Don’t brand me – the Millenial brand challenge

Much has been written of the Millennial generation and their attitudes towards brands.  Whilst they’re highly brand aware, they tend to identify with brands that demonstrate authentic values.  Hence the rise of the idea brand over luxury or glamour based offerings. And, as an increasingly narcissistic group who are more interested in their own lives than those of anyone else (hey, it’s selfie time!), brands such as Tom’s Shoes, that offer experience and personalisation, are winning.

This poses a threat for those brands that have built their success on lifestyle aspiration, demonstrated through conspicuous branding (think about the troubles Abercrombie has faced in recent years and you get the picture).  Indeed, Nikki Baird of research firm RSR recently suggested “Victoria’s Secret may be next” when it comes to brands that Millennials will uncrown, as what the brand stands for falls wide of the mark in terms of Millenials preferences (think ‘Perfect Body’ idealism, think minimal diversity, think PINK logos).

While some brands are responding with less conspicuous branding (in fact, this is a noticeable part of Abercrombie’s current approach) and alignment with causes that project positive values and ethics, one has to wonder whether they will ultimately have the flexibility to make it through the Millenials ‘authenticity radar’.   Perhaps a case of too little, too late?