Modern day students are extremely savvy when it comes to brands and their marketing campaigns. They can tell fake-ness or when they’re being talked down to from a mile off, so perfecting your campaign and your tone-of-voice is seriously important. You don’t want to appear like the uncool relative trying to be ‘down with the kids’ at the family party, instead you need to evoke familiarity and affinity with those that you’re targeting. The rule we always stick with is, if you aren’t sure about your idea, don’t use it, re-think it, rework it and go ahead when you’re confident it’s the right approach for your target audience. Here are four key considerations when planning your marketing campaign:
Approaching your campaign and brand identity with your audience in mind is integral to a successful brand. When targeting students, as we mentioned above, familiarity is a big part of creating an important connection with your audience. It’s also well known that there is a strong link between familiarity and trust as it creates a feeling of ease that allows your audience to be more open.
To decide on your brand tone-of-voice you need to focus on your audience firstly, and your brand’s core principles in the secondary – yes, when it comes to communications, your audience is paramount. Think in terms of what your audience would want to see and hear. Ask questions such as, would they like to know in-depth information or a more informal approach? What are their other interests online? You could even go as far to include a focus group in your research.
Students want authenticity
Students won’t connect with brands if they feel they underestimate their intelligence or savviness. There can often be a voice in your head that will tell you to oversimplify things for a younger audience, but this is exactly what the modern generation of students doesn’t want or respond well to. The current generation of students want an authentic voice; they want to see and hear someone or something they can trust. They want to connect with brands that think about the environment around them, what their needs and wants are, and consider their impact on the wider world.
Think about these ideas and include them in your messaging and even in your brand ethos to ensure consistency across all the sectors of your business.
A great way of building an air of authenticity in your brand is by getting students involved; your audience is seeing their peer’s engaging with your brand, and we know just how powerful word of mouth is when encouraging decisions or behaviours. Get students involved with a fun activation on social media; the current generation of students love to show off their creative flair, so whether it’s a caption this funny image, or asking them to create a fun short video clip there’s lots of ways to encourage student content which can be shared to their peers (and slyly promotes your brand).
Tone of Voice
We’re not going to tell you the exact tone-of-voice that you need to use to market to students because there is no one-size-fits-all! Your brand’s tone-of-voice completely depends on what sort of product or service you are selling as well as your specific audience – students encompass their own mini-demographics so it’s important to consider these nuances. The age-old examples of brands getting it right are Innocent and Paddy Power. Innocent who thrive on wit, humour and friendly banter and Paddy Power who are a bit more risqué, not afraid to be controversial and talk to you like your mates down the pub, have got it spot on. A good place to start if you are unsure the route your brand should take is by looking at brands you like, brands students like and competitors to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.
Finally, be sure to keep in mind the platform you are using when putting together your content plans, as different channels require different strategies. For example, the way you talk to your Facebook audience will be drastically different to how you would talk to your Snapchat audience. Snapchat’s is known for attracting a younger demographic for its fun and flash features. You can be really creative and grasp attention quickly as there is a ‘fear of missing out’ as the content disappears after 24 hours. However, on Facebook, the demographic tends to be broader, so there are more mini-demographics to consider – again there is no one-size-fits-all here.
Another key consideration is each platform’s unique algorithms – Facebook currently values video greatly as it expands its proposition, so it allows brands to tap into higher rankings and more frequent organic placement through sharing more native video content.
So, our top advice for talking to students is to always consider your specific audience, ask questions to figure out what they would like to see from your brand, be authentic in your messaging and finally, don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun!