As the millennial generation, meaning people born between 1980 and 2000, grows older and begins to play a more important role in the economy, companies are shifting their attention and efforts in their direction.
Although they are extremely significant and influential in terms of economic stimulation, the millennials are also quite elusive and difficult for companies to effectively reach and build meaningful relationships with. Due to the amount of content they consume in an average day, it is tough to create a campaign that will catch their attention and have a sizable impact on them. There is however, one very effective way to reach the millennials: through their morals.
As a very socially-conscious and humanitarian generation, millennials are motivated to help protect our planet and create a more equal world. Maturing during such an important time for human rights and environmental issues, this generation is coming into their adult lives at a vital crossroads, and they appear to be quite aware of the significance of the situation. Because of this significance, they are often looking for different ways to minimize the negative impacts of their consumption and have positive impact on the world. This is especially visible in their brand choice.
This behavioral trend that is so pertinent within the generation is relevant to consumer brands because it can be used to sell products or services to these millennials, while also doing good for the planet. If a company is trying to reach new audiences and stimulate interest in whatever it is they’re selling, they can build new relationships with millennials and drive sales by producing some type of social good in order to increase revenue. When this is successfully executed, the consumer won’t only be purchasing a product or service, but also a meaningful feeling. This feeling is something that’s been relatively underrated in the marketing world until recently. Now that there are so many millennials who are letting their morals play more of a role in their purchasing decisions, this style of strengthening customer relations through a specific cause is proving to be a very effective way to attract consumers from this generation.
This type of marketing is called cause-marketing, because a company supports a certain cause, which is ideally something many people in their target audience also care about, which then provides the necessary motivation to purchase from the company. By leveraging their support for a particular cause, brands can create both social good and increase revenue at the same time. This style of marketing has been proven to be quite persuasive with millennials, by multiple companies. A great example of a company that’s doing a lot of environmental work and cause-marketing is the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.
Patagonia has been dedicated to a plethora of various conservationist and sustainability oriented causes ever since they first opened in 1973 in Ventura, California. The company, which to this day is still privately owned, has implemented a host of cause marketing campaigns aimed at protecting the planet while growing the business. Their business model is structured in such a way where the more revenue they generate and the larger the company becomes, the more they are able to help support and protect the earth. Through the 1% for the Planet organization that Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard co-founded, they, along with over 1,200 other businesses, pledge to donate 1% of all their sales revenue to support environmental protection. They also pledged to donate 100% of their sales on Black Friday, a day most companies eagerly anticipate due to the potential for massive profits. By doing so, Patagonia raised 10 million dollars for environmental protection on this single day.
All of these various efforts the company has made to protect the environment, have also been very effective forms of establishing and reinforcing relationships with customers, leading to large increases in sales. The brand is especially popular among the millennial generation due to the quality of their products and their honorable mission.
By using cause-marketing strategies similar to Patagonia’s, companies can not only increase their size and scope, but also do environmental and social good. This model is strengthening relationships brands have with consumers in a meaningful way, and will continue to gain in importance as the millennials become a more prominent and economically-relevant generation.