When it comes to today’s consumers, authenticity is key. They have more knowledge and information at their fingertips than ever before, and many potential customers do a lot of research before making a purchasing decision. Flashy marketing and celebrity endorsements alone don’t cut it anymore—younger generations look for brands that are both creating great products and doing good for the world.
80% of younger generations (millennials and Gen Z) say making the world a better place is one of their top priorities. The first step is obviously to have a brand that has a mission and prioritizes giving back. But once you start doing good, how can you make that clear to your audience?
Community-Driven Marketing is a Natural Extension of Mission-Driven Brands
Enter community-driven marketing. Community-driven marketing is key for brands who want to share their missions and engage with like-minded customers. This relies heavily on the customers’ engagement with the brand, and the brand’s willingness to let the customer drive the brand ethos. Community-driven marketing takes user-generated content to the next step, creating an interactive and engaged community around the brand.
Brands can’t simply project an image of doing good or giving back—they have to really do it. Consumers today, particularly younger brackets, want and expect genuine interactions and authenticity. Generation Z especially wants to see more realistic and genuine marketing rather than idealized or fantasy lifestyles.
User-generated content helps fans and customers feel appreciated and involved with the brand’s mission, which is increasingly more important in 2019. For mission-driven brands, this means more focus and attention on the mission. By leveraging user-generated content, brands can put the spotlight on real people and spread the word not only about their products but also how they are working to improve the world.
Mission Meets Marketing
Several brands likely come to mind when we think “mission-driven.” The most notable is TOMS Shoes, with a business model created with the purpose of giving back. For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS would match the purchase and donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. They have since expanded beyond shoes, recognizing the opportunities they have to give back in more ways around the world.
HYLETE, a community-backed brand focused on providing top-quality athletic apparel rallies around their community to support causes that matter to their community. This is why they offer special discounts and specific charitable initiatives selected by their community. By involving their community in these initiatives, HYLETE creates a mission-driven brand that resonates with their loyal fans.
Why it Matters
Tied into the quest for authenticity are two marketing buzzwords: social proof and brand loyalty. Social proof is the group or “pack” mentality that provides validation. For a customer base that is better informed than ever before, social proof is key to affirming a brand, its values, and its products. Acquiring a new customer can cost 5x more than retaining an existing one. Brand loyalty is all about building relationships with customers. It’s doubly important because customers that are loyal to your brand are often your most effective and passionate brand advocates.
Social responsibility is a top priority for consumers, particularly the younger generations. 66% of consumers and 73% of millennials will spend more on a brand that has socially conscious or sustainable practices. When brands are committed to doing good, integrating that mission throughout their branding and marketing not only helps spread the word about causes, it attracts consumers who care about the impact of their purchasing decisions.
Looking for your next company initiative? Turn to your community.