In a recent poll that identified the most admired brands among university students, Nike came out on top. The open poll counted the opinions of more than 2,000 users of the UK’s biggest student social network, Campus Society, last month.

Nike’s lead was significant, with the fashion brand getting more than twice the number of votes as second-placed Apple. Shoe maker Adidas took third place, ASOS ranked fourth, and fashion retailer Zara came in fifth place overall. Spots 6 through 10 were taken by Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Vans, Samsung and Lush.

The students were also asked which brands communicate with them best across three categories. The first five places for financial services went to Santander, HSBC, Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds Bank respectively. They considered getting the frequency of communication right to be the most important factor for financial services.

In the technology category, students reported that exciting content was the most important factor to them. In this group, first through fifth places went to Apple, Samsung, Sony, Google and Amazon respectively.

The third category students were asked to rank for communication was health and beauty. The top five here were Boots, Superdrug, Nivea, Lush and Beauty Bay. Students said that relevant offers and discounts was the most important factor in this category.

How Can Brands Win Over University Students?

What can brands do to gain students’ admiration? Product quality was identified by 97 per cent of students as an important consideration, with innovation (34 per cent) and inspiring content (33 per cent) rounding out the top three. These ranked above issues that many people associate with Millennials like diversity and inclusion (17 per cent), a good environmental footprint (13 per cent) and having a positive impact on society (also 13 per cent).

Last year, Nike selected American football player Colin Kaepernick as its face after he refused to stand up for his country’s national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism. In addition, the brand’s UK content like the Nothing Beats a Londoner campaign, which featured young Londoners along with musicians and athletes celebrating the city’s diversity, won it favour with young people.

Campus Society Founder and CEO Rashid Ajami said: “All of the top three brands have chosen to support big issues, and it’s clearly connected with the student demographic who are concerned by the same world events, and who want to be affiliated with companies personifying their same values. But all of these organisations will have to remain current if they want to hold the ranking’s top spots; managing communities of like-minded people will be integral to this.”

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.