The summer before I started seventh grade, a new store opened in the mall.
They had the. coolest. clothes. If I could have made my whole middle school wardrobe from that store, I would have been in heaven. Everything that was there, I wanted. The store itself was great. I wanted to live there. The people working there were amazing. I wanted to be friends with them.
At the very least, I NEEDED a first-day-of-school outfit from this store. The same outfit purchased at any other store would not have been the same.
Why? Because my affiliation with the store made me feel cool by association. Because having a piece of that store gave me a piece of something bigger, something that I wanted to be associated with– and something that I felt reflected me: my personality and style.
Yes, I was in middle school, a time when most people are struggling to fit in. But I’ve found that feeling still exists in adulthood. We all want to find our people. We all want a community that we can rely on. We all want to feel like we fit, somewhere.
We join marketing associations, we take group classes at the gym, we create book clubs, we attend conferences, we convene a neighborhood block party.
So it’s no surprise that the college-bound generation feels the same:
75 percent of Millennials see themselves as authentic and are not willing to compromise their family and personal values.– Bentley University Center for Women & Business
“Millennials value relationships and connectedness, not only with people but also with brands. They want to feel a real connection with the companies they buy from.” – Lindsay Tjepkema for Business2Community
Now, higher ed marketers: What are you doing to make your school THE place where your ideal student just…fits?
College selection is often the first BIG decision that teenagers get to make on their own. So, when they’re looking for a place to spend some of the most impactful years of their life, they want to find a place they can identify with.
Yes, you need the right programs and extracurriculars. But school choice is also about that feeling.
So how do you create content that gives your ideal student that feeling of connection?
Know your audience.
Tell your authentic story.
Provide opportunities for connection.
Remember: millennials crave authenticity and connection. When you share your school’s personality, you create avenues to develop the type of relationship they want. They type of relationship that will motivate them to invest their future–and their finances– in what your school has to offer.
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