The “most improved brand” among millennials is a eyebrow-raising pick

If you’re a CEO firefighting multiple scandals and getting constant write-ups in the press about your iffy business practices, then I have some good news for you. As long as your product is good enough, it turns out the rest doesn’t matter all that much — at least among American millennials.

The “most improved brand” among millennials is a eyebrow-raising pick

The YouGov BrandIndex results are in for the first half of 2017, and the most-improved brand among millennials is Uber. Yes, the same Uber where the former CEO was caught on camera shouting at one of his drivers. Yes, the same Uber that Apple almost kicked off the App Store for breaking Apple T&Cs about spying on former users. Yes, the same Uber that is perpetually dogged with accusations of systemic sexual harassment. Yes, that Uber. The one where scandal is as common as a morning coffee.

It turns out there really is no such thing as bad publicity. I might go out and steal candy from a baby on my lunch break.the_most_improved_brand_amongst_millennials_is_a_eyebrow-raising_pick_2

To be clear, this isn’t the kind of survey where people are asked their view on a brand: YouGov’s BrandIndex works on a far more practical level – it measures loud actions, rather than quiet words, counting the number of people who have used 1,500 brands in the past 60 days. And in the US at least, Uber is the most improved: 25.5% of American millennials have used Uber in the past 60 days, up 8.2% from the same period last year.

As my colleague Vaughn (himself a millennial) wrote when writing up yet another Uber scandal, convenience ultimately trumps brand dislike. This view is matched by BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli, who told AdWeek: “I’m not saying millennials are not concerned about ethics, but people in the aggregate tend to make choices that are in their financial interests. So if taking Uber is more economical or convenient than waiting for a cab, I’m probably still going to call Uber.”

Second place was Instagram, which saw 44.7% of millennials using it – up 6% on last year, the same growth seen by Uber rival Lyft (albeit from 6.2% to 12.3%). Other tech risers included Snapchat (up 5.6%), Twitter (up 4.3%), WhatsApp (up 3.9%), Spotify (up 3.7%) and Airbnb (up 2.9%).

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