By  on April 19, 2007

A ranking of Gen-Yers' favorite brands from Outlaw Consulting, a creative research firm in San Francisco that follows the habits of 21- to 27-year-olds, indicates what this generation represents: young, environmentally conscious consumers who may like fashion — but love a good bargain even more. The firm asked respondents which companies they trusted and respected most. Outlaw argues these brands represent the generation's trends — "clean + simplicity = hip" and "dorky is the new cool," while brands such as Apple show that Gen-Yers love reinvention. "These are the top brands whose values align with those of the generation — in their core philosophy, they really get what youth is about, and therefore are viewed by Gen-Yers as authentic and real, in terms of who they are and what they're trying to achieve," said Barbara Bylenga, Outlaw's president.

APPLE

Percentage of respondents who strongly agreed this was a more respectable brand than others: 60.9

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple reigns supreme in the eyes of those surveyed, especially because of its simplicity. "Simplicity is more than just an issue of convenience or design," said the report. "It actually delivers hipness to a brand. A company that is inconvenient or confusing, uses overdesigned imagery or provides too many choices is more than just annoying — it is seen as out of touch and 'corporate.'" Respondents also pointed to the brand's clean image — Apple's products are stripped-down, with very little adornments. "Apple's computers and iPods are so clean and simple and easy to use," said one respondent. "No excess."

TRADER JOE'S

Percentage: 57.4

The grocery chain started in 1958 as a small convenience store chain, and today there are 250 locations across the country. Trader Joe's is known for placing hard-to-find, great-tasting foods on its shelves — all at low prices. "Some of [this generation's] favorite brands aren't cool at all — in fact, some of them are downright dorky," said the report. One respondent commented on the Monrovia, Calif.-based company's image, "They wear these tacky Hawaiian shirts and publish that ridiculous newsletter. But it's their own style. And it's so much more inviting than the normal rigid grocery store."

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