even for Millennials and new parents

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December 5, 2016 by Paul Dughi

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Brand loyalty dead?  It makes for a catchy headline and fits the narrative new-age brand marketers are selling:

90% of the leading household goods brands are losing market share on consistently low-growth categories – Study by Catalina

The story goes that in the post-media age (whatever that is), consumers – especially Millennials – aren’t flocking to tried and true brands, but finding their own.  While that’s true to a degree, it’s always been true with consumers that come of age.

While it’s not true of everybody, I’ll bet there are still a lot of Millennials that have the same car insurance and cell phone carriers their parents had.

Saying loyalty is dead is short-sighted.  Are Millennials “brand loyal” to Uber?  You bet.  Many wouldn’t think of taking a taxi.  Uber may be a new brand, but it’s banking on brand loyalty to grow.

In a Facebook IQ survey of more than 14,000 adults in the U.S., the results showed 77% return to the same brands again and again.  While there may be some drop off in brand loyalty overall, as experienced by the brands showing a decline, I’ll take 77% over the remaining 23% any day.

Brand loyalty dead?  Not by a long shot.

37% indicate they make repeat purchases and are loyal to a company (“Brand Loyalists”*), and 40% say they make repeat purchases but are not loyal to a company (“Repeat Purchasers”*).- Facebook IQ’s team

Here’s what they found:

Loyalty is thriving

Repeat Purchasers tend to cite utilitarian reasons for why they buy a brand, such as Price or Convenience.  While those qualities make a difference, it may not be enough to keep people tied to your brand. After all, other brands can always beat you on price.

Brand Loyalists have a much deeper connection, along the lines of Emotional and Experiential, such as Trust or Service.

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To achieve brand loyalty, marketers need to go beyond price and convenience and find an emotional connection to consumers.

…we asked people… to describe the brands they love most. We divided these words into the following verticals: consistency, cost, quality and experience. By far the largest group of words was under experience. Perhaps people will always be willing to pay for the things that are memorable … whether that’s because of the taste they can’t get elsewhere or the family fun they’ll remember forever. – Facebook IQ’s team

Millennials create challenges and opportunities

Teenagers have always rebelled and experimented.  Now in that 18-34 year group, Millennials are no different.  In fact, the survey points out that in some areas, they are actually as likely as those age 55+to be Brand Loyalists.

Millennials are less brand loyal when price is involved.  Think hotels or airlines and you get the idea.  Millennials may not have the financial ability to be loyal to the brands they like when it comes to having to watch their money.  How many Millennials are actually driving the car they want to drive?

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Changing consumer habits do open doors to new opportunities.  Consumers coming of age don’t have 50 years of experience with a product and may be more open to new experiences.  That can allow new brands to find their own loyal niche.  It means the big brands have to be even more protective and continually tell their brand story.

Children change everything

Another finding of the study was that children change everything.  New parents – facing new choices for products they may never have thought about before – are even more fiercely loyal to brands than non-parents.

Since there are always new parents coming into consumer consciousness, brands targeting them need to be constantly marketing and branding themselves so they are top-of-mind when needed.

Non-parents tend to experience more and take more chances on new products.  New parents. Not so much.”We think it’s because a desire to experiment gets replaced with a desire to stick to what they know. After all, a restaurant’s food might not seem as important when parents start thinking about stroller access and crayons at the table,” Facebook IQ’s team reports.

 

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