How to build brand loyalty with millennials

Since millennials account for 70% of the total household income in India, it is worth the effort to understand them as the main consumer force

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 31, 2019 1:02 PM

Some say the millennials do not have the genes for brand loyalty, and it is in vain to cultivate loyalty in their minds. Recently, Pitch BrandTalk 2019 was held in Gurugram on ‘Building Brand Loyalty with Millennials’. The panel was chaired by Ashwin Padmanabhan, Head- Trading and Partnerships, GroupM India.

The panel comprised industry honchos from across sectors namely Ankit Paul, Country Lead - Monetization Strategy and Programmatic, Alibaba UC; Karan Shroff, Head -Brand Marketing, Xiaomi; Naresh Krishnaswamy, Head - Growth & Marketing,; RahulDeorah, VP-Marketing, UrbanClap; Somasree Bose, Head Marketing (Personal Care), Godrej Consumer Product; and Bharat Rajamani, Partner - Advisory Services, KPMG India.

The millennials, also known as Gen Y, refer to a group of people who were born in years from 1982 to 2000, and now are aged 19 to 37. They are undergoing a series of important changes in their lives, including graduation, employment, family set-up, and income increasing, during which their consumption habits and minds are changing significantly.

As they have been on the stage of history as the main working population and consumers, interpreting them will be helpful to capture the main consumer group.

Indian Millennial - the Largest Millennial Population around the World

India has millennials of 450 million, accounting for 34% of India’s population and being the world’s largest Gen Y. They account for 47% of India’s working population and their household incomes account for 70% of India’s total household income. (Source: Morgan Stanley)

India’s millennials have a weaker tendency to saving than that of the previous generation. They deposit 10% of their income, boosting the growth in consumption. Most of their expenditures go to daily necessities, education, and public spending, while the remaining disposable income is spent on entertainment and eating out (32.7%), accessories (21.4%) and electronic products (11.2%) (source: Deloitte India and Retailers Association of India)

Gen Y is experiencing the explosive development of the Internet, with the rapid penetration of Western values and lifestyles. Meanwhile, Internet and emerging industries have driven economic development and provided more employment opportunities as well.

However, India is a country with extreme social differentiation, where a small number of millennials have the access to advanced education and more job offers, while a larger number of them live in rural or other remote areas with limited educational resources and employment opportunities.

Millennials Attach significance to Social Influence, Holding Conflicting Attitudes toward Social Media

The survey on the youth of 40 countries by Deloitte, finds that India’s Gen Y and Gen Z are the most optimistic among the 40 countries.

India’s millennials attach more importance to social influence and the possibility of realizing their social values, with traditional achievements such as higher incomes and family ownership aside.

Their relationship with brands is often related to the societal impact and ethics. 42% of respondents said they would start/deepen a relationship with a business when its products/services positively impact the environment/society. Oppositely, 38% said they might stop/lessen a relationship when it has negative impact to environment/society.

Other factors that influence millennials’ attitudes towards brand are also interesting. The top three factors that keep them away from brands come as the ethical behavior of the business (37%), the amount of data it requests (31%), and the behavior or comments of a company leader (29%).

The millennials spend an average of 17 hours a week on the Internet, showing an awkward attitude toward social media. 55% of the respondents suggested that social media does more harm than good, and 60% implied they would be happier spending less time on social media. However, 44% argued they would be anxious if they stay away from social media for a day or two.

(Source: Trend-setting Millennials: Redefining the Consumer Story, jointly released by Deloitte and Retailers Association of India (RAI))

The UC Media Lab data discover that India’s millennials have an obvious demands for pan-entertainment content. Entertainment-related content is the favorite of the millennials, followed by sport and lifestyle. Paul shared how UC browser is changing, helping and making life easier for the millennials of the world. “UC Browser has made life easier for many. You just have to navigate. As soon as you scroll down, you have the news feed starts coming in. So you have a plethora of information on entertainment, politics, and other news. Everything is at one place, you don't have to go anywhere outside.”

How Brands Connect with Millennials

The millennials play as the main targeted group of many retail brands. Retail brands such as electronics, fashion and apparel have launched targeted series and taken marketing measures, and other sectors such as automobiles, real estate, telecommunications, and finance are also releasing products targeted at the millennials.

The millennials attach more importance to the social image of brands. When making product marketing, a brand needs to actively establish a positive public image to have a positive improving the level of education and literacy of the Indian people by means of reading. This is the first online and offline integrated educational public welfare event in India. Users can get points by reading the contents on UC, and they can initiate a book donation when they have accumulated some points. The event has attracted 800,000 users within two months, benefiting 50,000 students.

Another example is Tom’s, a famous shoe brand which makes contributions to public welfare every time when it sells a product. (Their slogan is: Improving lives. One for One.) These are examples of creating a good social image, leaving the consumers with a better impression.

Bose shared at the panel that millennials are generation of digital know-it-all. “In 2012, we realised that with these millennials, you can't just be selling a product. You have to make them live and experience.” The millennials want more interaction with brands at the time of their shopping, so that they have fun buying, trying, and sharing. As they spend 17 hours a week on their phones, online interaction is essential. What a brand needs to do is to interact with consumers, turn shopping into something they can experience, show the charm of the product during games or challenges, and develop the consumers into fans of the product.



Efforts should be paid to avoid excessive advertising, build trust and draw connection. In addition to brand exposure via advertising, we need to construct trust with consumers and draw their attention. Influencers can be a bridge between brands and customers. Superstars can get your brand noticed all at once, while influencer recommendations and friends’ comments enable consumers to have a deeper understanding of your products.

We all have to admit that the world belongs to the millennials. They are obviously the main force, both in terms of consumption and the right of discourse. Brands need to make efforts to interpret them and understand them.

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