(Millennial) Men Only Want One Thing…

Beer… specifically, a beer brand that they can maintain a relationship with.

As a 20-something who celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this week, I’m reminded how we millennials impact the beer industry – especially on big holiday drinking events and occasions. According to the National Retail Federation, even with St. Patrick’s Day being on a Monday, Americans likely racked up a $255 million beer bar tab this year – and 77 percent of that bill will be from millennials.

It’s not news that big beer brands have been targeting millennial men; in fact, these brands are obsessed with them. Not only are these young men appealing because they tend to be in successful career fields and making decent, disposable cash – they are the beer category’s heaviest consumers. In addition, they are actually loyal customers forming lifelong brand preferences. The brands that they choose in their 20s will, by and large, be the ones they stick with the rest of their lives.

That being said, as in any relationship both parties need to work to keep it going. Guys need to work to purchase and brands need to work to keep these men interested in purchasing. With so many distractions and competitors constantly in their faces with the “next best thing,” it’s necessary to maintain a strong relationship through the brand.

BERA Brand Management compares brand loyalty to human relationships. Based on research they conducted, there are five stages of development that parallel human relationships: new, dating, love, boredom and divorce.

  1. New – Staying relevant and up-to-date with what’s trending with your target is crucial – whether it’s how they are consuming media or what they are interested in. Heineken Brand Director Belen Pamukoff stated, “The only way to connect with millennials is to inspire them and to talk about what they care about.”
  2. Dating – As hard as it is to believe, millennials are a very loyal generation – especially with beer brands. Milliennials will maintain a relationship with brands as long as they continue to receive functional, emotional and participative benefits.
  3. Love – How do brands get these men to love them? Let them be themselves and don’t mess with their “manliness.” (Like when they want fix something they have no idea how to fix.) Millennial men are fanatical about their independence, for example, so it’s important for brands to align themselves with this mindset. In comes the “Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World Campaign” – this mindset is something they can relate to.
  4. Boredom – Once a brand is no longer staying “fresh” to their target, and not providing the benefits they were receiving in the “dating” stage – your millennial man may start to have a wandering eye for other brands that are more relatable.
  5. Divorce – Ultimately, once the relationship has diminished, the customer will abandon the brand, and find one that fits them better. Hopefully it’s not a direct competitor! Or your best friend.

The gist of all of this is pretty simple. In their mid-20s, men are seeking out the brand they can connect with – they phase out those they are not compatible with and establish a relationship with one. Once they find their match, they will tie the knot and stick with it. So stay fresh and remember that these guys will stay loyal to you, as long as you continue to work to maintain that bond.