Although a brand's coolness is important to up-and-coming Millennials, most surveyed Gen-Y Americans say a brand should be up-to-date (36%) and should have its own style (33%) to be appealing, according to a study conducted by InSites Consulting and MTV.
Among 33 brand characteristics, Millennials also say brands should be authentic (32%), unique (32%), and have a clean reputation (30%) in order to be embraced by their generation.
Attributes such as cool (26%), trendy (18%), and green (14%) are less important to Millennials.
Meanwhile, Millennials worldwide share many of the same opinions. "It's not that coolness is not important to them," said Joeri Van den Bergh, co-founder of InSites Consulting.
"A brand's coolness is a result from a complex mixture of attributes rather than something they buy from the counter. Although favorite youth brands differ regionally—for example in clothing retail it would be Top Shop in the UK, [H&M in the US], Zara in Spain, or G-Star Raw in the Netherlands—when Gen-Yers talk about their beloved brands, they universally share the same attributes."
Below, other findings from the 16-country survey of 4,065 Millennials (age 15-25).
One out of four Millennials say they deserve more attention from brands—not only because they spend money themselves but because they have a strong influence on their parents' spending.
More than one-half of US Millennials (51%) say they influence the technologies their parents adopt and 41% say they influence the products they buy.
Millennials also affect the TV programs and movies their parents watch (36%) and even the shops they visit (33%).
Gen-Y Americans, however, have a more limited impact on their parents' music and politics: 44% of Millennials say they have no influence at all on their parents' music choices and 52% say they have no influence on their parents' political choices.
About the data: Findings are from survey of 4,065 respondents age 15-25, conducted by InSites Consulting from Dec 24, 2010 to Jan 8, 2011. Respondents were from 16 countries: US (251 respondents), Brazil, Russia, India, China, UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The research is featured in the book How Cool Brands Stay Hot, by Joeri Van den Bergh and Mattias Behrer, published by Kogan Page Limited (London) in the UK (Feb 2011) and US (March 2011).
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