Three Gen Zers drinking Huel purchased with a student discount using online student identify verification.

Online Student Identity Verification Helps Huel Reach New Markets

Smart marketers have their eyes on college students. And who wouldn’t? Gen Z is the largest generation to date and will account for 40% of all US consumers by 2020. They’re forming their brand preferences and know exactly what they want: data privacy, personalized experiences, and social responsibility.

UK-based Huel, maker of the meal replacement phenom by the same name, is delivering the goods by giving college students a gated, exclusive offer. And the key to the offer’s success is online student identity verification.

Acquiring the Next Generation of Loyal Customers

Huel’s powdered food and bars have made the brand one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK. The products are popular for tech workers in Silicon Valley and are also gaining momentum in the US. But to really get traction in the American market, Huel needed a way to create a deeper connection with customers. 

The company decided to launch a gated, exclusive offer—10% off for all college students—to encourage younger consumers to become long-term subscribers. 

Redeeming the promotion was easy. Huel used SheerID’s Verification Platform to provide online student identity verification. Students simply enter minimal personal information and are instantly verified by the SheerID platform, which taps into nearly 200,000 authoritative data sources for its verification process. Verifying students prevented revenue loss through discount abuse and ensured the integrity of the offer.

3 Ways to Create a Promotion Gen Z Will Love

Huel follows in the footsteps of leading brands like Grubhub, Comcast, and Spotify, who are using gated student offers to break through the noise and engage Gen Z. Online student identity verification is what makes this strategy effective by enabling companies to:

01 Make the Offer Exclusive

Exclusivity is a powerful strategy. When brands target groups based on a deep-seated attribute—such as their life stage, employment, or affiliation—they’re telling those customers, “I see you.”

Traditional personalization tactics, like tracking user behavior, create transactional exchanges. But gated offers elicit an emotional response, which kindles a stronger connection. 

Our consumer survey revealed that gated offers make people feel “honored,” “special,” “excited,” and most of all, “rewarded.” And those sentiments activate buyers. When presented an exclusive discount, 91% of students are more likely to shop with a brand, and 94% would increase how frequently they shopped there.

Ninety-one percent of students are more likely to shop with a brand that provides a gated offer.

02 Align with Brand Values

Huel’s gated student offer aligns with brand attributes that are particularly appealing to Gen Z. Not only is Huel affordable and healthy, but the company produces it in an ethical and socially responsible way. Huel is 100% vegan, and it is manufactured with “no waste” and “minimal impact on animals and the environment.” 

Huel wants to help create an environmentally friendly and sustainable future by solving some of today’s most important global challenges, like reducing greenhouse gases and world hunger. That’s a future Gen Z is sure to rally behind. 

03 Respect Data Privacy

Eighty-seven percent of Gen Zers report that keeping their personal information private was more important to them than popularity measures such as getting “likes” on social media. These younger consumers want to connect with brands on new terms: in an invited and personalized way that respects their privacy.

Gated offers honor consumer demand for data privacy and enable brands to build a direct relationship with the customer. Online student identity verification gives students the ability to opt in to a brand relationship. Brands can then use the zero-party data they collect to nurture the relationship with additional offers and exclusive experiences.

The trust this establishes leads students to become loyal to the brand itself—not a third-party affiliate that promotes discounts on behalf of hundreds of other companies.

Eighty-seven percent of Gen Z say keeping their personal information private is more important to them than popularity measures such as getting "likes" on social media.

Online Student Identity Verification Is Global

As Huel continues to grow, it can be confident its gated offer program will easily scale. 

Using SheerID for online student identity verification can help the company deliver gated offers to college and university students in 191 countries. And enhanced fraud protection secures the promotions, even in geographies where fraud is rampant and hard to prevent.

Engaging Other High-Value Customers 

In addition to their student offer, Huel is giving a 10% discount to all members of the military. The company is also using digital verification to instantly verify this segment.

Huel’s military program is likely to just as profitable as its program for students. The military community has 37 million members with $1 trillion in spending power. And 95% of the military are more likely to shop with a brand that provides them with an exclusive discount.

Winning over Gen Zers 

Download Marketing to Gen Z to learn more about this segment and how to engage them.

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