Why Idea Brands Win With Millennials

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Millennials have often been considered lazy and arrogant due to their increase in technology use and seemingly passive mindset.  This could not be further from the truth.  As a multitasking generation, Millennials are constantly on the lookout for brands that align with their values and allow them to actively make a difference in their everyday lives.   The TOMS One for One campaign is one of the most successful cause brand campaigns.  They are winning with Millennials by engaging them in innovative ways, encouraging them to share their stories and marketing a cause that is different from anything else on the market.

Why the TOMS “One for One” campaign is so successful with Millennials

  • They provide an individualized toolkit for participation
  • Encourage Millennials to share their stories and engage in open dialogues about the cause rather than the product
  • Invite Millennials to be part of the cause and do not just ask for monetary donations.  TOMS is now considered a movement, not just a company.
  • The effect is immediate.  Directly after a customer purchases TOMS shoes or eyewear, the organization sends the information to their long-term Giving Partners to determine the size and quantity of shoes and eyeglasses to be sent overseas.
  • TOMS is effectively using the KIS technique.  By focusing only on shoes and eyewear, TOMS is “keeping it simple” and not exhausting their customers with too many options.
  • TOMS shoes and eyewear are stylish, trendy and adapt well to a Millennial lifestyle.

Why idea brands in general are successful with Millennials


When Millennials discover a cause they feel strongly about, they will share it with their peers.  This kind of cause communication is becoming increasingly more popular with domestic and international brands.   When a Millennial finds a brand that supports a cause they believe in, they will share with others and encourage them to engage with the brand as well.  Millennials have a deep-rooted life theme of peer affirmation.  A friend’s recognition will strengthen a Millennial’s desire to engage with and share a brand.


Millennials value the opportunity to communicate with brands.  By creating opportunities where Millennials are able to share their experiences, producers are engaging Millennials in a two-way conversation that goes deeper and creates a stronger connection.  Many successful idea brands are implementing this framework into their marketing campaigns.  Idea brands like TOMS are successfully making Millennials feel connected and involved.


Millennials accept difference

We are living in an era where the definition of “normal” has been broaden and redefined.   Millennials are a generation that has been raised to accept differences.  In this way, idea brands that are promoting causes that encourage action in an innovative way are winning with Millennials.  In return, Millennials are rewarding cause brands with higher customer loyalty and more word of mouth marketing.  Now, more than ever, brands are realizing that consumerism and altruism are not so different.


Leah Swartz contributed to this post.


Photo Credit: Saxon Campbell

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.