Gen Z & Millennials Think These 7 Brands Are Cooler Than Apple

Our youth brand tracker reveals 15 of the coolest brands right now, according to Gen Z and Millennials…

Earlier this year, Under Armour came under fire from shareholders for allegedly committing a fatal brand sin: becoming uncool. The brand had to defend itself against the accusations that young consumers no longer saw it as cool and innovative, and though we found that Gen Z and Millennials weren’t abandoning the athletic wear giant, the rumors cast a dark cloud over their future prospects.

Such is the power of coolness—especially in the world of youth brands. Brands across industries are constantly chasing the concept, trying to infuse their products and personas with coolness by tapping into the latest trends, and battling to be considered the coolest one in the room. It’s an elusive competition—and the real winners right now might surprise you. Apple has long been considered the pinnacle of cool brands, with young consumers clamoring for their products and proud to be considered Apple users. But are they the coolest brand in the eyes of young consumers?

Our youth brand tracker Ybrands, which launched in January of this year, has collected over 51,000 interviews that tell us how young consumers feel about more than 300 brands. We’ve previously looked at their favorite food brands, personal care brands, and the clothing brands they think are the coolest—but how do brands across various industries stack up against one another in terms of coolness? We looked at the most recent data to see who Gen Z and Millennial consumers think are most cool, right now:

*Ybrands measures young consumers’ relationships with a brand based on a weighted 6-point scale, ranging from “Never heard of this brand” to “This brand is one of my favorites.” As part of Ybrands’ “Brand Personality” metric, we also ask respondents “Which of the following are cool?” These are the top brands that were rated “cool,” among those who are aware of the brand. The brands on this list are among the 271 brands included in the brand tracker as of 10/9. Rankings are subject to change as more brands are added and removed. 

Though Apple consistently ranks as a top favorite brand among young consumers, and actually ranks as the top innovative brand among 13-36-year-olds according to Ybrands data, there are actually seven brands that are considered more cool right now: Nike, Netflix, YouTube, Snapchat, Doritos, Jordan, and Instagram. Nike is at the top of the coolest brand list. They also took the crown in the coolest clothing brand ranking earlier this year, and made the top of our list of logos that young consumers would actually want to wear—but their place on the top of this list shows that their clout beats out even hot brands in other categories. Interestingly though, Nike’s cool score isn’t the highest among all age groups:

Nike ranks as the top cool brand among 18-36-year-olds, but among 13-17-year-olds it drops to number three. Instead Axe reigns as the top cool brand among teens, followed by YouTube. Even more interestingly, Apple doesn’t make the top ten amongst this group.

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day:  Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.”—Kate McManus, VP of Marketing, Delicato Family Wines (Wine Spectator)

Young consumers are “killing the shopping spree.” Whether they’re signing up for the growing number of clothing subscription services (Rent the Runway, Le Tote, Urban Outfitters, etc.), shopping second-hand, or just culling their closets—young shoppers are quitting fast fashion in droves. Some are inspired by Marie Kondo’s joy-sparking brand of minimalism, while others want to help the environment—and still others are just seeking a wide range of things to wear at a lower price. (Vice)

Airbnb is launching “adventures” for experience-seeking young travelers. The site that started with accommodations and moved into one-off “experiences” (like dinner parties) now offers multi-day excursions, complete with guides, gear, meals, and accommodations. The platform already features over 200 trips in 40 countries, including a tiger-tracking expedition in Kenya and a trek through the canyons of Oman. (Fast Company)

Tyson Foods is taking on the fake meat market with plant-based nuggets. The pea protein nuggets are the first in a line of “Raised & Rooted” products from Tyson Foods. The brand's CEO explains they’re catering to the “growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein”—aka young flexitarians, not full-time vegans. But can a company known for its meat sell the idea that “this [trend] is about ‘and’—not ‘or’”? (The Verge)

Snapchatters can shop Levi’s new Pride Month jacket via selfie filter. The Shoppable feature is first enabled by scanning a QR code found at select stores or by getting a special Snapcode from a friend. Then, users can try on the special-edition trucker jacket via augmented reality, customizing it with one of two washes and a selection of six pins and patches. Once they complete the look, users can purchase the Pride Month Jacket—without ever leaving the app. (SJ)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition revamps the original. The new smart speakertakes many cues from the adult version’s second generation (it’s louder and rounder) but adds special features just for kids that go beyond a rainbow-striped color scheme. The device will come with a year of FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that includes popular Alexa skills like Pinkfong’s Baby Shark Adventures, as well as an enhanced parental control suite to address growing privacy concerns. (VarietyCNET)

Quote of the Day: “Young people still have an incredible interest in the Olympic Games…But the way they are consuming the Olympic Games—the type of content they are watching and the ways and the platforms on which they are watching—are fundamentally changing.”—Kit McConnell, Sports Director, International Olympic Committee (Bloomberg)

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