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Gen Y - Harnessing The Power of the Loyalty Generation

ImageGeneration We, Millennials, the Net Generation, whatever you want to call them, are your biggest potential ROI asset. They are tech savvy, they grew up on it, they rely on it to perform their jobs better, they are armed with their smart phone and tablets and are researching your products and services before they buy.

The Gen Y market is maturing, the oldest of which are 30, the youngest around 15. With the worlds average age being 28 (CIA World Fact Book) we live in a Gen Y world, what are you doing to activate the loyalty generation? In a recent study done by the Edelman group they found that 86% of Millennials, once they find a company they like, keeping coming back. What are you doing to ensure that they like you?

Many Gen Y'ers identify themselves by the brands they like. In fact, brand preference is the #1 personal identifier they are willing to share online (Edelman). They're even willing to share their personal information with the brands they trust.  

Activating The Gen Y Market

They aren't all techie, family is important and are willing to trade the big bucks for a better work/life balance. They are confident  and ambitious, they're expectations are high and feel that businesses should be socially responsible. They are looking for quality products from authentic companies that have a purpose and are integrity driven.

Building Trust Leads To Brand Loyalty

In order to build trust with the Gen Y market you must meet 4 criteria, they are:

  • You must have quality products, in both workmanship and features.
  • You must be real. Authenticity is important to Generation Y.
  • You must have a social purpose. 1 in 3 say that they look for brands that have a positive impact on the world.
  • You must have integrity. Your business must be moral and stand for something great than just profits.

Implementing these 4 criteria is paramount to the future of your business. According to the World Bank, by 2015, 47% of the world's population will be under 25.

The goal is to get the attention of the Millennial's in order to build trust with them so that they begin to identify themselves with your brand. From there, they will do the rest. They want to tell others about their positive experience, 47%  write about them online, their happiness increasing with each person they tell their story to (Edelman).

Gen Y'ers will help to market your business if they feel that you are investing in them. This help will come in the form of online promotion, in-person word-of-mouth and online reviews. They will feel compelled to tell others about you as they are better able to identify with your brands purpose.

It's through this identification that many of them are identifying themselves through your brand. Think about it, do you consider yourself a Mac or a PC? An Android or an iPhone user? It's because of this identification that the Millennials will tell others about your brand in their online social networks. They are, in effect, telling others about themselves. By telling others about how great Android is, they are, in effect, elevating their own status because they have identified themselves with it.

When interacting with this important group online, make it about them. Make it about what they are most interested in. Work to build trust by being authentic, create high quality products and support a purpose that impacts them directly.

Since nearly 70% of Gen Y'ers recommend their favorite products to friends and family it's important to give them an experience that is second to none. Millennials are known for having high expectations, they do expect the best, but in order to truly activate this important segment of the market you must go above what's expected, if you want to stand out in their minds. Remember, in order to influence word-of-mouth you must go beyond what's expected to get it. If you are only able to meet expectations then there will be nothing about you that stands out. Nothing about you that is talk-worthy. Keeping the 4 key criteria above in mind, what do you need to change to be more Gen Y friendly?  

Join The Conversation

  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 29 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    You certainly are entitled to your own opinion. Thank you for commenting Kevin!

  • Jun 28 Posted 5 years ago KevinHorne

    If you think the Edelman study is the definitive statement on Gen Y loyalty, then i have a bridge you mght be interested in buying.

    Meantime I just love these articles about the "promising and profitable" future of a cohort that has soaring unemployment, unmanageable debt, no job prospects, no money and live at home with Mom & Dad. All the "tech savvy" in the world can't solve for those deep, deep social and cultural issues...

  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    Very true. I was looking for the study that talked about quality with Gen Y'ers. Its the Deloitte Automotive Survey detailing that Gen Y'ers look to the cockpit technology for the basis of quality in a new automobile. This is an exciting market and in my opinion all it takes is doing the right thing to earn their loyalty. As it relates to quality and social purpose that is.

  • Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago Shawn Seet

    That's a great point made. The expectations of the quality of products has certainly increased tremendously. Product quality cannot just match up with what's on the market. They need to be better to even qualify for attention. I like your example of "Never buy the first generation, wait until the next one comes out and they will have all the bugs fixed.". It examplifies how the market do not blindly follow every new product on the market. There are so much more avenues online such that flaws are amplified abd discussed even before hitting the mass market. As a double-edged sword, quality products have benefited from online buzz.

  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    Very true, social purpose is very important to Gen Y'ers. I wrote a post that I linked to in the post, about social purpose. You can check it out here. Thank you the comment!


  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    Quality is more important to Gen Y'ers. You're right it is important to other generation as well but quality is more than the workmanship of the product it has a lot to with the quality of the features, of the "apps" of the smart phone so to speak. Gen Y'ers expect the constant advancement of technology but also expect there to be quality, even if it is a new product.

    For instance you used to hear, "Never buy the first generation, wait until the next one comes out and they will have all the bugs fixed."

    That's unacceptable to Gen Y'ers. Maybe I should have elaborated on that point more. Thank you for commenting and helping to further this conversation along.

  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    Nice addition Ben, thank you for the comment. The culture of Gen Y is different than the generation before, it's in knowing that culture that will help business better connect with them. Thank you again!


  • Maharaj Maharaj's picture
    Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago Maharaj Maharaj

    Excellent analysis of what is in store for the future. It will be an uphill climb as companies juggle between marketing to existing Gen X & future Gen Y's. Companies will be measured largely on the impact that their operations cause to the environment in which they operate. 

  • Jun 24 Posted 5 years ago Shawn Seet

    Hi David

    I would say only criteria 3 and 4 of your post are really relevant to Gen Y. With the proliferation of social media in today's society, it is pertinent that companies take the inititative to connect with their customers. However, having quality products and services has always been the an important factor of long term business strategy. Spreading good word has always been around, and I don't think it has changed in years. Rather, seeing it more on social media platforms has allowed statsitcs to be measured and drawn as compared to before. Nonetheless, i do agree that companies should orientate their marketing tools differently to reach out to Gen Y. 

    Thanks for the write up!

    Shawn Seet

  • Jun 23 Posted 5 years ago Ben DiSanti

    The article is great and all the comments preceeding mine provide an even richer view of millennials and loyalty.  From many of my observations of this target over the years, I believe there is one additional point that can help to ensure loyalty.  That is, that the brand exhibit a sense of adventure - even bordering on a 'bad' side.  Not 'bad' in a negative sense, but one that is reflective of a group that is in no way willing to settle for a status quo life.  This is shown in the range of music they choose to listen to, and the brands they choose related to their core passions.  

  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 23 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    That't why I call them the loyalty generation because they are more loyal than the generation before. That's why I feel that every business should do what they can to learn more about them, what makes them tick and then use that knowledge to engage them in such a way that they begin to identify themselves by what the business stands for. Thank you for commenting!

  • Jun 23 Posted 5 years ago ayguldiscovers

    Hello David,

    Thanks for this very affirmative article of Generation Y's qualities.

    I'm Gen Y and your description fits my personality very closely. It's good that current young people are more socially responsible and eco-driven, traditional, value long-term commitment over short-term satisfaction, compassionate and in general, more fair and just.





  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 23 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    I'll keep them coming (I'm addicted!) as long as you keep commenting! LOL

  • GPowell's picture
    Jun 23 Posted 5 years ago GPowell

    Thanks DavidJohnson4,


    Agreed.  Social Media has become part of our customer service and marketing strategy thus creating community and engagement (hopefully!).

    Glad I discovered this website and signed up.  A thanks for that chat, I look forward to other articles.

    G Powell

  • DavidJohnson4's picture
    Jun 22 Posted 5 years ago DavidJohnson4

    You're right, engagement is key. Real engagement. It's a precursor to brand ambassadorship. If a business wants a business that Gen Y'ers can indentity with then they must work to develop a community around their brand.

    I'd love to hear what others have to say. Thank you for the comment G Powell!

  • GPowell's picture
    Jun 22 Posted 5 years ago GPowell

    Great article!

    I am 28 and a web guy so I can definitely relate to Gen Y! I also undertake our digital marketing and web development at my company, www.theemporiumdirect.co.uk.

    To answer your question: "what do you need to change to be more Gen Y friendly?", my initial thought would be to ensure ones business is socially orientated. In other words, ensure there are enough social media facilities in place to allow others to comment and share but also for the business to respond - that part is often ignored.  Having share buttons is easy, so is setting up Facebook pages etc, but actually building trust, community and open dialogue is what takes time and it is the business that needs to drive this to make it work.  Great point on large businesses being more socially responsible over shareholder profits.

    What do others think? How have other people's employers reacted to social media? Do the older generations think social media is a fad or worth the investment?

    Be great to hear other people's thoughts.


    G Powell


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