Brands: Ignore Belonging at Your Own Risk


Let’s face it: Marketing is undergoing a fundamental change right now—and the metrics brands use to measure effectiveness in the marketplace must change too.

When was the last time your brand was able to quantify the sense of belonging it brings to your customers?

Here’s why it’s important to bring a metric like that into the conversation:

Legacy brand marketers who have made a mint marketing to baby boomers and Generation Xers are dealing with a completely different animal with millennials, and they don’t know what to do. Some marketers call millennials lazy, elusive, nonbrand loyalists, when the reality is, it’s the marketers who can’t figure out how to connect with them.

The truth? Millennials are widely misunderstood. There are plenty of brands that millennials love. Those brands “get” millennials on a deep level, and those brands are creating very strong connections based on a sense of belonging—an area that has not been studied or measured with traditional, legacy brand metrics.

Instruments we’ve used in the past, while they worked effectively to segment and understand boomers and Gen Xers, don’t apply to millennials. Millennials have different values, and the brands that are already popular with them embody those differentiating values. This is really hard for legacy brands to embrace. It’s like turning a cruise ship on a dime. New brands, however, come in already built for today’s landscape, and are kicking ass.

So how do you make an older brand, built on traditional metrics, more modern?

It starts with our proprietary tool, the Brand JuJu Index.

After scaling a mountain of modern audience research about new marketing programs that exceeded business expectations, we noticed a commonality. The same disruptive ideas were showing up in multiple studies, scoring high as differentiators for millennials versus other generations.

Let’s take, for example, the idea that a brand should stand for something; that it should advance a societal debate. One of the nine drivers in the Brand Juju Index is Belonging—defined by how a brand connects people to a common belief or community that’s bigger than the product it makes. Ranking lower in similar studies is the idea that a brand’s core should center on features and benefits—the model that legacy brands have traditionally used to target Gen Xers and boomers.


Image of millennials planting trees


The Brand JuJu Index takes Belonging and other newer ideas into consideration, and places them in context, within our proprietary algorithm alongside other older, established drivers. The secret sauce is in the Brand Juju math—it reveals how both newer and older ideas put together in the right way, form a modern, comprehensive view of a brand. The traditional method doesn’t account for the choose-your-own-adventure nature of the modern customer journey.

Modern marketing is like pinball machine. The brand is the ball and the consumer bounces the brand around the playfield, while bumpers ricochet the brand around with unpredictable results.

Without Brand JuJu, a conversation about measuring coupon redemption happens separately from the conversation about social media. The Brand JuJu Index puts these factors side by side in the same category, because in this new marketing landscape, the two concepts absolutely impact each other.

This is the shift. It’s tough for some brands to make the shift because it’s too different and they don’t know where to start—these are the brands that call millennials elusive and not brand loyal.

We created the Brand JuJu Index because it’s reflective of how we think, and we put a rigorous research process in place to bear that out—to understand what the most important problems and opportunities are for each specific brand.

Find out what keeps you in play—and what takes you out of play. Learn more about the Brand JuJu Index.




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