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.
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.