Major Brands Alter Positioning to Attract Younger Consumers

Younger consumers are cut from a different cloth – or at least one that’s much more transparent than their forbears. They know exactly what they want from the world, and from brands, and they’re very vocal about it online. This requires brands to switch up their strategies, and oftentimes alter their entire brand positioning, to keep pace with changes. And many fail at the attempt.

Let’s look at four brands that are changing with the times, and how your brand can do the same and the social sentiment that supports each!

Understanding Consumer Attraction

Today, we see social causes and sustainability looming large amongst online consumer concerns. And this is particularly true of the younger generations – millennials and Gen Z.

ocial causes and sustainability looming large amongst online consumer concerns direct brand positioning

But brands mustn’t be concerned only with what’s happening today, but what’s on the horizon tomorrow. And social listening helps brands see which pieces of the conversation relate to them; the potential angles to pursue; and, also how they’re doing with these efforts in relation to other brands.

Dove Dives Right In

Dove is no newcomer to the ‘adapt and overcome’ mentality. Having been around for more than sixty years, it has some experience with marketing.

In the 1960s, Dove started using “real women” in its advertising. It was well ahead of its time with that move.

Dove real women ad from 1960s

Today, we see Dove capturing the hearts and minds of consumers with its self-esteem project.

“Our mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look—helping young people raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.”

Dove helping young people raise their self-esteem

Dove has partnered with experts in psychology, health and body image to ensure the program releases information, as well as parenting advice to help young people become the best version of themselves. And not just ‘here’ (wherever you are) – but everywhere:

Dove supporting empowerment

And not just women, but younger girls too, via the #GirlCollective. The campaign is driven by live events and a Facebook group.

Dove's girl collective

But online isn’t only made up of females, of course – the men are important too. And Gillette speaks to that audience in a way that resonates as well.


Gillett’s former tagline ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ was introduced 30 years ago and has been transitioning into #TheBestMenCanBe. They “have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man.”

Gillette promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man

And there’s quite a bit of conversation happening around it – difficult conversation. And Gillette isn’t shying away from any of it:

 Gillette popular terms in consumer conversation

If anything, they’re digging in, and working toward change. They showcase men and their accomplishments toward being better. They’re everyday Gillette users that are becoming the best version of themselves. These men are former addicts, those dealing with depression, or who work with troubled youth – and much more.

Gillette brand positioning in action with stories of real men transforming to be better selves

Gillette has positioned the brand as dreamers, with an eye toward a better tomorrow. And Unilever is doing the same, but coming at this ‘better world’ a bit differently . . .

Unilever’s Vision for Sustainable Living

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is in its ninth year and has helped billions around the world. It focused on climate change and has an overall goal to make sustainable living the norm for everyone. Several brands have joined the journey, including but not limited to Dove and Lipton.

Unlever brand positioning results

Unilever works toward three main goals:

  • Improving well-being and health through hygiene and improving nutrition
  • Reducing the environmental footprint by using different methods to decrease the greenhouse gas impact, promoting water use reduction, finding ways to cut back on waste and packaging and sourcing agricultural raw materials sustainability
  • Improving the livelihoods of millions by endorsing fairness in the workplace, enhancing opportunities for women and promoting inclusive businesses

Popular Items discussed about the brand speaks to those goals, and helps them differentiate in a crowd market:

Unilever Popular Items discussed about the brand speaks to those goals, and helps them differentiate in a crowd market

So far, we’e seen support for women, men and sustainability. Ben & Jerry’s rounds things out with a commitment to . . . everything. Inclusivity is a good way to sum it up!

Ben & Jerry’s Stands for Inclusivity

Much like Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s actively promotes many causes that they feel strongly about, which already puts them in the mindset of today’s youth. They cheer for social change in communities and teach others to value neighbors and those who supply, serve and interact with the public.

Ben and Jerry brand positioning cares about every issue

Justice, democracy, equality, fair trade and bringing the world together as one big community are only a fraction of issues that Ben & Jerry’s endorses.

Ben & Jerry’s believes in paying their suppliers their ‘fair share:’

Ben and Jerry fair share pricing

Also, they want an honest legal system, racial justice, a working democracy, peace-building and LGBT equality – and it would be easier to list things they don’t support, really.

Ben and Jerry online converation shows brand positioning is having desired effect

All of these items are mentioned in conjunction with the ice cream maker – and it’s not a bad place to be from a PR standpoint:

Ben and Jerry popular hashtags

And they support total transparency with product labeling, much like NetBase supports total transparency with analytics’ results!

Monitoring and analyzing both what competitors are doing and how to leverage these market changes to your advantage is crucial. So, are you keeping pace with the younger generations in any of the ways these top brands are?

And what are your competitors up to? You can be sure your target audience knows. Time to take a spin around all of that structured and unstructured insight up for grabs online and see what they’re saying about them . . . and about you! Reach out and we’ll show you how!

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