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Brands must adopt millennial values to build high trust with this generation

Brand Building Best Practices

Trust | Millennials

Brands must adopt

millennial values

to build high trust

with this generation

These skeptical consumers

require responsible behavior

by Layla Khan

Planning Director

J. Walter Thompson, Mumbai


Millennials grew up amid the era of India’s technological awakening and transformation. This tectonic shift in Indian society molded these young adults as conscious and highly informed consumers, who expect and demand transparency and prefer to do business with brands that have expertise in their offerings and authenticity in their claims. These consumers want to make an impact in every sphere of their lives, and choose to associate with brands whose purpose and ethical business practices resonate with their life philosophies.

Unlike prior generations that bought what marketers sold them through a clever television commercial, a brightly lit billboard, or a sale at a superstore, millennials challenge those marketing tactics and strategies. Members of this techs-savvy generation have a compulsive need to consult their trusted ally, the internet, for every dilemma they face. Whether millennials need to know the status of traffic, choose a restaurant, or buy groceries or clothes, the internet is their go-to place. The internet provides not only convenient product-price comparisons, but also comprehensive product reviews. Technology has turned the tables and has left the power in hands of consumers, leaving marketers with no choice but to deliver the best.

Being a source of unfiltered and uncensored information, the internet has enabled awareness about chemicals and preservatives in everyday products, and their harmful effects on the personal health and the environment. This knowledge has triggered millennial anxiety about chemicals and preservatives that has led to a clean-living revolution, an organic lifestyle.

Clean label is changing the game

Clean label, earlier prevalent only within certain niche circles, has become a mainstream phenomenon with the disruptive entry in the FMCG industry by Patanjali, a local player that posed a threat to the multinational giants with its nationalistic narrative, aggressive marketing, and ayurvedic and chemical-free product claims. Although the company landed in various controversies for its product quality standards, it triggered a natural products wave and as a consequence made its multinational rivals shift focus to Ayurveda, which led to the launch of Colgate’s Cibaca Vedshakti and revival of Lever’s Ayush ayurveda.

This wave catapulted home-grown premium brands to fame as they met the requirements of millennials. Forest Essentials, known to be the pioneer in the luxury ayurvedic segment, demonstrates expertise by using traditional methods in making of its handcrafted beauty products, and adheres to highest standards of purity, authenticity, and quality when it comes to its ingredients.

Similarly, Kama Ayurveda has an internationally certified organic product range. The brand has taken a step further to demonstrate authenticity by dedicating a blog on its website to defining and explaining what truly organic products mean. Another organic brand, 24 Mantra, exhibits its US, EU, and India organic certificates on its product pack. In 2017, the brand launched a purpose-driven campaign called, “Freedom from Pesticides.” The goal was to create awareness about harmful effects of pesticide-contaminated food and promote organic food as a healthy choice.

To be successful in these changing times, brands need to recognize and embrace the millennial rules of consumption and reinvent their products and brand promise to win millennial trust.

Brand Building Action Points

  1. Be transparent Pride of Cows, an organic milk brand, is transparent about its entire milking process. It places emphasis on quality milk production by insuring that milk reaches the customer within three hours and it maintains a cold supply chain to guard against bacterial contamination.

  1. Demonstrate expertise Raw Pressary, a start-up launched in 2013, has demonstrated expertise in cold press technology that avoids oxidation and preserves the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. It offers fresh, cold pressed fruit and vegetable juices with no sugar or preservatives

  1. Be authentic Good Earth stands for sustainable luxury and reviving authentic skills of crafts communities of India. It offers apparel and lifestyle products that are focused on Indianness, and handcrafted and inspired by nature, history, and heritage of India.

  1. Be purpose-driven The Body Shop, with its sustainable business and CSR strategy, “Enrich not exploit,” aims to be world’s most ethical and truly sustainable global business. It has taken a higher order purpose by insuring its ingredients are 100 percent traceable and sustainably sourced, with product packaging 70 percent fossil fuel free.