Win Millennial Customers By Being Cool With A Purpose

“Cool with a purpose” defines the millennial generation and the marketing path to winning the generation as customers.

The obvious business challenge is trying to figure out how to be millenial cool.

Editor’s note: This first of a two-part article series profiles the foundations for being cool. The second article will outline three action items your business can take that will grow your coolness factor and win millennial generation customers.

Let’s begin with three objectives to engage millennials: 

    1. Authenticity

Authenticity is the foundation of being cool. If you are not authentic in terms of your business behaviors or product attributes then you are “not cool.”

The millennial generation measures your authenticity based upon what they see posted online by your customers, work associates and stakeholders. Fifty percent of millennials buy a good or service based upon Internet postings of complete strangers. Sixty percent of millennials engage in online rating of products and services.

Whether it is on Facebook, Yelp or Instagram this generation will post what they experience. Bad service?

A favorite millennial posting is to talk very candidly about how poorly they were served. A failed product?

Get ready for an avalanche of Instagram postings and Yelp ratings. If you conduct your business in a manner that is harmful to people or planet then expect a protest-petition posted on sites like Care2.

Every business is naked before the millennial generation and will be exposed through their social media postings. Your business authenticity with the millennial generation is determined by your ability to deliver positive experiences for them, people and the planet that they can (and will) post online.

    1. Have a purpose

Fifty percent of millennials say they are more likely to buy a brand that supports a cause. Patagonia is a great example on how to successfully engage the millennial generation through purpose. Yvon Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia. He is a passionate climber dedicated to preserving the environment. He and his climbing friends pioneered the concept of “clean climbing” where the rock face is left unaltered. He started his business to sell products that advance the sport of clean climbing.

Leaping forward in time Patagonia is recognized by the millennial generation as one of the world’s most authentic brands. Patagonia‘s viral advertisement of “don’t buy this jacket”  went viral through strong millennial support because the purpose behind this message aligns with the millennial generation’s strong focus upon reduce, reuse and repurpose. It also increased Patagonia’s sales by approximately thirty-three percent!

Most businesses are not started by a Yvon Chouinard with a way-cool passion for climbing and the environment. But businesses can connect with the millennial generation by successfully defining their business around a purpose that millennials deem to be cool.

One example is Numi Tea.

They seek to be the largest seller of fair trade teas. Fair trade teas are cool. They direct a percentage of sales to charities selected through customer voting via social media. That is cool. Their product packaging draws upon the artistic talents of one of the co-owners. That is cool. Your business goal is to define your authentic path for being cool.

Bill Roth
Bill Roth
Bill Roth is a nationally-recognized business coach that has successfully worked with hundreds of business owners and leaders on proven green best practices that win new customers, grow product revenues and cut costs. He brings to this coaching his past experience as a senior officer leading teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and the development of utility scale solar power plants. His best selling book The Secret Green Sauce, available on Amazon, profiles actual businesses using best practices in pricing, marketing, cost management and branding to make money and a difference. In 2020 Roth is conducting the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Green Builds Business program, sponsored by Toyota, where he will be providing free coaching to business leaders on how to use today’s exciting new clean technologies to win customers and cut costs.