NEW YORK: Brands can build loyalty among younger customers by appealing to the group's interest in tech and pop culture, but should also take care to treat them seriously, a new report has advised.

These are the key findings in the "Hashtag Nation: Marketing to the Selfie Generation" study from Havas Worldwide, the media agency network, which questioned 10,574 consumers aged 16 and over in 29 markets around the world.

It found that younger consumers are much more willing to invite the brands they like into their daily lives via social media.

Nearly half say brands are "essential" to them – a view shared by only a quarter of respondents aged 55 or more – and 60% consider brands to be "an important part of the creative content online".

But the report also warns brands that they should not take younger consumers for granted because four in ten of those aged 16 to 34 feel brands do not take their generation seriously enough.

Pop culture, especially American pop culture, is also an important feature for this generation. Far more than older generations, pop culture helps form 51% of their personalities and 50% of their attitudes, the report suggested.

"What's particularly encouraging about this study is that the data point to a real sense of partnership between young people and brands," said Andrew Bennett, global CEO of Havas Worldwide and Havas Creative Group.

"Brands rely on youth not just for what's in their wallets, but for what's in their heads and hearts – their creative input, their enthusiastic evangelism, their energy," he added.

"It's a relationship built on mutual interests and trust – and it's up to brands not to break that bond by being disingenuous or failing to keep their promises."

Technology is another element that drives engagement between brands and young consumers, whose favourite brands are Samsung, Google, YouTube, PayPal and Facebook.

But the report also states that, regardless of which sector they operate in, companies can become a tech brand as long as their marketers use digital technologies to provide new and innovative experiences for this generation.

Data sourced from Havas Worldwide; additional content by Warc staff