10 Biggest and 5 Most Surprising Brands ‘Friended’ by Millennials

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No alcohol here, sorry.

Recent studies have told us that the kids these days just aren’t really into brands on social media. WPP found that 55 percent of young Americans don’t see the point of “friending” a brand, and Edelman told us yesterday that a vast majority of consumers simply aren’t satisfied with the “relationships” they have with corporate entities online — even the ones whose products they buy.

Many brands, however, have managed to accumulate thousands, if not millions, of Millennial “fans.” Independent ad agency Moosylvania recently conducted a survey of 1,500 young people to identify the top 50 such brands, and we’ve reviewed the first 10 for this post.

  • 1. Nike
  • 2. Apple
  • 3. Samsung
  • 4. Sony
  • 5. Walmart
  • 6. Target
  • 7. Microsoft
  • 8. Coca-Cola
  • 9. Air Jordan
  • 10. Pepsi

No real surprises here. The most interesting thing we noticed about this list: the biggest gains came for Target, Air Jordan and Pepsi while the other seven essentially stayed where they were.

On the Pepsi side, we can attribute a good deal of that growth to spokesperson Mrs. Carter. Target’s jump came thanks to a renewed focus on digital despite all the bad publicity stemming from the data breach. And as much as we’d like to attribute Walmart’s win to its recent sustainability efforts, the shift is more likely due to the brand’s ubiquity and its increased presence on social.

Here are the five that surprised us most:

  • 1. HP: HP is a solid tech company, but it’s not sexy like Apple or Samsung and we can’t think of any projects it has  released in recent years. Its place on the list can’t be due to UGC ads like this one, right?!
  • 2. Chanel: Unlike Victoria’s Secret, Converse and other brands atop this list, Chanel is not known for being affordable. But it has made extensive efforts to expand its digital profile, most recently with a campaign featuring Tom Brady’s wife. In some cases, the value of a brand name can outweigh the price of its products.
  • 3. Bethesda/Valve: Of course the kids play video games, but the presence of these studios on the list shows that they also closely follow the companies that make the games — even the indies. These two scored higher than competitors on the strength of games like “Left 4 Dead” and the “Elder Scrolls” series — despite the fact that bigger names like EA and Rock Star Games have far more followers on all platforms.
  • 4. Honda: We all know that Millennials don’t drive. And Honda has never been a particularly edgy brand. But social promos with such “influencers” as Questlove and sponsorship of events like Austin City Limits can be very valuable. Just take a look at Honda’s latest ad to see who the company is targeting:
  • 5. Best Buy: Big box stores are dead…and everyone knows what a subtweet is, right? The second company that managed to squander the comedic talents of Amy Poehler (hi, Old Navy) has been aggressive with its multimedia social marketing campaigns, but Best Buy isn’t big on engagement. Its social media manager didn’t even bother to tell anyone who Isaac Mizrahi is.

Now for the generic part:

Moosylvania

Basically: cool it with the CTAs and the conversions. If your brand produces high-quality products, makes Millennials feel good, and entertains them, they will be more likely to share with their friends. And that’s where the real value lies.

The lists of biggest brands and socially conscious messaging winners are nearly identical. Not a coincidence.

In a way, this research confirms the Edelman study: self-promotion can only get you and your brand so far.