Gen Y came of age at a time when corporate social responsibility was gaining wide spread traction. To this generation, transparency, ethical practices and the support of charitable causes is a base line expectation for brands they support and they have no tolerance for companies who green-wash, pink-wash or practice to any kind of misleading marketing tactics.
Every time you spend money, you are casting your vote for the kind of world you want.Anna Lappe
If social responsibility is part of your brand’s DNA, here are some tips on effectively reaching Gen Y:
- Use clear keywords. Define what they mean to your brand. Green, natural, eco? Stick with one term instead of using them all.
- Own your mistakes. Gen Y values trust and transparency. Anything that can be construed as a cover up or an excuse will be called out as such.
- Support well-known causes. Partner with well-known, credible and respected charities over more obscure ones consumers may not be familiar with. It is also important to align with organizations that have accountability and are rated by independent organizations such as Charity Navigator.
- Provide proof of product claims. Cruelty-free, fair trade, eco-friendly, organic or vegan? Claiming to be any of the above is no longer enough; be prepared to back up claims with certifications and statements from your manufacturers.
- Spell out your cause marketing campaign. Clarify if your donation will be taken from net or gross profits, how much, to whom and when. There is no room for grey when it comes to selling for a cause.
- Go beyond your website to generate brand awareness. All aspects of sustainability, disaster aid, recycling and “behind the scenes” efforts that your company is active in should be incorporated into your public relations and social media strategy.
With these tips in mind, you will reach the Gen Y audience with a well-rounded and credible approach that showcases your brand.