Authenticity and transparency are important key words when discussing on how brands should connect with college audiences. What is a brand to do in today’s competitive environment that has shaped the expectations to consistently search for authenticity, transparency, and brands that really connect and understand them? Here are some four elements of your strategy to drive purchase behavior and ultimately brand loyalty for college students:
- Humanize your brand
Have a relatable story with clear and consistent messaging. Spend time cultivating this story – not as a marketing narrative but as a springboard and reference point for all of your consumer touchpoints and interactions.
- Prove your worth
Have a tangible brand value that you can clearly demonstrate and communicate as a key part of your brand’s story. College students aren’t known for parting their money easily, but they are more likely to spend on things that maintain a high value and importance in their daily lives. Look beyond the price/value relationship. Studies show that 80% of college students have taken some sort of action supporting socially responsible companies in the past year, and 62% say they’ve supported a cause because it has touched their lives in some way. Connecting your brand with meaningful messages that college students are eager to get behind will help strengthen brand value and increase awareness.
- Engagement is crucial
College students value experiences over tangible possessions. Spend time molding the experience of your brand beyond the tangible product or intangible service. This can vary depending on your offering – whether or not it is delivered online, a physical location or both. Logistics are just the starting point in creating an experience – craft the journey from the consumer’s perspective to get inspiration on the experience.
- Go where the students are
Give college students ways to engage with you – whether it be through online or on campus – let them know you value their opinions and connect them with other fans. College students expect a quick turnaround and response – how you deal with complaints on social media or in person can make or break your reputation. By handling it quickly and solving whatever problem may arise, you can make a smooth recovery and win over students, who will share their seamless experience with friends. Nothing is more authentic than a friend’s sincere recommendation. Brands that are authentic and are able to engage and solve problems wherever and whenever college students need it will be successful in winning their loyalty.