Brands emphasising self-development and purpose win with Millennials


I recently read an article about brands benefitting from encouraging consumers to be a better version of themselves. Instead of joining the crowd in trying to make consumer’s lives easier and more convenient, the article spoke about brands encouraging earned reward through a longer but more fulfilling offer. Building relationships with customers based on their self-development is only going to be beneficial and breed a positive consumer affiliation with brands.

I can’t help but mention Maslow’s hierarchy of needs so…

By positioning your brand as a “means to an end” rather than just the end product appeals to a deeper need than just getting the end result. Appeal to consumer’s aspirations, encourage them to utilise you to reach their goals, attract them by encouraging them get more out of the things they do. This is appealing to a few of the basic human needs on Maslow's hierarchy. The need for Esteem, Belonging and Self Actualisation. These needs cover the human demand for self-esteem, sense of connection and the desire to become the most that one can be.

Maslow Hierarchy of needs


Maslow states these needs as basic for human fulfilment and brands can really play on this. Thanks again, Maslow!



Millennials seeking meaning

Back to the article I read… It spoke about the intrinsic value of meaning and purpose in people’s lives and how brands can jump on this human need to reap rewards. This is particularly true with the rise of young people looking for deeper meaning in their working and personal lives. There’s so many articles that talk about the fact that millennials look for “purpose not paycheck” within their jobs, and personally too. They want to do something that makes them feel fulfilled and satisfied that they are giving and getting in equal amounts. The millennial obsession with self-care, slowing down and looking for meaning in their actions is something brands can latch on to. Millennials spend twice as long on self-care activities and get far more enjoyment and reward from 'experiences', rather than material things, in general. Even if it is just the creation of the perfect avocado on toast.

Self-care and self-development

Brands that encourage consumers to put effort it and gain reward themselves, rather than serving it on a plate, are the ones that are resonating with young adults of today. We’ve already seen brands moving with the times and trying to appeal to millennial values of self-care and self-development. McDonald’s launched the McWrap as a health option to attract millennials to the fast food chain. Tom’s shoes are a hit with millennials as they appeal to one of their core values of purpose and connection by giving something back.

Diary and toast


Nike is consistently rated one of the top performing brands with millennials. This is because Nike have a strong simple core value that resonates deeply with their target audience. Nike seek to influence, they seek to encourage and they seek to inspire. Their mission statement is"to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete", with co-founder Bill Bowerson stating that"if you have a body, you are an athlete."

Nike have positioned themselves as an aspirational brand, at an attainable cost- this is the millennial’s dream.

Time is precious Nike ad
Stop dreaming, start working Nike ad
Everyone loses games, few change them Nike ad


As millennials shop to be a part of a brand and it's bigger picture, rather than simply to purchase a product, companies need to align with how millennials live their lives. This is why the brands that focus on meaning, reward and personal-development and pitch themselves as a tool to help will prosper. Brands that tailor their marketing messages and voice to emphasise their authentic purpose and “why” will always win with millennials. 

Yesterday you said tomorrow Nike ad
Originally posted here on Linkedin 

Topics: storytelling, Brand


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