Millennials Continue to Go to Bat for Nike As It Overhauls Corporate Culture

Millennials are trendsetting yet frugal, fiercely loyal yet driven to purchase by company values — and they also represent a significant chunk of today’s leading consumer force.

As brands continue to battle for this sought-after demographic, some winners are emerging. According to a new study by market research firm Morning Consult, they count Amazon, Nike and Target among their favorite brands.

The survey listed the 25 most-loved brands by young adults, with tech giants like YouTube, Google and Netflix topping the list. (It polled adults between 18 and 29 years old, who rated more than 1,000 brands.)

In retail, Amazon, which recently hosted its largest-ever Prime Day shopping event, landed at No. 4. Meanwhile, Target held the 11th spot — tied with Nike, which has recently struggled in the spotlight as of late.

In the past few months, the athletic behemoth has seen a string of high-profile departures and allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior. As the firm works to reform its corporate culture and address concerns over wage inequity, this week it announced its decision to increase the salaries of 10 percent of its employees starting this month.

Despite the tumultuous few months, Nike has moved quickly in addressing its issues, including laying out new initiatives aimed at promoting inclusivity and representation for women and people of color at the executive level.

As it appears, more than half of millennials surveyed by Morning Consult still believe that Nike has strong, positive values. Forty-eight percent of those who agreed with the statement cited that the Swoosh boasts a well-run business with a history of good customer service, while 20 percent of consumers indicated that Nike has values they support and 19 percent added that the company possesses good ethics.

To young adults, the positive treatment of employees is key. (Fifty-one percent of respondents said that they would better like a company if it paid its workers fairly.) Additionally, the cohort shared that they prefer companies involved in charitable efforts, and they are also much less likely than previous generations to care about whether their goods are manufactured and produced domestically.

“Millennials prefer distinctive shopping opportunities and derive value from the experiential… They expect retailers to meet their needs with precision,” Morning Consult CEO and cofounder Michael Ramlet wrote in the report. “From the shoes they wear to the coffee they Instagram, brand choices are increasingly used to project values in public and online, elevating the need for brands themselves to be value-conscious.”

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