Buying Authentic

There is a new(ish) trend in marketing that is appealing to young generations. Millennials and Gen Xers are in an existential search for all things “authentic.” While quality is still an important brand attribute, it is no longer the driving factor when it comes to making a purchase. These consumers are putting their trust in brands tugging at their heartstrings by way of charitable giving.

It started with brands like Toms and Warby Parker who didn’t just provide affordable and stylish apparel, but also connected emotionally by donating a pair of shoes or glasses with every purchase. Not only do Millennials want to avoid being labeled “posers,” but they want to feel good by supporting charitable businesses with their buying power.

According to Toluna, a consumer insights company, millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than boomers to be skeptical of brands supporting causes. However, they’re also more inclined to seek out brands that align with causes. They’re more likely, even, to pay more for products and sacrifice quality if it means their purchase goes to support a cause they believe in.

These 20–40 year-old consumers aren’t as gullible as one might think, however. They don’t just buy from businesses who claim to support a cause. The company’s support has to be authentic. There has to be a reason behind the support. Millennials are passionate about specific causes and helping people, which is why they want concrete evidence that their giving has an impact.

“Supporting a cause is no longer a choice for brands,” AdWeek’s Kinjil Mathur wrote. “But remember, it must be an authentic effort.”

For more Millennial consumer trends, check out this Forbes article.