In “College Marketing: The Rise of Social Activism Among the Youth Part 1” I discussed the behavioral shift among Millennials in seeking a more socially active role in society and explored some of the reasons behind this trend. In “College Marketing: The Rise of Social Activism Among the Youth Part 2” I explained why this increase in social activism among college students and teens affects companies and organizations, and why they should care. In this blog I will discuss ways in which brands can connect and engage the youth through cause marketing, and how this will impact companies in the future.
Consumers are demanding more from companies and “are increasingly looking to the private sector to solve problems”. As consumer expectations increase, marketers will need to reevaluate their approach. This might seem like a monumental undertaking—and that would be an accurate assessment—however, the rewards justify the effort: “According to a recent study by the firm Havas, it turns out that the brands that are considered more meaningful in our lives and communities also do better financially – outperforming the stock market by 120%”. It makes sense that brands that form connections with consumers and demonstrate their care for society, do well. They are showing through their actions—not just their words—that they care strongly about a cause; this fosters customer loyalty and increases customer satisfaction.
Millennials are one of the most difficult groups to market to, as they constantly expect more from brands. Given their growing interest in volunteering, companies should utilize cause marketing as a way of marketing to college students and the youth. Consider engaging with students by hosting a volunteering event in which they can participate. This will allow your brand to connect with students in a meaningful way. They’ll feel good contributing to a cause they believe in and will form positive associations with your brand as a result.
Another great way to generate brand awareness is through college marketing and college experiential marketing. Consider holding Q&A sessions on college campuses, where students can ask questions about your company’s involvement with a cause or how your products benefit society. These sessions will start conversations about your brand and drive interest. College sampling is another way to get your product into the hands of students. College street teams can distribute informational flyers with the samples that tell your company’s story and its involvement within the community. Discover the cause that aligns with your brand’s image and then build a following through on-campus marketing and social media marketing.