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How to get Gen X and Gen Y to buy: Give them a reason


The power of charity partnerships is becoming clearer all the time. More than three million Australians are switching brands for a cause.

Consumers particularly keen on this are Gen X and Gen Y, encompassing ages from 20 to 49, with around 20 per cent changing brands when it allows them to support a cause.

Research from the ‘Switching Brands for a Cause’ report from Cavill + Co shows that almost one in six Aussies of all ages, incomes and family circumstances have made the switch for a cause.

What’s in it for… everyone?

Hailey Cavill, social entrepreneur and Director of Cavill + Co, said the findings expose the admirably altruistic underlying motivations of the average Aussie.

“The potential to win over even 10per cent of consumers would be good news, and our research shows partnering with a charity can almost double this,” she said.

“A properly set up charity partnership is an absolute winner in today’s fiercely competitive retail environment. By comparison, advertising is often unreliable, brand differentiation can be short-lived, and social media can be frighteningly risky.”

Cavill also pointed out that a charity partnership has benefits far beyond the realm of sales figures.

“There is a strong business case for adopting a charity and then leveraging the partnership.  It motivates staff and builds pride, differentiates your brand, builds trust, enhances your corporate reputation, provides emotive content for social media – but the conquest sales alone would justify the strategy,” she said.

“These groups care about the social implications of their purchases, and this research shows that they are flexing their altruistic muscle at the checkout.”

Different dispositions, similar motivations

Cavill + Co research identifies Gen Y (ages 20-34) as fickle, cashed-up consumers who have high levels of disposable income, like going out, love shopping (gadgets, clothing and takeaway food) and are concerned about social and environmental issues.

Gen X (35-49) comprises deal-hungry prudent purchasers, spending big on luxury items including fragrances, cosmetics, beauty products, fashion and alcohol, entertainment and health services – and copious helpings of coffee!

These groups represent 11 million Australians – around half the population – and they are more concerned with causes than any other demographic.

Recent research reveals…

In the survey, ‘Switching Brands for a Cause’, conducted by Di Marzio Research during the week of 3 March 2014, consumers were asked if they had switched products or services in the last year due to its support of a charity or cause.

Overall, 16-per cent of the population agreed, and 19-per cent of both Gen X and Gen Y agreed. The highest level of switching was for the 25-34 age group, with 25 per cent having switched.

Consumers in NSW were more likely to switch (21 per cent) than those in traditionally philanthropic Victoria (10 per cent), blue collar workers more likely (18 per cent) than retirees (10 per cent), and singles more likely (21 per cent) than couples (16 per cent), those with children (15 per cent) or empty nesters (12 per cent).

Ms Cavill said the figures were compelling for marketing managers weighing up the merits of supporting a charity and promoting that charity on product packaging or advertising.

“The question that matters is whether enough people will switch to your brand to justify what you invest in the charity, pack change or POS material, and leverage costs. The answer is clearly yes,” she said.

“But too many marketers choose the wrong charity or focus on the wrong message at the point of purchase – or fail to support the partnership with additional promotion.

“Getting the right charity and communicating it correctly are critical, and that’s where Cavill + Co comes in. We’ve created 41 corporate-cause partnerships in 18 years, and we can help to make it a win-win for both the corporate and charitable partners.”

Anthillians, check here to read the full report.