When you look at which national brands Millennials prefer, you can gather clues in how to position your bank or credit union.

On March 1, 2018, Business Insider released a story called, “Millennials reveal their top 100 favorite brands,” where ad agency, Moosylvania, analyzed 15,000 responses from millennials — age 17 to 37 — that the agency has collected over the last five years on their favorite brands.

See the top 100 bands, in order, here.

Top 10 Brands:

  1. Apple
  2. Nike
  3. Samsung
  4. Target
  5. Amazon
  6. Sony
  7. Wal-Mart
  8. Microsoft
  9. Coca-Cola
  10. Google


It should be no surprise that technology and innovation dominated Millennial top brands. Apple, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and Google represent half of the top ten brands.

You need to take a close look at all of your e-touchpoints.

  • Is your online loan application easy?
  • Your mobile banking app better rock!
  • Can people get everything done in one app, or do they need three or four?
  • Does your app require a time-consuming password, or does it open with thumbprint or facial recognition?
  • Your website better be slick. Easy to use. One click to any information. It should look like it was designed in 2018 … not 1998.
  • How do people get answers after-hours or on weekends?

A la Carte and Personalization

Millennials expect everything to be customizable. A great example is Coke (#9 on the list) and their “Share a Coke” project where each can has printed a different person’s name.

Take a look at how you position your products. Can you find a way to give the perception of providing more personalization with your financial products? Millennials do not want one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter products.

Reliability, Affordability and Convenience

Despite the Guess brand being #99 on the list, this is a more practical generation. Remember, most Millennials spent a large percentage of their life with the country in a financial downturn or recovery.

Brands like Amazon (#5) work because they are reliable, as affordable as running out to a local store, have a much larger variety of choices and you can do it from home. You can trust that you’ll receive your purchase quickly (in some cases within an hour!)

You’ve got to honestly judge yourself on reliability, affordability and convenience. How’s your fee structure? Do your customers see value in the fees or are they just a punishment? Read more about your fee structure here.


Any research on this generation will tell you that they are more globally-conscious. They want to do business with companies that they trust and that demonstrate mutual values.

I was a bit shocked to see Wal-Mart in the top ten, but to compete with Target (#4), they had to work on their image. Wal-Mart gave its workers a raise and has pledged to adopt more humane standards for the meat it sells.

Who Knew?

While the technology trend was obvious, there were a few branding surprises for this Gen Xer.

You might expect Starbucks to fall soundly in the top 10, but they came up short at #14. Facebook? Not in the top 100 list at all!

Traditionally, automakers fare well in brand research. But the first car manufacturer doesn’t show up until Ford at #16. And as another testament to reliability and affordability, Toyota (#22) beat out Chevrolet (27).

Other brands that fell far short of where I would have expected: Disney #20, McDonald’s #28, Netflix #43, Marvel #70 and Anheuser-Busch #94.

Three Last Factors

Scrolling through the top 100, a few other factors seem to help brands with Millennials.

Brands who partner with other trusted companies do well. Look at who you can partner with, locally, to help build each other’s reputations and business.

In some cases, nostalgia plays a roll, like Nintendo at #12. You can balance between technology and nostalgia. Banking has been around forever. There are few life milestones that aren’t affected by banking. I believe that we can bring back the feeling of banking-lore.

When it comes to marketing message, quirky and content work. Don’t overdo the quirky. The trick is to be just different enough to standout but not over-the-top weird. Shoot for eccentric.

Finally, this is the generation who had “helicopter mom’s” hovering above. They are the reason for “Baby on Board” signs. Now, as adults, they appreciate sound advice, and they look to you as the expert. Provide them with meaningful help while not always trying to sell them something.

By looking at the big brands that Millennials like, you can better position yourself to steal business from the big banks.

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