Which Brand Attributes Matter Most to Millennials?

Initiative-Millennials-Top-Rated-Brand-Attributes-Sept2014Three in 10 Millennials (aged 25-34) around the world are cynical about the way brands market to them, and that figure rises above 40% in the US and UK, finds Initiative [download page] in a new study. With such skepticism evident, brands should demonstrate their commitment to social causes and emphasize attributes such as authenticity and trustworthiness, per the study, which is based on a survey of almost 10,000 25-34-year-olds in 19 countries.

Results from the survey indicate that the top brand attributes globally, for Millennials, are:

  • Trustworthiness (31%);
  • Creativeness (29%);
  • Intelligence (23%);
  • Authenticity (22%); and
  • Confidence (21%).

Some of those prized attributes (such as trustworthiness and authenticity) can be seen as directly related to the skepticism that many Millennials hold for brands. But, they also align with some of Millennials’ common traits: Millennials’ economic uncertainty and insecurity, for example, means that they appreciate brands that are useful to them and can emotionally connect with them in an authentic way.

Meanwhile, Millennials’ desire for intelligent brands likely reflects the fact that, per the study’s authors, “Millennials… are adults with all the expectations and responsibilities of adulthood.” As for a desire for creativity from brands? That speaks to Millennials’ own creativity – one of the three themes (along with the ability to adapt and their desire to collaborate) that emerged as common traits among global Millennials.

While those attributes are most important to Millennials, these young consumers also prize brands that work for positive social change. Indeed, a majority of respondents believe that:

  • Brands should actively participate to improve causes (59%);
  • Brands have the potential to be a force for good (58%); and
  • They are more loyal to a brand that helps improve societal or ecological issues (54%).

By contrast, only 13% feel that brands should just focus on their products and services.

This social bent has been found in other research, too. Recently, a Harris Interactive survey of American adults found that Millennials are more likely than other generations to take a company’s reputation for social responsibility into account when making purchase decisions. An earlier survey fielded by Ipsos OTX similarly found Millennials to be more willing to pay a premium for “green” products than their older counterparts.

Returning to the Initiative study, some other interesting results include:

  • Only 65% of respondents being employed full time, and 7 in 10 having already changed or planning to significantly change their career path;
  • A slight majority (52%) not having enough money to cover everyday living costs and 35% still living at home with their parents; and
  • 44% saying that they are addicted to their devices.

About the Data: The markets included in the study are: Canada; USA; Mexico; Colombia; Brazil; Argentina; Chile; UK; Germany; Italy; Egypt; Saudi Arabia; Poland; Turkey; UAD; India; Russia; China; and Thailand.