Did I say it’s all about me? Observations from the 2015 Top 100 Millennial Brands Report

Moosylvania just completed the latest side-by-side comparison of the top 100 Millennial Brands, surveying 3,500 millennials. As we’ve broken down the psychographics and the best of the best programs, it’s coming down to one word: ME.

Let’s face it, millennial cohorts (as early adopters and first digital natives) are executing life-long personal marketing campaigns. Brands that do well seem to find ways to enhance their users’ executions. Brands can get there by following these three axioms: Make Me Look Good, Make Me Feel Good, Entertain Me.

Moosylvania - Top Three
The three axioms of millennial brand adoption. Credit: Moosylvania

The poster child for millennial marketing fascination is Snapchat and they’ve earned it with reach and usability. It’s the new popular table in the digital cafeteria. For mass brands (who have equal reach) it can be a great value to be part of the conversation with filters and creative shareable content. But here’s the catch: That content is not yours to share or re-purpose. And it expires in 24 hours.

We believe a more ongoing opportunity is to co-create shareable content that can get into a variety of social streams.

Forget about calling them consumers for a minute. Think of them as the “friends of friends” filter.

Forget about calling them consumers for a minute. Think of them as the “friends of friends” filter. You are targeting your target’s target. How do you work together to produce content that is good enough to be shareable? We use videos, custom apps and other tools based on the three axioms previously mentioned.

In our survey, retailers and electronics did extremely well over a three-year period. Apparel and entertainment were clearly the most connective categories. In the top 20 favorite brands, half were clothing brands/retailers and six were electronics/technology companies. Our results showed up to 60% engagement in both categories across a variety of media types.

So, you’re probably asking what to do if you’re not in one of those categories? Here’s a quick quiz to see if your brand can cross the line:

  • Would our most coveted cohort wear something with our logo?
  • Does our brand stand for something that they care about?
  • Can we improve their status?
  • Can we borrow from entertainment and apparel?

We asked millennial cohorts to help us build a list of what a brand has to do to earn their adoption. It was an empty whiteboard that ended up looking like this:

  • Provides high-quality products
  • Millennial would recommend brand to others
  • Fits their personality
  • Practices social responsibility
  • Shares similar interests
  • Says important things
Moosylvania Characteristics Chart
Important brand characteristics for millennials. Credit: Moosylvania

All of these can be translated back to the word: ME. Essentially, “I am known by the products and services I use and share.” In an earlier study, 44% of millennials told us they like to “show off” their purchases.

We also learned a few things about what they like to see in their social feed. Our cohorts told us that fun and interesting trumps product and service information by 6:1. And 30% said they would share branded content that they like—i.e. helps them market their personal brand.

As we look to populate social streams, make friends, get through the friend filter, we need to jump the ME hurdle. Doing so breaks down barriers, changes your status from advertiser to friend and gets you invited to that cool table.

We believe that it starts with getting permission. Do something interesting. Pick the right connection platforms. And get into two-way conversations. And as in any other narcissistic interaction, talk about them.

The latest Top 100 Brands report is available at

For more information:

Norty Cohen

Norty founded Moosylvania, a national digital, branding and experiential agency in 2003. He has been in the agency business for his entire career and is a former partner in Zipatoni, where he stayed for 16 years. Over the last three years, he has published an annual millennial consumer ranking report that has been featured in the New York Times, Adweek, Forbes and other publications.

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