What students want from brands – Short-term deals vs long-term investment

What students want from brands - Short term deals vs long-term investment

Young people are more switched-on and consumer savvy than ever. In a digital world where they’re constantly inundated with advertisements of new products, brand deals and the latest discounts, how do you know what you’re offering is cutting through the noise? And most importantly how do you know it’s what your target audience wants to hear?

Voxburner’s suggests young people are committed consumers in it for the long run, their research found that over half (61%) of young people are loyal to one brand in particular. However, in a recent article, something caught my eye which stated young people are becoming more disconnected to brands than ever and they aren’t afraid to dump their banks or insurers at the chance for a better offer.

So, what’s the deal? Are young consumers attracted to shiny discounts or do they want a brand they can be loyal to and invest in long-term?


Using the finance industry as an example we looked at students willingness to switch and found when it comes to changing brands it’s usually done during the major milestones of a young person’s life and educational journey.

For example, when students go to university, we found 75% will open a new bank account in preparation and therefore shop around and do their research to ensure they are making the right decision. We see users turn to The Student Room every year to plan and seek advice about opening a student account and ask for recommendations on the best available offers:

“Would it be better to just upgrade my current account to a student account because of the benefits it will have?”

“What student bank account is the best?”

“Is there any bank with student deals, travelling offers, or rewards of any type?”


However, for some young consumers, a one-time offer isn’t enough. We also see students expressing the requirement for a bank that could last them long term going beyond life after university:

“I am looking at what bank is the best for the long-term for me”

“Moving out after University using graduate overdraft”

“What do people think would be the best things for me to do to get a mortgage?”

According to a YouGov survey, young people were more cautious for the future and wanted their banks to be involved and active in helping them plan for the long-term events they have to face:

  • 18% wanted help planning for retirement
  • 14% wanted banks to teach them how to compile a household budget
  • 27% want a bank to provide good practice tips/ideas for making their money go further

These learnings highlight how switched-on the youth market is to brands and their activity. They’re willing to shop around for the best deal when the time is right, but they also want to be loyal and expect a brand to look out for their best interests in return with ongoing support.


Consumers will always be tempted to look elsewhere when they reach a natural milestone to switch or upgrade, but make sure you’re present at the right time with the right offer. Our recent survey revealed the top persuading factors when students switch banks, and they are firstly to offer a good interest rate and secondly provide discounts such as a railcard.

Then it’s all about your loyalty program. Staying active and engaged with your customers is vital to achieving brand loyalty. Share useful advice that helps them along their journey, whether it’s how to budget during fresher’s week or ways to save for graduate employment. By helping young people plan for future milestones, they’ll consider you a part of their journey and therefore when they reach the next one, naturally turn to you.

The Student Room has a whopping 607,200 users in our youth finance segment. Want to connect with this audience? Check out how we can help you engage 75% of UK students using helpful content targeted at the right students at the right time.