brand loyalty

The Brand Loyalty Of Generation X

Consumers like certain brands. They develop a trust that the brand’s products are of the right quality and a good value. That trust, along with other positive emotions, causes consumers to develop brand loyalty, where they tend to buy certain products from particular brands now and into the future. How brand loyalty works depends on many factors, age and status in life being two.

It is critical to understand how a particular generation develops brand loyalty. The insights gained by this understanding make marketing to the generation in question much easier. Let’s look at Generation X for example.

What Makes Generation X (Gen X) Unique?

Generation X is usually defined as those born between 1965 and 1980. This generation sits between the much larger Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. Because they are smaller than those two generations, many marketers forget they exist.

Members of Generation X straddle a critical divide. They remember times when Internet access wasn’t the norm. They grew up with a more traditional business model. However, they also came of age at the beginning of the Internet revolution. They have adapted quite well, using the Internet in many of the same ways their younger Millennial siblings do. By straddling this critical divide, Gen X feels comfortable in both traditional and digital markets.

How To Develop Content To Build Customer Loyalty 

Opinions of Gen X vary greatly. As Gen X came of age, they were called slackers, loners, and apathetic. However, as Gen X emerged into adulthood, the descriptions changed. They are often called independent, dedicated, savvy, and innovative. Many of this generation grew up as “latchkey” kids, coming home to an empty house because both parents worked.

Because they came of age during a time of high unemployment and a stagnant economy, Generation X tends to be skeptical and cautious, with a bit of cynicism thrown in. They also look for lower price, high value options that are convenient.

Generation X and Brand Loyalty

In June 2015, CrowdTwist conducted an online survey of just over 1200 North American consumers between the ages of 18 and 69. Approximately 1/3 of the people who participated in the survey were part of Generation X. The results of this survey provided critical insights into how Generation X develops brand loyalty and how brands can retain that loyalty.

Due to this generation’s built in skepticism, brands have to work to gain their loyalty. High quality products and excellent customer services are two components that members of Generation X value. They also want brands that are authentic and trustworthy. They must be relevant and stay relevant. Brands must prove they have value. Marketing pitches and overt salesy advertising are two things that turn members of Gen X against certain products.

The good news is that Gen X tends to stick with the brands they love. Almost 50% of Gen X survey participants indicated they are extremely loyal or quite loyal to their favorite brands. Only 14.6% said they are quite willing or moderately willing to try new brands.


If you are targeting Generation X, you need to understand what it values if you want to develop brand loyalty with this age group. They can be cynical, skeptical and cautious. That requires a company to prove their authenticity and relevance. Gen X wants high value, cost effective options. They expect good quality products at affordable prices. They also love it when these deals are easy to find and easy to purchase.

Once your brand earns the loyalty of a Gen X member, that person is likely to remain a loyal customer for years to come.

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how to tell your brand story

What Is The Brand Development Process?

Branding is more than just creating a logo and slapping it on a website or the side of a van. Brand is about a consumer’s perception of your company. A positive perception means that a customer has a sense of quality, value and trust in your company. A negative perception means the opposite. Connecting emotional with a brand takes dedication, a brand leader and relentless following the style guides rules and guidelines. That is why you need to understand the brand development process and how to do it successfully.

Brand development is a multi-stage process with the ultimate goal of building brand equity in a consumer’s mind. Brand equity is an intangible set of assets that cannot be tracked on a balance sheet. But, the value of that equity is the most valuable asset a company can own. Think about Kraft, Amazon, Apple, Will Ferrell or Servpro. What emotional ties do you have with these brands?

The Brand Development Process

Developing a brand must be part of the larger marketing plan for the company. It is often the biggest challenge but the most critical. You don’t have to invest millions to develop your brand, but making the effort will pay off.

The Brand Development Process Demystified 

Determine what you are branding

You can brand almost anything. The most common things are a person, a company, a product or a service. A critical part of the branding process is determining exactly what you are branding, positioning the brand, what you are promising with your brand, your story, and your elements and style. This process can be overwhelming, but with the help of a marketing team, you can make it happen.

Research your target market

Marketing research into your target market is critical for effective brand development. It is a step that many startups overlook because they think they know their audience. The reality is that, professional market research will give you critical insights into who the target is, what they like/dislike, what their challenges are, and how you can help them. As I have been doing this for 30 years, not ONE company has ever properly realized their target audience upon the first meeting.

Compile your brand definition

The next step is developing a clear brand definition. This definition can be in the form of a story or statement that clearly reflects what your brand is all about. Your marketing team will help you define what you are offering, how your target audience will benefit from it, what guarantees you offer, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) is. Remember to ask the question, what can this brand do or stand for that no other brand can say?

Create your name, tagline and logo

Giving your company a name, a tagline and a logo is the fun part of brand development. But, it is not something you should do without careful thought. Your marketing team can help you determine what name, tagline and logo will resonate with your audience. Nike’s Just Do It! has become a staple of a strong statement just as “It’s Finger Lickin Good” or “Just like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is there”.

Launch the brand

With all the elements in place, it is time to launch the brand. That means creating your first products, offering your services, or making a name for yourself. It could mean many things to many brands like digital campaigns, radio spots, drip campaigns, demographic targeting, print or even showing up at tradeshows. On the surface that sounds easy, but there are many moving gears that need to align to keep the marketing moving forward. The good news is that with all the prep work you did before, your launch will have a great foundation.

Manage the brand

With good up-front work, your brand launch will be successful, gaining momentum as you provide consistent service and quality. Even with a successful launch, you will still need to manage your brand going forward. That is why you need a dedicated team, always monitoring your company’s reputation, doing continuing research, and updating the brand as the market evolves. This step is one that is most ignored when things are running well, but is most important.

Read more on 10 Rules Of Brand Development

These steps will help you and your marketing experts develop a strong brand. The full brand development process takes time. But, look at it as an investment in the company’s future, one that will pay off with dividends for years to come.

I always tell individuals that if your air conditioner breaks, you hire a professional that does it everyday to find the problem and find a cost efficient way of solving the issue. The same theory can be applied to marketing and developing a brand. Marketing companies do it everyday, know the shortfalls and successes, and will have it launched months or years before you could on your own.

Learn The StoryBranding Process

Creating A Brand To Become President

Whether you are a fan of politics or prefer to stay on the side lines, the race for the presidency has always been about strategy and timing. This election has broken many barriers, but one thing for certain is that both candidates have established a presidential brand. Read more

seven steps to launching a packaging brand

Seven Steps To Launching A Packaging Brand

Stevens & Tate Marketing is proud to announce the launch of a new product called Truly Supplements. It just landed on the shelves of Walgreens this week, and I am so proud of our team for launching the brand. We have launched countless brands for Aldi and Walgreens with our proven brand development process. Here are the seven steps to launching a packaging brand. Read more

4 Lessons Hollywood Can Teach Brands About Winning Big Audiences

David Messinger | AdWeek | November 15, 2015

For decades, marketing has been predicated on interrupting someone else’s content. Now, as marketers continue to explore creating content that people want to watch for its own sake, there are many useful lessons to learn from Los Angeles’ entertainment community.

This observation isn’t to naively suggest that marketers and content creators share the same playbook. They don’t. After all, marketers develop marketing content to distinguish their brands from the rest of the pack and to drive sales. For these marketers, “content” is the means to an end. On the other hand, content creators aim for stellar box office returns, strong ratings and sold-out ticket sales. For the entertainment industry, their “content” (and its ancillary extensions) is the unequivocal end itself.

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brand strategy

Share Your Message With A New Brand Strategy

Brands fight to gain attention. Brands need communication without words. Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark as opposed to a trademark.

Products have life cycles, but brands outlive products. Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Brands are valuable.

Without branding, there is no differentiation. Without differentiation, there is no long-term profitability. People don’t have relationships with products, they develop relationships with brands.

Read more

Basics of Branding

The Basics of Branding

John Williams | Entrepreneur | November 13, 2015

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be. Read more

disney effective marketing strategies

Effective Marketing Strategies We Can Learn From Disney

Did you know that Walt Disney spends 600 million on media marketing each year? This is NOT Walt Disney but the motion picture studio. However, it has garnered them 1.84M Twitter Followers and 13M Facebook Likes which kills everyone including Warner Bros. Pictures, Universal Studios, 20th Century, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Lions gate. Disney beats out everyone so bad that the closest group is Universal studios at 2.7M Facebook Likes. Read more

How small businesses, associations, and other B-2-B organizations can embrace brand advocates

With the explosion of social media, more and more consumer organizations are successfully taking advantage of brand advocacy to promote their brands. For small businesses, associations, and other B-2-B organizations, this may seem a bit more challenging—as tangible products more easily develop the level of fanaticism necessary to cultivate advocacy. But that doesn’t mean that brand advocates don’t exist for this market—or that they are any less important. They just might be a bit harder to identify. However, understanding the six brand advocate archetypes, and the best ways to embrace them, can have significant benefits for your organization.

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P&G Pushes Design in Brand-Building Strategy

As in-store marketing grows in importance and marketers focus more at winning over consumers at the shelf, one discipline is seeing its star rise: design.

No less a giant than has incorporated design into its comprehensive brand-building function under the group headed by Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard. After initially carving design shops out of its new “Brand Agency Leader” model for managing and paying marketing-services shops, P&G now increasingly includes them in the system, in which lead creative agencies essentially function as general contractors over other marketing services shops.

A Fresh Approach
P&G Global Design Officer Phil Duncan sees the Febreze Home Collection and Pantene“s new line of products as an example of the sorts of design-intensive initiatives that are growing business. The growing importance of the store has been central to Mr. Pritchard”s “store back” concept, in which all marketing ideas need to prove their mettle by whether they work at the shelf. And bringing design into the brand-building organization is a key part of implementing that strategy.

A study last year by Nielsen Co.”s Bases unit found in-store marketing clearly beats TV as the leading medium creating awareness of new package goods in the U.S. and five other key developed markets. About half of consumers in Bases” survey cited in-store as their source of awareness of new products, vs. only a third citing TV. Peel the onion further, and it turns out of that half of consumers who became aware of products for the first time in store, 71% became aware simply by seeing them on the shelf. And what drives that shelf awareness is the package.

Early gains
It”s been less than a year since P&G incorporated design into the global brand-building organization, so the initiatives it”s started to develop under the new system haven”t hit stores yet.

But Mr. Duncan sees the Febreze Home Collection as an example of the sorts of design-intensive initiatives, with product, packaging and marketing seamlessly aligned, that the new order can help bring. Designers spent time in consumers” homes and boutiques, segmenting consumers by home-decor preferences and developing fragrance and decorative ranges for each segment that include battery-powered flameless luminaries with changeable scented shades, along with reed diffusers, scented candles and room spays. The initiative has helped P&G add two share points in air fresheners since launching last year.

Bigger ideas are critical, because designers at P&G and other package-goods companies are staring at two huge dilemmas these days.

First, even as in-store marketing becomes more important, big retailers have been putting more restrictions on it as they adopt or toughen “clean store” policies that restrict use of displays and point-of-purchase advertising. That makes the role of the package that much more important, but the second dilemma is that under the banner of sustainability, retailers and consumers are also pressuring marketers to make their packages smaller.

“It”s a constant challenge,” Mr. Duncan said, “but one that makes design so critical.”

Big ideas
His solution to the problems is far more easily said than done: Come up with better ideas. When retailers see big ideas, they tend to give them more space, he said, so the challenge is coming up with big ideas that work in the store. “We”re really asking our communications agencies,” he said, “to vet [their] idea first in store, because that often can be the most challenging environment for us to communicate that idea.”

The clean-store movement is one Mr. Duncan supports, because he believes “the pendulum had swung too far to everyone trying to break through, which meant nothing breaks through.” Less-cluttered stores also mean the payoff for a big design idea that gets a green light from retailers can be all that much bigger, because shoppers see fewer competing marketing programs in the store.

Having more design impact with less space, less cost and less environmental impact is a classic “design thinking” challenge, Mr. Duncan said.

For Pantene, whose last restage didn”t go over so well with consumers, a “design thinking” session was the start of the solution, Mr. Duncan said. Design thinking, which includes heavy doses of consumer co-creation and prototyping concepts, helped lead to a lineup hitting stores in June in the U.S. and early 2011 in Europe that will include 25% fewer items, considerably less packaging material and cost, and more prominently color-coded packages that delineate product ranges for different hair needs.

“We”re paying attention, finally, to the things that matter to consumers, and stripping out the things that don”t, as well as thinking about footprints across the franchise,” Mr. Duncan said.

Herbal Essences
Five years ago, P&G began applying a similar “design thinking” approach to another hair-care brand in trouble: Herbal Essences. P&G took a team to its offsite Clay Street facility in Cincinnati”s impoverished but architecturally rich Over-the-Rhine neighborhood for what Mr. Duncan calls “design thinking on steroids.”

Pantene”s new line of products
The result was the launch in 2006 of a dramatically different look and product lineup that ultimately made Herbal Essences a survivor in the battle with L”Oréal”s Garnier Fructis and Unilever”s then-upstart, now largely vanquished brand Sunsilk.

But design thinking isn”t just about turning around hair-care brands. P&G is also applying it to a broad range of business issues. The decision to reorganize P&G”s beauty care and grooming marketers along women”s and men”s lines rather than product category lines, for example, also culminated from a design-thinking session, Mr. Duncan said.

For just about any problem, design thinking now can be a solution at P&G, he said. So Mr. Duncan spends a lot of time in meetings looking for problems, specifically ones he believes a design-thinking session could help solve.

Mr. Duncan is perhaps the highest-level outsider that traditionally promote-from-within P&G has recruited, though he wasn”t entirely an outsider. He started his career with P&G with four years in brand management before becoming a design executive for 13 years, ultimately with P&G shop Landor Associates, including a stint heading the Cincinnati office and the P&G account.

For design, he sees a lot of potential both for improving efficiency and breaking new ground in marketing.

So he”s in the process of helping P&G winnow a large palette of package colors built up from years of product launches by 30% to 40%. And he sees opportunities for electronic inks and other digital and packaging technologies to create breakthroughs in in-store marketing, like displays where each package becomes a component in a big-screen presentation not unlike an electronic billboard.

“You always have to be looking at frontiers of innovation for ideas,” he said. “It”s kind of like haute-couture fashion. It”s eventually going to come in. You may not recognize it in the same form, but it”s going to be there.”

To read this article from Advertising Age in its entirety, click here.

Want to learn more the process of storybranding? Download an excerpt from Jim Signorelli’s book on storybranding!