Gen Y and The Corporate Brand

Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) is now estimated to be the largest consumer group in US history.  That age group provides an astounding 80 million potential buyers, referred to as Millenials, who are confident, connected and open to change.  (Source:  Pew Research Center)

This generation is well-educated, digitally saavy and more passionate about causes they care about.  With a generational personality like that, corporations need to embrace the idea that free t-shirts and branded sling bags alone are not going to drive the desired behavior.  In terms of product choices, there are numerous options that will appeal to the Gen Y consumer.  But without a focused marketing strategy aimed at truly engaging the recipient, that giveaway alone will be just another piece of swag (“stuff we all get”).

Consider some of the following characteristics about Generation Y when designing a brand strategy aimed at this group:

  • Embrace all things digital – 90% use internet; 75% use social networking
  • More highly educated – 54% have at least some college education
  • Eco-consious – 53% buy green products; 36% buy organic foods
  • More likely to exercise – 68% of men vs 48% of women
  • Support consumer activism – 34% buy a product when they agree with the company’s social values

Source:  Pew Research Center

Companies like Apple, Red Bull and Toms have been enormously successful in marketing to these young consumers.  They market through appealing product design, high energy engagement and social awareness.  Regardless of the product, the concept is the same.  Give a gift that appeals to the tech saavy recipient; sponsor a local marathon, bike-a-thon or walk-a-thon; or tie in a campaign with a social cause.  The corporate logo can be attached to almost anything – just be sure that the message that logo inspires promotes the action your company intended!

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