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In today's up-and-down economy, brands of all sizes are doing everything they can to connect with the country's most coveted consumer share, Millennials. And a large part of these efforts are turning focus to things that make the world a better place. But according to HypeLife Brands, the issue of 'doing good' is a complex one, and one that could backfire if not executed carefully.
While it's commonly accepted that Millennials are quick to support a cause they believe in, they're also quick to see through a half-hearted or business-minded attempt to appear charitable, according to brand strategist Zach Russell. "Millennials are the most savvy consumer group we've ever seen," he says. "The vast majority are online, they're doing research, they're talking. If your brand truly has an ethos of good, then they'll sense that and support it.
"But these same Millennials are also very aware they're being marketed to, so it's hard to slip something past them. If your brand is promoting some of its more noble causes, expect this group to try and poke some holes in things before they hop on board."
Translation: More than ever, the burden of proof is on brands. But more than that, it's no longer enough to simply want to do good. A growing expectation is that brands should do as much good as possible in all manners of the business. HypeLife Brands cites Chipotle as a good example of this 'good-in-all-things' approach. "Yes, Chipotle is a great one," says Russell. "Not only do they serve humanely raised beef, chicken, and pork, but the company is committed to other good things, too, like helping farmers or making sure their restaurant employees are treated well.
"They even teamed up with some notable authors to include short stories on their bags and cups in an effort to promote literacy and reading among its customers."
There are other brands with similar efforts, of course. An oft-cited example is the shoe purveyor TOMS, whose One for One campaign resonated with Millennials early on and has helped TOMS reach enormous growth worldwide. Trader Joe's is another, the supermarket chain that has expanded in recent popularity by offering exclusively organic food products to its customers. What all of these brands have in common is that, as HypeLife Brands notes, each one promotes its principles in all areas of consumer interaction. And that is the key.
"With TOMS and Trader Joe's, the whole brand experience is based on the idea of making the world a better place," says Russell, "and that's something Millennials everywhere will relate to and, as these companies' growth indicates, support."
HypeLife Brands is a leading brand development + precision marketing agency dedicated to helping brands engage the Millennial generation. HypeLife serves a select roster of clients across the U.S. with a focus on disruptive lifestyle brands and start-ups in industries such as surf, apparel, insurance, film & entertainment, and world-changers.
Founded in 2001, the agency is headquartered in coastally-located Oceanside, California's Downtown Arts District.
Learn more about HypeLife Brands and their laser-focus on Millennial Marketing at HypeLifeBrands.com