Top 6 Methods for Motivating Brand Loyalty among College Millennials

Top 6 Methods for Motivating Brand Loyalty among College Millennials

March 7, 2016

Top 6 Methods for Motivating Brand Loyalty among College Millennials

In a time of developing consumer behaviors and purchase patterns, “Discounts” lead the way to establish brand loyalty with college students, according to Refuel Agency’s annual College Explorer, a proprietary study that delves into the mindset and lifestyle of millennials.

Which brand loyalty motivators complete the list?

(1) Discounts: While average college students may not earn a lot of money, they sure can spend it—in 2015 total discretionary spending was $203B (the majority on food, automotive, clothes/shoes and technology). Due to their limited income, discounts are an effective way of marketing to college students, and a tactic that nurtures relationships that can pay off exponentially in the future. 72% of students say “Discounts” motivate them to stay loyal to a brand.

(2) Rewards/Loyalty Programs: Similar to discounts, loyalty programs help develop the connection between brands and college students. College millennials are impressionable, and providing rewards and loyalty programs demonstrates an understanding of their lifestyle and satisfies their need to be rewarded for their actions. 58% of students say “Rewards/Loyalty Programs” motivate brand loyalty. Furthermore, college students are extremely influential, 77% have recommended products or services to friends and family (GfK MRI Doublebase 2015), so earning their loyalty is a win, win for everyone.

(3) Customer Service: Everyone likes to feel important, and exemplar customer service is a surefire way to make people feel they are a priority. The same holds true for marketing to college students, as 55% of students say “Customer Service” motivates brand loyalty. When it comes to customer service, marketers must take into consideration college students’ propensity to ‘over share’—71% are willing to publicly post on social media—and the fact consumers are more likely to opine about poor customers experiences than good ones.

(4) Supporting a Social Cause: While cause marketing comes in lower on the list—34% of students say “Supporting a Social Cause” motivates brand loyalty—it can be an extremely effective millennial marketing tactic if done correctly. In an age of social responsibility, marketers who align themselves with a cause that resonates with college students can reap huge rewards; as seen with Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, Gap’s involvement with Product (Red) and TOMS One-for-One, the pillar on which the company was founded that has now extended to TOMS Campus Programs.

(5) Made in America: Only 25% of students say “Made in America” motivates brand loyalty. While on the surface, this seems like a platform that college students would rally around—create jobs, help the economy, environmental impact, and unfair wages & work conditions overseas—the fact that it only motivates loyalty in 1 out of 4 students is most likely related to the higher cost of American-made products.

(6) Product Quality: To some people it may be surprising that quality is last on the list; only 7% of students say “Product Quality” motivates brand loyalty. However, quality products cost more, and, since most college students have a limited income, they are price sensitive—bringing us full circle to Discounts being the #1 motivator of student loyalty.

Refuel Agency, a leader in Youth marketing, conducts multiple exclusive research studies each year. College Explorer, now in its 15th year, is the largest and most comprehensive study on college students of its kind. The 2015 edition focuses in on student spending, brand loyalty, likelihood to vote, political issues, technology habits, product purchase behavior, lifestyles, media consumption and more.

Access the Refuel Agency College Explorer Here>>
Refuel Agency College Explorer