Gen Z vs Millennials: Trends in Brand Attachment Yield Insight

By Leap Media Investments Archives
Cover image for  article: Gen Z vs Millennials: Trends in Brand Attachment Yield Insight

Gen Z and Millennials are very different generations in terms of their life experiences, attitudes and, according to Gary Reisman, CEO and Founder of LEAP Media Investments, their emotional attachment to brands.  "The challenge is to understand trends," he says.  "What do differences in the brands Gen Z'ers are attached to (or not) vs. their older counterparts tell us about important future market dynamics and who might be the winners or the losers over the next 5-10 years? The differences in brand attachment hold the key to future brand profitability."

His company, LEAP, develops scaled digitally targetable audiences based on the level of emotional attachment consumers have to specific brands.  Part of their offering includes a Brand Intelligence database that tracks emotional attachments to over 400 brands across Gen Z, Millennial and Baby Boomer cohorts.  The insights and learnings can be fascinating.  For example, there are many brands that are favorites with both generations, such as Microsoft, Apple and Target, while 13-17-year-olds prefer  brands that make sense to the very young such as consoles (Xbox, PlayStation), games (Call of Duty, Final Fantasy), high sugar content sodas (Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew) and the usual fast food and casual dining establishments. "Apparently, they have not had to hit the gym as hard as the Millennials have … just yet," Reisman said with a smile.

"Some brands like YouTube, Samsung and Spotify, are much more highly valued among Gen Z'ers than Millennials indicating great future growth and potential," he continued.  For other brands, Reisman offered a more ominous appraisal.  "Some brands either have not achieved or are losing emotional attachment with Gen Z'ers compared to Millennials at an alarming rate," he warned, indicating a harsh future to maintain market share and profitability.  "I am referring to you Facebook, Pandora and Amazon," he intoned.  The reality is that each point of emotional attachment can equal hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and life time value.

Below are additional interesting findings:

Next Gen Social Media

While 42.6% of Millennials are highly attached (or extremely unlikely to give up) Facebook, only 27.6% of Gen Z'ers are similarly attached -- a 54% difference in market size.  At the same time, Gen Z'ers are much more attached to Snapchat compared to their older counterparts.

Next Gen Viewing Behavior Trends

It has been reported that TV attachment and viewing levels are evolving among younger generations.  LEAP data suggests forms of viewership may be changing as well.  YouTube is actually the brand with the highest emotional attachment, ranking No. 1 among all brands among Gen Z.  At the same time, attachment among longer-form content providers including Netflix and Hulu is less so.  "To me this could indicate that Gen Z'ers prefer shorter-form content" Reisman noted.  "The jury may still be out on the future winners of content distribution, but the fact that YouTube is the brand that they are most likely to say they are unwilling to give up should be taken very seriously.  Also, brands like HBO have a long way to go to seriously compete for relevance among the Gen Z population."

Winners vs. Losers

There are many examples of which brands within a variety of categories are faring better with Gen Z consumers.  For example, Spotify seems to be the choice of a new generation while Pandora may have trouble.  "If I were a betting man, I'd definitely invest more in Spotify than Pandora based on the shift in emotional attachment for Spotify vs. Pandora," Reisman stated.


Many examples are available within LEAP's audience dataset where all of the 400 measured brands can be reviewed to understand what level of effort each brand needs to exert to maintain and build marketing penetration moving forward.


What leading indicators are most revealing for a brand's revenue success with the next generation of consumers?  According to Reisman, LEAP's data provides marketers with critical information regarding the consumers who are highly attached or less attached to their brands.  Their Brand Intelligence Database also provides a treasure trove of information regarding brand trends in future market size and is a key indicator of future revenue potential.

"Our objective is to help marketers improve the ROI of their marketing efforts and target audiences more likely to engage with their brand," Reisman stated.  "LEAP's emotional attached audiences help us do that for them.  That said, the data can also be used to understand interesting market trends and point out brand deficiencies among next gen markets," he concluded.

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