In my last blog, “College Marketing: The Rise of Social Activism Among the Youth Part I“, I examined the increase in social activism among Millennials and explored some of the reasons behind this trend. In this blog I want to further discuss why companies should care about this shift toward a more societally active youth.
Young adults and teens want to contribute to the world and their community. A study conducted by dosomething.org found that “93% of young people are interested in volunteering; just over 54% of those surveyed had done so. The gap represents opportunity and untapped potential”. This demonstrates that the majority of young people have already taken action to help organizations and causes, while 39% of young people would like to volunteer their time, but have yet to do so.
If you are a nonprofit organization that relies on volunteers, consider having a college marketing and youth marketing campaign to generate awareness and recruit contributors. Reaching college students and teenagers early in life will help your company gain support and can translate into lifetime involvement. The youth will start out volunteering their time and later as they enter the workforce, they might provide monetary support to the cause as well. Collegiate marketing and direct youth marketing will expose your organization to your target audience and capture this untapped potential.
For-profit companies should also pay attention to this rise in social activism among the youth, as it represents change and opportunity. Young people believe in their power to influence others and invoke change. This extends to products and brands as well; in fact, an Edelman study revealed that “Millennials are alpha-influencers: Seven in 10 believe it is their responsibility to share feedback with brands when they have a good or bad experience”.
Due to Millennials’ influential power, companies need to foster a favorable image with the youth that aligns with company values. A recent Cheerios commercial—featuring an interracial couple—gained large support among Millennials:
The ad spiked Cheerios’ online branding 77%, and the brand has won kudos with many young consumers for making the decision to cast diversely and sticking with it. Lesson learned: Not only do Millennials appreciate representations of themselves and their diverse realities in the media, but they reward and remember brands that stick to their values even when being criticized (if those values align with their own worldview).
When advertising to students make sure to pick a cause they support. Controversial issues might work well in garnering attention and gaining support among young adults and teens, if your company takes the progressive stance; by doing so, your company will gain students’ respect for your bold initiative. However, if your company makes a stance that jives with Millennials’ philosophy, they’ll speak out against it. When marketing to the youth, carefully select your causes and follow through.
In my next blog, College Marketing: The Increasing Rise of Social Activism Among the Youth Part 3, I will demonstrate ways in which brands can implement cause marketing tactics when marketing to college students and teens.
 Read more: The Power of Volunteers http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/201663/the-power-of-volunteens.html#ixzz2W86r5YFQ
 Read More: Recent Lessons in Marketing to Millennials