FRIDAY 15 FEB 2019 12:01 PM


In a recent survey conducted by Campus Society, the UK’s leading social network for university students, students ranked the top 10 brands they admired most and why, with Nike, Apple and Adidas topping the list.

While these brands may not come as a surprise given their ubiquitous logos and advertising, all three brands are known for so much more than simple product quality, specifically innovation and their ability to craft a brand identity that is tied to larger issues, such as diversity, civil rights and environmentalism.

Perhaps more importantly, all three companies are able to communicate these messages in a manner that clearly resonates with young people. For example, Nike’s 2018 ad featuring social justice icon and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick was initially perceived as controversial, but the risk seems to have paid off with younger consumers who often want to be associated with brands who boldly uphold the same values that they do.

“All of the top three brands have chosen to support big issues, and it’s clearly connected with the student demographic who are concerned by the same world events,” says Rashid Ajami, CEO and founder of Campus Society. “But all of these organisations will have to remain current if they want to hold the ranking’s top spots; managing communities of like-minded people will be integral to this.”

Indeed, the channels through which companies communicate with customers and the frequency of this communication matters to young people. In an increasingly digital landscape, traditional marketing channels may not be as effective. According to BrandZ research, Adidas now employs a digital-first marketing strategy, which played a significant role in the 58% increase in its brand value in 2017.

However, as social media sites become more saturated with ads, frequency of advertising also plays a role in consumer admiration. Campus Society also asked students to rank the top 10 companies in the finance industry who were best at communicating with them, and 61% of students rated frequency of communication as the reason they chose a brand.

“The communication landscape is rapidly evolving, and the brands who get the frequency, relevance and mechanism of content delivery right will reap the benefits of better, more meaningful connections with students,” adds Ajami.