What is the best way to build loyalty and influence the college generation? Engaging young men. According to MediaPost, college aged males are 50% more likely than women to drive brand conversations, and in more than a few select categories. They are emerging as key influencers from sports to auto to travel and more. Additionally, young men are more influential in several categories that women usually dominated, breaking away from gender stereotypes.
Male college students have 12 brand conversations a day – 20% more than their female peers
More young men qualified as key influencers, which is defined as people with large social networks who frequently provide advice about leading products and services. Additionally, men discuss brands in 12 conversations per day, compared to women who only have 10 conversations. It is also more than older men, who have on average seven brand related conversations per day.
Female college students no longer prevail over beauty and apparel
Unlike earlier generations, young men place less emphasis on the traditional masculine image and more on grooming and individuality. They are 69% more likely to be influencers in the beauty category, and 47% more likely to be influencers in the apparel category. GlobalData discovered that 72% of young men believe their looks and appearance are important. Therefore, college males are now almost as likely as their female peers to discuss beauty and apparel brands.
Male college students are more influential than their fathers in “domestic” categories.
Young men also defy expectations about the categories they talk about in compared to older generations. They are much more likely than their gender as a whole to recommend household, travel, retail and apparel products. Male college students stand out from previous generations because they are defining themselves differently. “Masculinity today is going through seismic changes. More than ever, guys are rejecting rigid male stereotypes,” said Matthew McCarthy, senior marketing director for Unilever’s Axe. This new view of men is apparent in Axe’s recent campaign “Find Your Magic”, which perfectly picks up on this new mindset.
These insights have major implications for marketers. Beyond acknowledging this new and evolving male identity, marketers need to understand the conversations college males are having about their brands, in addition to the channels used to make recommendations to their peers. Those brands that are willing to break gender stereotypes are the ones that will drive social influence among college students.