Brand Loyalty has been the mainstay of so many prolific enterprises for so long; without preamble, brand loyalty has been a veritable venture cornerstone.
Some companies were in the right place at the right time to make the best of this strategy: Nike, Kleenex, Coca Cola, Frosted Flakes, Ford, Chevy, and so on. However, there is one unifying thread that runs through these multifaceted and market-spanning enterprises; that is their era of origin. Most of the companies that settled into the comfortable position of immense brand loyalty did so amidst the baby boomer generation.
Becoming and maintaining position as a household name was a remarkably different game fifty years ago.
Is brand loyalty on its way to obliteration, or is it already extinct?
The WSL Strategic Retail Report offers the following insights:
- Only one-quarter of US consumers are loyal to specific brands, and that quarter is largely comprised of aging generations.
- Eighty percent of millennials are outright disinterested in brand, and sixty percent won’t hesitate to pass up a notable brand if they have access to a more economical alternative.
- According to survey data, the near-majority of twenty-somethings, unabashedly distrust big business.
One key and potentially promising distinction, as outlined by Retention Science research, is the clear dichotomy between brand loyalty and customer loyalty; by which companies surmount the challenge by offering consistently excellent value for quality products.
In the end, marketers are targeting the generation that is both up on social media (which seems to represent a net negative for brand loyalty) and has comparatively minimal spending power. The inference here is not that companies should shift focus away from millennials; after all, even though they individually have lower spending power than their elders, they are the generation coming into inevitable prominence. The wise executive will shift focus from brand-dependent marketing and the laziness of expected loyalty, and focus research on what actually matters to these diverse groups.
Ultimately, it will require a cutting-edge executive approach to address these bottom-line challenges in new, dynamic ways. Enterprises can no longer depend on the easy path to liquidity, and dominate their market niche with an inundation of advertising on three black-and-white channels. Responsiveness, a large worldview, and social and environmental impact-awareness are key issues to the “M generation” – the adept executive will maintain the priority of these principals when planning ahead.
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