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The marketing that millennials want to see from brands

By Danielle Gamage | PR and marketing executive

TLC Marketing UK


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August 9, 2017 | 7 min read

Since the results of the Millennial’s Choice survey revealed which brands are firm favourites among millennials, we have pinpointed how these brands have marketed themselves so well and what others must offer to get in with this crowd.


What have millennials' favorite brands have done to make themselves number one?

Although every demographic has its preferences, millennials are an audience we must be careful not to stereotype. During the discussion, negative connotations of millennial left half of respondents saying it was a poor way for marketers to segment customers, while others mentioned that the blur of specified dates means definitions of who exactly qualifies as one is still unclear. Nevertheless, there are some clear marketing techniques that popped up during the round-table that have placed brands into this group’s good books.

Give them something they know

A company’s reputation is very important to consumers selecting products. This was apparent when Coca-Cola stole the votes of over half of participants for the category of favourite beverage.

“I like the taste and I know what I am buying,” said one candidate. Another added: “It has always been my favourite. I love the taste of Coca-Cola. Nothing else compares to it”

The familiarity theme also popped up in the best food brand category. Cadbury stole first place in this category, as millennials value the brand’s image, taste and enjoy the tradition of having its chocolate bars in the family. Feedback including “Got to love a local brand” and “I’m hooked, I’ve loved Cadbury chocolate since I was a child. I love it and wouldn’t eat any other chocolate” prove that heritage breeds loyalty.

With a strong heritage, Cadbury, similar to Coca-Cola, holds a strong family value to millennials as they continue to love the brand. For another chocolate or beverage brand to gain more market share, they’d need to disrupt the market with other things millennials love.

Offer experiences

Cadbury is continuously including promotions in their marketing mix, from ‘Adopt a cow’ with Buttons to ‘win a luxury holiday’ with Mini Eggs. Not only does Cadbury boost sales at struggling points of the year with rewards but also draws the experience-seeking consumer group in.

Despite the fact Coca-Cola is a winner for over half of participants, 54% of all respondents agreed that they would switch beverage brands if they offered a ‘TLC’ styled reward. From free movie streaming and gig tickets to a hotel stay or free flights, there’s an opportunity to attract millennials away from Coca-Cola in a promotional campaign. The likes of Innocent Smoothies (2nd place with 9% of votes), PG Tips (3rd) and Pepsi (4th) need to tap into experiences if they hope to follow in their main market competitor’s footsteps.

Offer loyalty perks


When it comes to fashion, millennials are opting for retailers that can meet their demands for variety, access and loyalty perks, and our respondents chose Asos as their favourite fashion retailer. Loyalty perks is increasing in importance for this group. For fashion brands to attract this market, they can introduce personalised communications and rewards using a loyalty platform. Asos also came out on top in the fashion loyalty survey as the most recognised brand, rewarding customers, and it seems that this is what places it in overall number one for this category. Some of the comments that came out in the discussion described convenience:

“Next day delivery as a premium member is very useful”

“They have a broad range of clothes available with quick delivery and loyalty schemes”

Millennials are looking for convenience, so make sure to take that into consideration when targeting this audience. The tech-savvy group also agreed that Asos as a retailer offering branded and non-branded products boosted its popularity, with one respondent saying they loved how easy it is to search just one website that sells multiple brands as opposed to looking at them all separately.


Eating out is becoming engrained in the UK culture and Nando’s is the fiery hot choice of millennials ahead of Just Eat in second place, Domino’s, Pizza Express and Five Guys. Nando’s is an extremely popular choice for its ‘cheeky Nando’s’ connotations and restaurant experience. Although respondents love the chicken and spices, food is no longer the sole element that makes dining out a memorable experience for this group. They are looking towards casual dining, offering a more relaxed and diverse ambience with increased flexibility, similar to that of Nando’s where diners can order and pay, then eat and leave as they wish.

Sharing their experiences on social media is common and millennials have FOMO if they don’t join their friends eating out, so they are looking for alternative ways to save money, becoming the norm with diners. Over two thirds of UK consumers use discounts and promotional offers when eating out and more than a quarter of Brits will only dine at restaurants that offer promotions, with figures rising among millennials.

This is also apparent in the case of Santander, which was voted favourite bank by the millennial group. The student segment of respondents enjoyed Santander’s student account deals, free four year rail card and overdraft which help their studies and lifestyle.

Be human

If you take a look at any successful business, browse through Twitter posts or attend a marketing event, the need for a ‘human’ approach towards consumers is blindingly apparent. This incentive appeared in the market research when the group voted for their favourite travel brand.

Millennials want to holiday with Airbnb as they vote the travel company their favourite brand in the category. Winning over 1 in 6 of respondents, Airbnb was followed by airline Thomas Cook in 2nd place, Skyscanner, Tui and Mum’s favourite airline brand EasyJet in 5th place.

Airbnb has changed the way in which customers enjoy their holidays and is challenging competitors in what it takes to be travel brand, transforming the experience completely. Millennials describe the company as “unique”, “human” and “experiential”, as the brand pushes its focus on making its destinations a ‘home away from home’ and to not just go there, live there.

It’s not just about the place to stay but the experiences their customers encounter as Airbnb lead ‘discovery’ with Airbnb Experiences. Appeal to consumers by offering them the human side of your brand.

Danielle Gamage is PR and marketing executive at TLC Marketing.

Marketing Retail Travel & Leisure

Content by The Drum Network member:

TLC Marketing UK

TLC – A rewarding company

We live by a simple philosophy – create campaigns that are rewarding for our clients, not only in terms of business but also in the experience of working with us.

These campaigns are of course rewarding for customers, who get to enjoy experiences and services they really value, at a fraction of the true cost - and for our partners who benefit from new customers and increased exposure.

So wherever in the world you meet TLC - in the boardroom, on the supermarket shelves or at the end of a phone, we aim to make it an especially rewarding experience.

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