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That it’s hard to emotionally engage Millennials isn’t a surprise. What does surprise is the way marketers believe that more social networking and entertaining advertising will. But, in the absence of real ROI metrics, counting “shares” and tweets, and views has become the default evaluation for assessments of efficiency for marketers.

Why? Primarily because counting is easy. Marketers do that because they mistakenly equate things like sharing and tweets – usually a direct consequence of entertaining consumers – with actually creating some sort of relationship with Millennials, which are clearly not the same thing.

And measuring engagement isn’t as easy as it was before consumers were born hot-wired to the Internet, but still It’s all about the expectations that 21st century consumers hold for the category in which your particular brands competes, and how well your brand meets those expectations. The most important expectations are usually emotional. And, as most research really doesn’t do a very good job of measuring emotions, counting stuff has become the method of choice.

According to Brand Keys most recent 2015 analysis, the top-20 brands, which best meet Millennial consumers’ expectations and, therefore, to which Millennials are most engaged and loyal, include the following:

  1. Apple
  2. Nike
  3. Chipotle
  4. Target
  5. Amazon
  6. Samsung
  7. Sephora
  8. Levi’s
  9. PayPal
  10. Old Navy
  11. Under Armour
  12. Beats
  13. Google
  14. Asus
  15. Chevrolet
  16. Converse
  17. Verizon
  18. Victoria’s Secret
  19. Ford
  20. Ralph Lauren

Brands that stand for the right emotional values maintain relevance and actually create relationships, and the one’s that can better meet higher Millennial expectations show higher degrees of loyalty than any other generational cohort. The fact that most brands exist to be a business and not a hobby notwithstanding, marketers really want to count as many Millennial consumers as customers for some really basic reasons.

First, they’re rapidly becoming the largest age cohort in the marketplace. Secondarily, estimates are that they represent $180 billion in spending power today, so it’s important for marketers to think about how to actually engage them and less time worrying about entertaining them.

One thing that crosses all generational cohorts as regards brand engagement and loyalty is that brands best able to meet consumers’ expectations for emotional values that drive the category will always show up on the top of consumers’ shopping lists. A review of the brand loyalty leaders in the 63 categories included in this analysis revealed that 91% were the category’s leader. QED!

If you’re still into counting, stick with tweets, but you shouldn’t count on that $180 billion dollars just yet. If you started counting right now, it would take you 5,703 years, 303 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes, and 11 seconds to count that much money. Professionally, we prefer emotional engagement metrics because they correlate highly with consumer behavior and brand profitability. They’re available right now, and they’re a metric you can count on anytime!


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

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