Millennial marketing has been a hot topic as of late and for good reason. Accenture published a study in 2014 reporting that Millennials comprise almost 80 million of the U.S. population. This large generation also holds approximately 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchase power. They are a unique generation and marketers must take the time to understand their characteristics.

Millennials want to be involved and engaged with a brand. They commonly share information with their social groups and are highly interactive when it comes to technology. What is even more intriguing about Millennials is that they want to live the story with a brand and that is exactly what TOMS has done.

TOMS home page screenshot taken August 17 2015

A Brand with a Cause

TOMS is known for its one-to-one marketing. For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS donates to people in need. According to TOMS.com, 45 million pairs of shoes have been donated based upon customer purchases. After Blake Mycoskie, TOMS’ founder, visited a small village in Argentina and saw people without shoes, he decided to create a company that is heavy in philanthropy. His business model has turned out to be a success, as the company is now a multi-million dollar organization. It goes to show that consumers, especially Millennials, want to get behind a brand with a cause and they want to live the story too.

Living the Story, Virtually

TOMS has now taken it a step further with their customers and are giving them the opportunity to experience Peru. According to Mycoskie, customers’ top request has always been to “go on a giving trip.” Customers want to see who is benefiting from their purchases, which again, is part of that desire to live the story and get behind a cause.

TOMS’ flagship store in Venice Beach, California provides this virtual experience. The store has virtual reality goggles that consumers can wear to take a trip to Peru. As Mycoskie explained in a USAToday.com article, “now, with VR (virtual reality), we can take them to Peru…and when they take the headset off, your whole world is now upside down.” You can watch an interview with Mycoskie, as he explains the virtual reality experience offered to customers, on USAToday.com.

This endeavor was not cheap by any means. About $250,000 was spent to create the four-minute video, plus there is the additional cost of the virtual reality setups and staffing. However, it seems like it will be well worth the investment for TOMS, as their customers will get to experience the joys of giving.

Millennial Marketing Takeaway

Any brand that markets to Millennials would benefit from following TOMS’ great example of allowing customers to get behind a cause and live the story.