Contrary to popular thought, millennials are welcoming brand content with open arms.

Havas Worldwide recently conducted a study to determine how brands play a role in the lives of multiple generations. Focusing on young consumers from the ages 16 and older, 60 percent of respondents stated that the online creative content developed by brands is an important part of their lives. Considering that most brands have focused on just getting the attention of millennials, this statistic is important because it shows that millenials are not only paying attention to a brand’s content marketing but they hold it in high regard.

In a poll conducted by Brand Momentum, half of the youth respondents stated that they “welcome the brands into their lives.” This is a sharp contrast to baby boomers who were polled, with only 25 percent of them saying they saw those brands as a vital part of their life.

In the Brand Momentum poll, as well as a poll conducted by Mooslyvania, the combined list of top brands that millennials consider an important part of their lives are PayPal, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Sony, Samsung, Nike, and Wal-Mart.

The popularity of Nike amongst millennials isn’t surprising considering that the marketing team for the brand understands how to make campaigns stick and gain the most attention as possible. Trainer brands, such as Nike, put a large emphasis on exclusivity and that fuels demand from the millennial generation who want the most popular product first and customized just for them.

While Nike is not a surprising brand for millennials, one brand in particular on the list may have caught you by surprise: Wal-Mart. In actuality, Wal-Mart’s strong brand messaging to a younger audience has led to millennials being their largest customer base to date.

Over the last ten years, Wal-Mart has consistently kept its promise of low prices and promoting its commitment of American-made products. Also, Wal-Mart has committed to improving employee satisfaction and raising wages; progressiveness in a company that millennials are likely to support.

Growing up surrounded by big brand content marketing has caused millennials to develop strong relationships with brands they trust. But how do all brands develop this strong connection with millennials? Former executive vice president for BBDO North America, JoAnn Sciarrino, attributed the success of popular brands among millennials to something called brand attachment. Sciarrino described brand attachment as, “the emotional connection between humans and brand.”

There are three different elements of brand attachment marketers should consider when creating content aimed at their younger consumers:

  1. Affection – Millennials remain nostalgic about Nike due to their popular shoe line in the 90s, however the brand has maintained that affection while still staying modern.
  2. Connection – How Wal-mart has stayed true to their low prices for a generation that has been affected by a bad economy and growing student loans, while staying progressive when it comes to improving employee benefits.
  3. Passion – Millennials who are Apple enthusiasts are passionate about all Apple products, even when competing brands tout better technology and pricing.

Knowing those elements, should marketers today change their content strategy? According to information from the Brand Momentum study, they definitely should, especially considering that millennial consumers polled believe brands don’t take them seriously enough. The millennial generation and younger do have a desire to connect with brands, because they recognize the impact these brands have on their lives.

Do you have any thoughts about how millennials connect with brands today? Tweet us your thoughts at @lotus823 or leave a comment below!

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Connor Zazzo is a 20 year-old student-athlete and junior at The University of Tampa. He is currently studying Communications with a focus on advertising and public relations. While interning with lotus823 he looks forward to learning and improving his knowledge of digital marketing. Some of Connor’s hobbies include competing on the University’s swim team and lifeguarding at beaches along the Jersey Shore.

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