The Global Veteran Consumer: Cause Meets Luxury

For brands targeting veteran consumers, care and cause go a long way.

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Around the world, nations make a call for their brave to uphold the freedom of mankind. Many of them fight for freedoms they can't use themselves. From the UK to the U.S. to France to Australia to Canada, countries honor the sacrifice of soldiers through observed holidays. As important as those holidays are in reaching veterans, how brands reach them when the world is not watching is often more important for the civically engaged consumer. I've learned this through my past work helping brands launch products and have collected my insight into how brands can reach this segment of consumers.

Different Voices

Acknowledging the different voices of veterans in a unifying message is key. Veterans like the rest of the world are dynamic in culture and sexual orientation. In essence, keeping LGBTQ, women and diverse groups in mind, while serving them and marketing to them, is of high importance.

In the U.S. alone, the number of female veterans is projected to increase from around 2 million in 2016 to 2.2 million by 2046, according to Pew Research Center. While in Australia, historically, veterans were almost exclusively men, the contemporary cohort under the age 50 is made up of comparatively large numbers of women. The makeup of veterans in most countries is no longer just older men or those without homes. In the Netherlands, since 1973, LGBT people were allowed to openly serve in the military. It is without question that more needs to be done in other nations to support LGBT veterans and honor their service.

Finding a unifying message from country to country might seem hard. However, by fusing the types of service reached by your messaging to bring the diverse groups together, you can gain respect and loyalty from this global consumer. Giving through action creates loyalty with the veteran global community and goes beyond a simple donation or sponsorship of services where a logo gets placed.

Marketing to the Affluent

Marketing to affluent veteran groups such as the 'quiet-professional,' within the veteran community, has been found to be contradictory to regular practices in luxury. In order for your brand to reach the affluent veteran, you must simultaneously seek acceptance and exposure to the veteran in need. In my experience, veterans are linked by purpose and allowing for this type of cause-meets-luxury marketing has been effective for results-driven organizations. Reaching veterans must convey an understanding of the individual veteran's cultural nuances while accounting for the experiences that bring veterans together in a post-active duty lifestyle.

Proper Alignment

There are many government and non-profit organizations around the world that support veterans. Aligning with these organizations can be a good entry point for brands seeking to display their commitment to the global veterans' community in general. Globally, The World Veterans Federation with a reach of over 60 million veterans across the globe is a great start for international brands. The WVF maintains a consultative role status with the United Nations. The organization, which was founded in 1950, was conferred the title of "Peace Messenger" in 1987. Therefore, this could be a good alignment for brands sending a message of peace over war while still offering a way to capture the attention of and alignment with those wishing to protect the well-being of veterans and victims of war worldwide. To effectively engage in luxury marketing to the affluent veteran, you'll want cause marketing to be a part of the overall plan.

Regionally, aligning your brand through more localized organizations focuses on serving those who served in your specific country. Some that provide multidisciplined treatments for veterans are 'U.S. VETS' in the United States of America, 'Pro Patria Center' in Australia and 'Veterans Gateway' in the UK. In France, 'The Minister Of Veteran Affairs' is a good start. For other countries, reach out to your local veterans' government agency who can provide local resources. In a nutshell, locally or globally, always consider the veteran in need, while attempting to monetize or brand to the veteran luxury consumer.

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