Millennials: Success of a brand should be measured by more than just its financial performance

Jess Enoch from Flamingo Group argues that brands should do more than talk the talk. Read on for her thoughts: 

Brand purpose is most effective and resonant when connected to the culture in which it exists; when it has a clear ‘cultural purpose’ linked to the currents that transcend particular industries or demographics.

One of these currents has long been brewing and now, it seems, has officially made it to the ‘global mainstream’. It is no longer niche or hippy to express concerns about the environment or the society we live in; and consumer brands that show they care too are no longer just the domain of sandal-wearing do-gooders.

We hear this directly from consumers both in the qualitative research we do everyday, but also in quantitative surveys like Edelman's Good Purpose Study. Its key finding reveals that when quality and price are the same, social purpose is the most important factor - which points strongly to the fact that doing good is good for business.

This is the case for Millennials more than anyone else. A recently released Deloitte Millennial Survey revealed that 90% of the generation globally believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.” Good news that they are not anti-business per se, but they are more likely to look for shared values from their employers, and spend time digging into companies and brand behaviour.

This along with their inclination to think and research sets the bar high for convincing Millennials on social purpose. According to a question in the same Deloitte Survey, which compared what businesses do and what they should be doing, Millennials consider businesses to be underperforming by 10% at improving livelihoods, and 12% on social and environmental benefit. This means that authenticity – really offering a tangible solution to a genuine problem – is particularly important when communicating on social good to Millennials. Brands perceived to have got it right like Patagonia and TOMS – integrate good into every part of their company, from their supply chain to communications. On the other hand, those brands which have slipped up when communicating social good (as when Burger King tried to convince McDonald’s on a World Peace Day burger) have lacked depth and scale which is increasingly important to Millennials.

If a brand is seen to be going beyond traditional advertising to generate genuine change, action is what’s required, not mere talk.

For brands worried about the investment that this seems to require, a reminder yet again that doing good really can be good for business. From a financial point of view most certainly – according to Nielsen, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for brands with a commitment to sustainability – but also in terms of growing sustainable, future-proofed brands.

Businesses with a purpose beyond profit embody meaning that transcends fluctuations in tastes and demand. And most importantly, they are what’s called for by Millennials - a generation who may be demanding but also hold the keys to this longer-term sustainable growth.

Image Source: Forbes

Flamingo Group is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.

You can catch Flamingo Group at #YMS16 where Jess will be speaking on the panel Brand positive - why doing good is good for business on the 8th of March. 

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.