David Benady is right to point out that students are a dream and nightmare in one (MW September 6) but he omits the most important thing to consider when attempting to build loyalty among them.
Students are at a lifestage and in an environment where they are most likely to experiment with brands. They also have an understanding of marketing tactics that would put most brand managers to shame, an in-built bullshit detector and a strong sense of their own preferences and perceptions. Another is to introduce something that they haven’t tried alongside something they are more familiar with and like.
This proximity of tried-and-approved and new encourages a more benign attitude. It is precisely because of this that when we work with major brands we unite them with the music they already love. The music element might be packaged as part of a gig or party, an exclusive ring tone for their mobile phone or even a personal appearance from the artist. Whichever way we do it our job is to ensure that the brand is an integral part of the package, not just a label.
After all, you’d be more receptive to someone new if a friend introduced you than if they simply stuck up a few banners at a concert telling you how great they were. And, by packaging brands with great music, even if the student decides that the brand is not for them, at least they have enjoyed the experimentation process.
Alec Samways, Director of marketing division, Slice, London W10