The Millennial Consumer want to do business with ethical, sustainable and socially responsible companies
According to an article in Huffington Post, 61% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference. Smart businesses are taking this statement and developing their marketing plans to reach the millennial consumer around it.
The latest studies by Pew Research Center show that the Millennial consumer wants to do business with companies they perceive as ethical, sustainable and socially responsible.
Millennials want to feel like they’re making a difference. One of the best ways to get a new millennial customer is to make them feel good about buying a product.
There are lots of great examples of companies that are socially responsible, including Google, The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Starbucks, Toms Shoes and Bombas socks. They all offer quality products and feel-good opportunities.
Toms Shoes – Social Responsibility is a Turn-on
Let’s look at Toms Shoes and a statement from Erin Sagin, the Global SMB Solutions Go To Market Lead at Google – who happens to be a millennial.
“Remember when TOMS shoes took the nation by storm? These shoes were nothing special. In fact, they were overpriced ugly, shapeless, canvas slip-ons that developed an insufferable odor after only a few wears. And yet, for years they were one of the most popular shoe manufacturers in the United States. Millennials, including myself, were completely gaga over these hideous shoes. Plenty of discount brands copied the style and produced replicates for half the price, but they were completely unsuccessful. We were fiercely loyal to the TOMS brand.
How did TOMS get us under its spell? Simple—it’s an incredibly ethical company, committed to making a difference in underdeveloped countries. Their promise is that, for each pair of shoes purchased, it will donate a pair to a child in need. Knowing they’re helping impoverished children gives millennials an added incentive to buy their shoes (and feel good about it).”
I want to make another point about the value of the Millennial customer, which Erin alluded to in terms of in her comment about the millennial “fierce loyalty” to the TOMS brand.
Bombas Socks – Customers as Brand Advocates
Studies continue to show that the Millennial consumer is brand loyal. Once they have committed to a brand, they become dedicated buyers, often to the point where they advocate on its’ behalf. And 89% of millennials trust recommendations from family, friends and peers more than claims from the brand itself.
Can companies copy this philosophy, brand themselves as socially responsible, drive profits and still develop brand advocates?
Think about Bombas socks – Bombas is a sock manufacturer that follows a one-for-one business model similar to Toms Shoes. For each pair of socks purchased from Bombas, a pair is donated to the homeless. Since launching in 2013, the company has donated over 16 million pairs of socks to homeless shelters.
An Example of a Brand Advocate
Here’s a quote from Mara Leighton, another millennial thought leader, who writes for Business Insider. You can see from this quote that she has become a devoted customer and advocate for the Bombas brand.
“Though a pair of Bombas socks will set you back further than a cheap multi-pack at Target will, they’ll last you longer, feel better during that lifespan, and far exceed the rather dismal expectations you’ve set for socks up until now. If you’re sick of ending runs with irritation and chafing along the ankle, Bombas are worth the few extra bucks.
And if you don’t love them, the startup has the sort of bulletproof customer guarantee that has grown increasingly rare. As a part of standing next to their product 100%, Bombas upholds a “no matter what, no questions asked, no holds barred, no ifs, no ands, no buts” happiness guarantee. “If you have a problem, we will solve it. Refund it. Send you new socks. Whatever it takes.”
If you’re looking for a way to instantly improve the comfort of everyday life almost unconsciously, you should take a chance on Bombas. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the company remains one of the best examples of a business with positive impact; you get the best socks you’ve ever worn for a price that won’t break the bank, and your purchase helps improve the lives of someone else at the most basic and necessary level. In other words, everybody wins.”
Satisfied Millennial Consumer – Great ROI
Businesses that are focusing on increasing their millennial market share need to make sure they are providing a great product, with competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and ethical socially responsible values.
From a marketing perspective, they need to target the right slice of the millennial generation, with the right message and offer , via multiple media channels and provide easy social sharing opportunities. It doesn’t matter if the product is real estate, water filtration units, shoes, banking, or travel. This is today’s formula for success.
Do you remember the iconic Mastercard Priceless campaign that ran from 1997 to 2014? (OK, I am dating myself). A satisfied new millennial customer is priceless!