Authenticity, Transparency, Impact: What College Students Want

Trying to get your message across to college students? Try incorporating the following three ideas behind what college students really want to see in your advertising.

1. Authenticity

College students are smart; they can tell when you are trying too hard or not hard enough to get their attention. Technology and especially social media make it hard to hide from millennials. As Matthew Tyson points out in his article on the Huffington Post, “millennials know you see their comments, messages, and photo posts” and they also “know you can see when you’re tagged, mentioned, or liked.”

Rather than ignore these updated modes of communication, start responding and engaging with students. Let students know you care and show who you are in your comments and posts. In addition, don’t try too hard when it comes to relating to the college student audience. You don’t have to be like millennials to offer them products and services that align with their needs, you just need to know how to be real with these students and treat them based on what they value.

2. Transparency

The best way to communicate to college students who you are and what you’re doing is to be as straightforward in your marketing as possible. Going for anything gimmicky could be perceived as phony or insincere by students who tend to distrust advertisements from the getgo. Students want to know what goes on behind closed doors. How was your product made? How will it benefit them? Why should they buy your product and why do they really need it?

According to Geoff Williams from Entrepreneur, “college students are often critical thinkers and wary about advertising.” Don’t get too caught up in creating grandiose advertisements with no information to back up your product.

3. Impact

Ads on TV, radio, and in magazines may be out when it comes to targeting this millennial group, as students now more commonly use online and streaming services instead of traditional media. But, something that might work for this audience is a focus on corporate values, according to an article in Adweek by Katie Richards. The article claimed students are more responsive to brands that give back to the community and which follow responsible business practices.

So, consider how your brand is making an impact and allow students to see this, whether that is on the environment, on a social issue, etc. You may just find that the best advertising for this demographic is simply showing you care about other causes.

Ready to make your mark on the college student world? Post your press release to