Studies indicate that 66% of consumers, regardless of age, will purchase from a brand they feel is sustainable and trustworthy. The numbers are even higher once the Millennial cohort is isolated; at 73%. When companies and brands tailor their advertising with trustworthy information for their target customer, conversion rates are boosted 30%.
Demographics Are Everything
Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1960, were once considered the largest generation to ever live. This generation, for decades, has been the foremost influence driving business’s marketing efforts and product lines. But, all that’s about to change.
In the next few decades, the largest transfer of wealth, over 30 trillion dollars, will take place—from Boomers to the Millennial generation and their little brothers and sisters; Generation Z. Demographics are everything, and the aging of the Boomers and the rise of Millennials and Gen Z is going to severely change the marketing and business landscape.
Millennials and their younger counterparts look at companies, brands, and businesses through an entirely different lens than Baby Boomers, and brands are starting to feel the pinch of their critical gaze.
The Millennial generation is far more risk-averse than their Boomer elders. Millennials are more likely to value experiences over things, and will spend their money accordingly. They are not investing in real estate, and are far less likely to buy a car new and on loan, or even own a car at all. Furthermore, this generation is more skeptical of brands than their predecessors.
Trust Is Visceral
While trust has always been an important metric and component driving customer buying decisions, with Millennials, trust is now a key component, not a peripheral, nebulous concept. For them, trust is visceral, and necessary. Despite their young age, this generation and the one behind it are jaded toward the business and advertising worlds.
It’s hardly surprising. While Boomers came of age during the post-war boom, when housing prices, relative to income, were still affordable across socio-economic status, for Millennials this is not the case. Furthermore, this generation witnessed and experienced the massive fallout of the housing crisis of 2008. Since then, this generation’s trust in institutions and brands and businesses was severely crippled and eroded. To earn Millennials coveted trust in the business world, brands are required to operate in a trustworthy, and sustainable fashion. And, brands who are perceived as civically responsible will be more likely to obtain those depreciating Millennial dollars in the coming years.
So, how can a brand appear trustworthy to younger consumers?
- History: By sharing the company history or brand’s personal story, offering social proof
- Accountability, i.e.: ‘money-back guarantees’ or offering free trials
- Affiliations: Proving authority through affiliation with other trustworthy brands in the sphere
- Relatability: Approaching from a sympathetic angle by understanding the customer’s pain points. Telling stories in an informal, casual tone
- Subtlety: Offer value first without requiring anything in return
Businesses will have to compete in this new generational ethos. Boomers will not be the largest holders of disposable income soon, and in order to stay competitive in the new market, brands that build trust with their customers will reign supreme.