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Engaging the Millennial generation by putting purpose beyond profit

  • Despite what we are led to believe, young people today do think of others. They want to make a difference and they expect the companies that they interact with and the brands to buy into to share these same values - if not to lead the way.

    They are motivated to act in various pro-social ways; whether that is taking care of their family, improving local communities, working hard at their studies or staying loyal to friends.

  • On 8th March at Youth Marketing Strategy London (Europe’s biggest youth marketing festival - discussing the latest trends, insights and ideas needed to shape youth marketing strategy), Jess Enoch Associate Director Flamingo Social Purpose, spoke on a fantastic panel alongside representatives from Sainsbury’s, The Roundhouse and Toms – moderated by Captain Crikey.

    The panel, ‘Brand Positive – Why doing good is good for business’, discussed why businesses that act with a social conscience are winning over young people and how brands can give the much needed guidance young people crave.

    For example, Sainsbury’s follows a ‘live well for less’ pledge, which reaches beyond price to a number of sustainability commitments including sourcing, animal welfare, fair trade and reducing carbon emissions. For the Sainsbury’s brand, values remain at the heart of their strategy and continues to transcribe how they operate as a business. Sarah Ellis, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Society at the company described that working out what matters to your customers and aligning this with doing the right thing will enable a brand to be successful.

    Jess (Flamingo) highlighted the important distinction between CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and social purpose. She emphasised that CSR is an effort to mitigate the bad and is not the same as having a positive social purpose, ultimately ‘doing well by doing good’.

    Jess said that the brands taking the leap to social purpose create a force for social good by developing a credible solution to a problem in the world. For brands that are looking to develop this for-profit model it’s necessary to define a purpose with authenticity. This means starting with the core values of the brand and what the company can credibly deliver.

    She explained that ‘authenticity’ should be at the heart and soul of any brand in the hope of being seen as credible. This was a recurring theme through-out YMS, as without it there's little hope of engaging this switched on millennial generation.

    Allie Tsavdarides, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications at TOMS said that their succeeding for-profit model was due to the ‘authentic power of the TOMS story’ that connects their consumer to the brand. She explained that this has created a ripple effect that’s bigger than the brand itself and created a bigger purpose.

    Allie highlighted that ‘adapting, evolving and being accessible’ are vital traits for a brand to be successful in doing good and reaching its target audience.

    In conclusion, this is all good news for consumers, brands and the world. When a brand puts social purpose at the core of its business model, ‘doing good’ allows the brand to tap into a generation that is keen to improve the lives of others as well as their own.