Many businesses are becoming more accustomed with the 21st century business world and are seeking the custom of students, like many other brands who are defining their long term success by how well they engage and sell to students as they are the generation of the future. The brand loyalties they form now, in these character forming years, will follow them throughout the rest of their adult lives.
However, the millennial generation are arguably a lot more complex than generations before them. Baby Boomers and Generation X’s were far more open to the hard sell approach compared to today’s students who react negatively to such an aggressive method.
Previous generations remain happy with their role as the customer and view the brands they shop with as an authority, whereas students do not. Millennials strongly believe that respect, trust and loyalty are earned when it comes to the brands they choose to regularly shop with. They don’t want to become one of the masses, a number on a list, they want to be valued.
Know Your Audience
Students are a lot more complex than what meets the eye. Not only are they passionate about being valued, they are passionate about doing business with brands that have the same values as they do. They understand that by doing business with you they are approving of what you stand for, so if your ethics aren’t in line with theirs they will shop elsewhere.
No matter how amazing you think your products are, they value the opinion of others over yours. Students are very in tune with the ‘fake news’ culture and value the opinions of peers and real life customers who have real experiences with doing business with your brand that can vouch for you.
They may have a disposable income, but they’re very picky with where they spend it as students are naturally mindful with their money. Deals are far more important to this group than luxury items, so make sure you offer student discounts or have great deals already before introducing your brand.
A key element in making your brand attractive to the student market is ensuring that your values include equality, diversity and acceptance. Students are extremely passionate about social justice and equal rights, so tend to favour brands who are inclusive of all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, identify and more.
These beliefs must be at the very core of your business, not just words. Your brand should include diversity and equality in everything they produce and stand for, including marketing materials and the production of your products.
Students also favour brands that have links to charities whether that is via a percentage of money earned from each product going to a charity or running fundraisers.
Students are bored of the same old advertising they see day in, day out. Students are unapologetically themselves and want to be able to express themselves without fear of judgement, and they expect you to be able to market your brand in a unique way that you’re not afraid of. Make products you love and advertise them in a way that will make students love them too, it’s that simple.