Purpose Marketing - Millennials

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Millennials - Motivations for Brand Preference

Some five motivations provided in the findings below include tough tech love, advertising adversity, and loyalty. Each motivation is described, and examples are also given of brands that fulfill these motivations and target themselves to millennials.

1) Tough Tech Love

  • The idea of applying technology in the use of a product or service motivates millennials for brand preference.
  • This motivation must be a technology that adds value to the delivery of the product or service in areas of "practicality, utility, fun, savings, and convenience."
  • Why it is motivation is because millennials are in love with tech, as it is part of their growth. It is about the period of their adolescent development that the world witnessed "numerous networks and devices bomb, such as MySpace, Vine, and Google+."
  • Nike is one brand that fulfills this motivation, using its Nike+ running app to attract customers into its training program and making it easy to share their progress with friends and loved ones.
  • Aside from that, millennials are also interested in futuristic products, and a company like Google warms their hearts in terms of brand favorability when it comes to tech companies.

2) Advertising Adversity

  • This motivation is about the reception of millennials to authenticity and customer experiences.
  • Millennials are far behind in trusting brands than generations before them, and the new media has made them master fact-finders. They filter through traditional advertising and reject what they deem as untrue.
  • This motivation is about the genuineness of the brand, which must also be consistently beneficial to their needs.
  • Why this is motivation is because the feeling of being part of a brand's community is what appeals to millennials, and not a sales approach.
  • It is also a motivation because one of the top needs of millennials is customer experience, and being part of a brand community affords them that.
  • An example of brands that fulfill this motivation and target itself to millennials is Herschel Supply Company, which is popular among millennials. The company "keeps it real on Instagram by presenting collections of authentic content posted and hashtagged by their customers."
  • Another brand example is Red Bull, which sold the experience that its drink can inspire energetic and exciting activities instead of focusing on the consumption of its product. Members of its ambassador program, tagged the Wing Team, embody the "high energy aura of the brand and relay this to their community, acting as a network of marketing bodies." The majority of Red Bull consumers are millennials.

3) An Omnichannel World

  • This motivation is a buyer journey that enables consumers to interact simultaneously with digital and analog channels. While the former is e-commerce, the latter is brick and mortar outlets.
  • For this motivation to be fulfilling for millennials, physical shopping outlets not only serve as points of sale, but they also act as customer experience outposts too.
  • Why this is motivation is because millennials are fond of hybrid marketplaces, something an omnichannel world offers. They appreciate brands that "enable them to connect channels, touchpoints, and experiences throughout the buyer journey."
  • Starbucks is one example of brands that fulfill this motivation and target itself to millennials. The company's quest to satisfy this hotly-coveted demographic is significant to the success of the brand.
  • The motivation, as deployed by Starbucks, is to connect millennials with the brand, and create a "warm, welcoming environment in their stores over coffee and tea."

4) Loyalty

  • Loyalty is a motivation for brand preference among millennials. This motivation is "tribe-driven and seeks validation from like-minded peers to create person-to-person engagement across channels."
  • It is also meant to deepen relationships between brands and their customers.
  • This motivation entails free shipping, discounts, giveaways, contest, and among other things designed by brands towards the satisfaction and retention of customers.
  • More importantly, millennials are won over by loyalty programs that "transcend the transaction and deliver genuine experiences, customer engagement, and convenience."
  • Why loyalty is motivation is because "millennials shop carefully and are ready to change allegiances when they’re less than satisfied."
  • Loyalty is also a motivation because 86% of millennials are involved in the loyalty programs of brands, while 60% of millennials claimed to "be often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase."
  • Again, Starbucks an example of a brand that fulfills this motivation and targets itself to millennials. The company's Rewards program appeals to the millennial mindset through engagements such as "music downloads, games, a ‘stars’ system, and the occasional free coffee."
  • Through this loyalty program, members receive exclusive deals, and "high-value purchases are frequently encouraged."

5) Social Cause

  • Social causes or standing for something is a motivation that is associated with values that identify with a brand.
  • This motivation entails making a difference in society, suggesting that brands should not be all about making a profit.
  • Millennials tend to pay more for "products and services from companies dedicated to social and environmental change."
  • According to Julie Turner, VP Marketing, Camp Bow Wow, "millennials want to align themselves with organizations doing good in their world."
  • Why this is motivation is because millennials are willing to use their "purchasing power to support companies that have similar values." They are enthusiastic about being part of "making the world a better place."
  • Nike is an example of a brand that attracted more significant millennial following after it stood behind the controversial ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
  • TOMS is another brand example that made use of a unique ethical practice to get millennials' absolute loyalty to the brand. The social cause of the brand was "to donate a pair to a child in need for each pair of shoes purchased" and this resonated well with millennials to buy their shoes.

Research Strategy

We started our findings by understanding the motivations that millennials have to prefer one brand over another. After concise analysis, we were able to provide five motivations and described each.

Following another intensive research, we were able to provide examples of brands that fulfill these motivations and target themselves to millennials. We also determined why each example is motivation.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Statistics - Organizations that Give Back: Influence on Buying Decisions

Our research found that purchasing decisions among millennials (and Gen Zers) are strongly influenced by companies that give back to causes or organizations. All 16 statistics that we found that demonstrate that influence are included below.

Statistics Demonstrating How Purchasing Decisions are Influenced by Companies That Give Back

  • A survey found that over half (57%) "of [U.S.] millennial women say that their purchase decisions are driven by a brand’s values and stance on issues that are important to them." Business Wire is the source of that information.
  • According to results from a Cone Communications survey, over two-thirds (68%) of millennials in the U.S. said that within the previous year they had purchased an item that had either an environmental or social benefit.
  • Nielsen found that among U.S. millennials, 83% said "it is extremely or very important to me that companies implement programs to improve the environment."
  • Nine in ten millennials in the U.S. are willing to purchase from companies that incorporate environmental and socially conscious practices into their business models. That data was published by Brogan & Partners.
  • Brogan & Partners reported that a whopping 95% of U.S. millennials are willing to recommend companies that incorporate environmental and socially conscious practices into their business models to their friends.
  • Cone Communications found that among Gen Zers in the U.S., 94% think that companies should participate in addressing issues pertaining to the environment and society.
  • Among millennials in the U.S., 87% think that companies should participate in addressing issues pertaining to the environment and society. That data came from a Cone Communications survey.
  • When U.S. millennials were asked (by Cone Communications) if they would decide to switch from a brand that wasn't "associated with a cause" to one that was, 91% said they would do so.
  • U.S. millennials were asked whether "they make purchasing decisions based on brands beliefs" and 66% said yes, they do. That finding was published by Edelman.
  • Mintel found that 61% of American iGeners (ages 18-23) will "switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in."
  • Sixty-one percent of U.S. millennials will "switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in" per research from Mintel.
  • Forrester found that among U.S. millennials, approximately 70% said they "actively consider company values when making a purchase."
  • Per research from U.S. Trust, "84 percent of millennials sa[id] they consider a company’s involvement with social causes when making purchasing decisions."
  • In the U.S., 66% of Gen Zers surveyed responded that "their impression of a brand is positively impacted by its association with a social cause." That data was published by DoSomething Strategic (a consulting firm).
  • Among Gen Zers in the U.S., 58% said that if a brand is affiliated "with a social cause," that fact might lead them to purchase its products. That data was published by DoSomething Strategic (a consulting firm).

Research Strategy

To identify 15 statistics that illustrate how the buying decisions of millennials (and Gen Zers) are influenced by companies that give back to causes or organizations, we reviewed a substantial number of articles and research reports that included survey data about this topic. Examples of media articles we reviewed were published by sources such as Forbes and Marketing Dive. Examples of research reports we reviewed were published by sources such as Nielsen and Cone Communications. We ensured that each statistic provided above is specific to the U.S. by reviewing the information provided about the participants involved in those surveys. We prioritized findings pertaining to millennials and included all the ones we found specific to the U.S. (the others we found were global in scope or didn't specify to which country/countries they pertain). Also, we prioritized the most-recent statistics we could find throughout our detailed, comprehensive research.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Case Studies - Companies/Brands Giving Back To Causes: Part One

Starbucks, Warby Parker, and Alex and Ani are three brands in the US that are giving back to causes or organizations. Millennials are an important demographic for each of them.

#1: Starbucks

What They Are Doing

  • Through The Starbucks Foundation, the company invests in communities in the US and beyond. The foundation uses its Opportunity for All grants to assist organizations that create pathways to enduring opportunities and programs, which generate job and training opportunities for people with limitations.

Proof That They Market to Millennials

  • According to Starbuck's CEO, Kevin Johnson, millennials' love for coffee and technology drives the company significantly.
  • As a result, the company had to innovate rapidly, transforming the focus of its beverages from limited-time offerings to more of its core beverages, thereby increasing visits by millennials.

Publicly Available Success

  • In 2019, The Starbucks Foundation gave $1.4 million in Opportunity for All grants ($10,000 to $50,000 per grant) to 63 programs and organizations. Starbucks employees can also engage and volunteer with the recipients of these grants to help advance their work in local communities.
  • Since the launch of the Opportunity for All grants program in 2017, the foundation has given $4.1 million in grants.

#2: Warby Parker

What They Are Doing

  • According to the company, of the 2.5 billion people who need but cannot access glasses, 624 million cannot learn or work effectively due to severe visual impairment. To address this issue, Warby Parker, through its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, works with several partners across the globe to ensure that for each pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased, they distribute eyeglasses to people who need them.
  • The company employs two models to distribute the glasses:
  • It trains adult men and women to conduct basic eye exams and sell eyeglasses for very affordable prices, accounting for the bulk of its distribution.
  • It gives vision care and glasses directly to school-age children in classrooms, whose issues are usually first spotted by their teachers.

Proof That They Market to Millennials

Publicly Available Success

  • So far, Warby Parker has distributed more than five million pairs of glasses through its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. The impact of this program has reached over 50 countries across the globe.

#3: Alex and Ani

What They Are Doing

  • Alex and Ani, the lifestyle eco-conscious jewelry brand, began its Charity by Design efforts in 2011 to spread its "ideal of sharing positive energy worldwide."
  • Through its Charity by Design program, it supports over 50 nonprofit partners by selling custom bracelets designed to portray each organization.
  • In 2017, its Charity by Design collection, designed by celebrity supporters Mandy Moore, Kaley Cuoco, and Elizabeth Olsen, was dedicated to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation (EBMRF). These celebrities designed "unique color waves and inspiring hashtag text to their bracelet, each accented by a butterfly to commemorate the EBMRF mission."
  • All sales proceeds from these bracelets from December 4, 2017, to March 31, 2018, were dedicated to EBMRF, raising awareness and funding state-of-the-art research.

Proof That They Market to Millennials

  • By marketing itself as a lifestyle brand, rather than merely a jewelry company, Alex and Ani's products, and equally, its compelling brand story and social media presence has attracted many people, particularly millennials, some of whom follow the brand even before ever making a purchase.

Publicly Available Success

  • Through its Charity by Design program, the company has donated $50 million, with its employees volunteering 8,800 hours to the organizations.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Case Studies - Companies/Brands Giving Back To Causes: Part Two

Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Taco Bell are three additional case studies of US companies that are giving back to causes. The three brands target millennials in their marketing initiatives.

Coca-Cola

  • Coca-Cola gives back to causes through the Coca-Cola Foundation. Since 1984, when the foundation was established, the company has dedicated 1% of its operating income annually to giving back.
  • Coca-Cola's focus areas include female entrepreneurship and economic empowerment; protection of the environment by providing clean water, conserving water, and recycling; and enhancing communities through education, community initiatives, and youth development.
  • Coca-Cola has recently targeted its millennial demographic by introducing four new flavors of Diet Coke. The new flavors are "Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange, and Twisted Mango."

Success Metrics

  • Coca-Cola has given $41 million to women's empowerment, through which 1.2 million women have been lifted out of poverty. It has given $408 million to help communities devastated by disasters and to fund scholarships and youth development programs.
  • The company donated $216 million to the protection of the environment which enabled 32 million people to access clean water.
  • Over 10,000 people became the first in their family to attend college as a result of Coca-Cola's spending of $335 million on scholarships.

Johnson & Johnson

  • Johnson & Johnson's giving back strategy focuses on enhancing global health, enhancing local communities, and promoting the sustainability of the planet.
  • The company has reduced its carbon footprint significantly over the last ten years through energy efficiency in its production and the use of renewable energy.
  • Through its employee-driven programs like Earthwards, Johnson & Johnson ensured continuous innovation by creating more sustainable products.
  • Johnson & Johnson implemented a reinvention of its baby care product range in order to meet the needs of millennial parents. The product changes included fewer ingredients that would provide gentle care and new ergonomic packaging.

Success Metrics

  • Johnson & Johnson donated over $11 million to support disaster recovery efforts in several countries including "Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Peru, Turkey, Somalia, the United States, and Yemen."
  • It gave $987 million in products and cash to the Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation (JJPAF) in 2018, through which around 76,000 patients had access to free drugs.

Taco Bell

  • Through the Taco Bell Foundation, Taco Bell helps youths to achieve their career passions through scholarships, community support, and experiences.
  • The company distributes grants and scholarships across the US every year through initiatives like the Live Más Scholarship program.
  • Since 1995, it has been in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, supporting career-readiness and youth education initiatives.
  • Through its millennial "Word of the Week" initiative, Taco Bell teaches millennial lingo to its team because the company recognizes millennials are its biggest fan base.

Success Metrics

  • The Taco Bell Foundation has donated over $83 million in grants and scholarships reaching over four million youths across the United States.
  • It gave around $500,000 to the Live Más Scholarship program as part of the fifth year anniversary celebration of the Doritos Locos Tacos.

Research Strategy

We were able to find three additional US-based brands by looking for brands that market to millennials. Their websites were then explored to ensure that only US-based companies were selected. We proceeded to search for information on their giving back initiatives.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "practicality, utility, fun, savings, and convenience."
  • "numerous networks and devices bomb, such as MySpace, Vine, and Google+."
  • "keeps it real on Instagram by presenting collections of authentic content posted and hashtagged by their customers"
  • "enable them to connect channels, touchpoints, and experiences throughout the buyer journey."
  • "tribe-driven and seeks validation from like-minded peers to create person-to-person engagement across channels."
  • "millennials shop carefully and are ready to change allegiances when they’re less than satisfied"
  • "be often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase."
  • "transcend the transaction and deliver genuine experiences, customer engagement, and convenience."
  • "products and services from companies dedicated to social and environmental change."
  • "millennials want to align themselves with organizations doing good in their world and use their purchasing power to support companies that have similar values."
  • "making the world a better place."
Quotes
  • "warm, welcoming environment in their stores over coffee and tea."
Quotes
  • "music downloads, games, a ‘stars’ system, and the occasional free coffee."
  • "high-value purchases are frequently encouraged."
From Part 02