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It’s not about price, it’s about purpose for Gen Z & Y

We live in a time when there is no shortage of choice or access. Can’t find product X at your local retailer? Don’t worry, Amazon can have it on your doorstep tomorrow morning (if you don’t mind paying the express-shipping charge). And there is no group more intimately aware of this than Millennials; a lifetime of over-connectedness has shaped them into down-to-earth realists that aren’t focused on price, but on purpose. If your brand values don’t align with theirs, you’ll have to start looking for customers elsewhere.

Millennials in search for products that satisfy their individual micro-needs. That’s the key phrase to remember: ‘individual micro-needs’. Millennials appreciate uniqueness – having exclusive access to either a human (like a celebrity, or a politician), an experience, or a product. A brand that has illustrated how well they understand this desire is Nike. The active-wear manufacturer introduced NIKEiD, an online service that allows customers to create their own gear by customizing color, design, and performance features. As such, customers create a product that is unique, and caters specifically to their individual needs; they are the only person in the world to own that specific pair of shoes. Nike’s gambit to introduce personalized products to their consumer pool has been tremendously successful, and it’s not surprising to see other manufacturers like Gucci or Coca-Cola enjoying similar successes from their customization campaigns.

Beyond their individual micro-needs, Millennials care deeply for their community and our planet, and are more likely to support brands that employ environmentally friendly, sustainable business practices. A great example of a brand that fits this bill is Patagonia – not only a creator of outdoor apparel, but also a brand that uses its footprint and profits to actively better the outdoors. They are dedicated to nature, with a corporate philosophy that states “100% for the planet”. But what makes the Patagonia story so special is their transparency – they are aware of their shortcomings (such as still using fossil fuels for some production processes), but they don’t hide them; instead, they actively engage their customers to inform them how they are addressing these issues to get closer to their goal of being “100% for the planet”. This transparent, honest, and open approach to business is not only great for customer retention, but is equally fantastic for customer acquisition. Patagonia is considered a love brand among Millennials, despite being 40+ years old

We’ve mentioned the power of customization and sustainability as illustrated by different brands, but what if these values were melted together in a single organization? That was the exact same question four marketing students asked themselves when they came up with a fictional concept for a final exam that married these two elements. The idea was that of Douglas Bikes, where customers purchase customizable bikes made with special wooden frames. While customers could customize several aspects of their new bicycle (like artwork/ engraving or even a special seat), the durable frame is made from wood carrying a Forest Stewardship label, which means they’re not only building bikes, they’re also building plantations. The professor must have enjoyed the fictional concept, because not only can you now order your own customized Douglas Bike, but at the end of 2017, the Douglas Bikes team added custom wooden watches and custom wooden iPhone cases to their product suite – all the while putting back more into nature than they’re taking in the first place.

But don’t be fooled, these are not the only elements that Millennials crave – they’ve inherited a world where too much has been mass-produced, and the environment is in tatters. They understand the onus is on them to bring back a touch of personalization and save the planet while they’re at it. A brand with a clear purpose, a purpose that is meaningful, and actively fuels a greater goal, is a brand that is more likely to gain and retain Millennial clientele – a critical aspect highlighted in our frAGILE bookzine.

Move over Millennials, here comes Gen Z! Curious how this digitally native generation live their life? Discover what our Gen Z thought leadership and expertise can do for your brand.

Ready for the Zoomers - Gen Z report

Ready for the Zoomers?

Gen Z are the digitally native generation: social-media-literate, always-on and hyper-informed. With many Gen Zers coming of age during the pandemic, the past two years put a mark on their lives and outlook on the future. In this report, we shed a light on what makes Gen Z different from the generations before them and what they expect from brands.

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