While this approach could be seen as a revolutionary way to advertise, it really is the next evolution of purpose-driven marketing, which has been successful at raising awareness around particular issues that resonate with a company's brand.

Of the international brands that have embraced this type of communication, some campaigns stand out, such as one done by Unilever's Dove. The beauty product range has always challenged the status quo of what society sees as beautiful.

A decade ago, it expanded on this value pillar by launching the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which helps young people build self-esteem and helps them build confidence in their bodies.

Effective brand strategies like these not only have an impact on those who are the brand’s target audience but also encourage positive change, challenging people to become invested in their communities, which helps create a better society.

When connecting with South Africa's young people through targeted messaging, businesses can help them overcome current socioeconomic challenges and make a positive contribution to society, while the company will also have the benefit of increased brand awareness.

A campaign could seek to promote social justice, entrepreneurship, or education — or a combination of those. Through real marketing campaigns, companies have a special chance to interact with South African youth this month. These programmes go beyond conventional advertising to build a sense of purpose and belonging among young people and engage them when it comes to challenges that are important to them.

By also including young people's voices and ideals into marketing strategies, this honours those who have made contributions to society and can be seen as role models, creating a legacy of positive change and empowerment, which further inspires young people to take the initiative and take part in determining their own destiny.

Mentorship programmes, for example, that are promoted through targeted advertising can serve as a bridge between new, aspirational talent and seasoned experts. Additionally, marketing initiatives that showcase neighbourhood success stories encourage people to follow their dreams and boost the local economy.

Statistics South Africa's first quarter unemployment print found that 35.5% of all young people between the ages of 15 and 34 are not employed, in education, or training programmes — a number that is slightly better than the same period last year of 36.1%.

An advertising campaign that directly targets young people and showcases success stories can inspire them to take up the challenge and reach their own goals, perhaps even starting a small business or helping out in the community.

At the same time, it is possible for companies to set goals for their target audience — challenging them through marketing. The ultimate inspiring youth marketing campaigns happen when interaction happens on a platform and the audience starts to engage with one another, sharing real experiences.

Through emphasising topics like skills enhancement and community involvement, marketing campaigns can create a climate in which youth feel encouraged and inspired to make a positive impact on society.

Purpose-driven marketing can be used as a vehicle for improving society by fostering chances for cooperation, creativity and long-term development. It can also change entire communities. 

For more information, visit www.imm.ac.za. You can also follow the IMM Graduate School on Facebook, LinkedIn, X, or on Instagram

*Image courtesy of contributor