Texas grocer H-E-B clearly is sacred to Millennial Texans, as the regional brand stuck out among the demographic's 10 favorite brands – two of them also food retailers – in a new Best Perceived Brands by Millennials list from market researcher YouGov BrandIndex. What made it shine so bright? Its designation as the only regional brand next to nine nationally available brands, yet its high placement on the list.
At No. 3 – tying with Walmart, at roughly 74 percent, and outranking Amazon.com by about five percentage points – the San Antonio-based grocer’s ranking came from “out of nowhere” and is “pretty fascinating,” London-based YouGov BrandIndex reported. It ranked based on word of mouth (which brands were discussed in the past two weeks in-person or online) and “buzz” (whether the word of mouth was positive or negative) from more than 300,000 U.S. Millennials.
“H-E-B is doing a good job generating positive word of mouth among Millennials who have heard something positive about the brand in its relatively small geographic footprint,” said YouGov BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli. “It is a top performer on a small stage.”
But what makes H-E-B so hot with Texas Millennials that it causes more positive buzz in that region than brands available across the nation? It could be because H-E-B started as an underdog – and Millennial Texans love a tale in which the little guy takes on a giant and wins.
“They appreciate that H-E-B is a proverbial David-versus-Goliath story,” said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of the New York-based Strategic Resource Group and a longtime observer of the grocery industry. “While H-E-B started as one store, most of the supermarket chains it started against have since filed for bankruptcy or liquidation, including Minyards, Carnival and Handy Andy.”