The world has changed, and this change reflects most in how Gen Z reacts to brands. With 20+ years in marketing, the big insight is that older generations do not understand the younger ones. The zoomers are the 1st generation of digital natives. Delighted amazement on discovering the ancient ‘Binaca Sangeet Mala’ may please be excused, it’s the on-demand generation.
Social media has given this generation the ability to consume information, influence institutions, and share their opinions with almost limitless possibilities. It has also unlocked their ability to question authority in new ways. The lockdown has not curtailed their outdoor activities but not their desire to participate and be heard. Digital as a key driver to information, connections, and as an outlet for individual voices has taken center stage. Gen Z considers themselves the most affected by the pandemic, they are more invested in social change than ever before.
Here are a few tips to enhance your brand marketing appeal for this generation
Snackable Content for a Time-Starved Generation: You may have heard that the attention span of zoomers is 8 seconds long. A generation that grew up on YouTube is now surviving on Instagram reels. The success of video is no secret, but the attention span is something to consider when planning your content.
Evoke an Emotion: It is why puppies and kittens rule Instagram, that awwwww moment is what you compete with. While we can’t have every brand being as cute as puppies, emotional engagement is important and humor, fun, and sarcasm is the next best bankable bet.
Co-Creation is Bigger than Broadcast Messaging: The gold standard here is co-creating a product the opportunities for which may be few and far in between, but co-creation in your marketing campaign is achievable. Include the consumer in your content, look at consumer-based shoots rather than models for example, or simply include an Augmented reality filter into your campaign which will engage the zoomers in a more meaningful way than just putting a fancy hat on their head. A great example is Disney’s filter on Snapchat that transformed folks into Disney characters.
Digital Campfires and Value Positive Conversations: Social media is great but the zoomers are increasingly attracted to smaller like-minded communities, as the saying goes “birds of the same feather….”. There are communities focused on gaming, motorcycling, cooking, adventure sports, and more. Some of these are websites and fewer still are apps but a lot of these are spread out over closed groups on Facebook. Consumers flock there because they learn, share, show off and engage with folks who like the same things as they do. This behavior is an opportunity for brands to build and create their own platforms and communities that will be valuable high engagement destinations for the zoomers while being closely aligned with the brand and the product. It’s a gold mine for value positive conversations, it is also incidentally where web 3.0 is emerging. Owned communities can dovetail into co-creation and other marketing initiatives. Eg: it’s where consumers can also share their design ideas for a new product variant or a concept for a new ad. The possibilities are immense.
Online Reviews are a Gold Mine: 96 percent of zoomers according to a report, take time to read reviews or recommendations for products they are considering buying. This underlines the importance of reviews in the purchase decision-making process. Investing in reputation management is important as is having a system of encouraging reviews for your products across platforms. Influencer marketing and YouTube reviews are contributors to your overall reputation. Another approach is to go back to that digital campfire and engage with customers such that they peer-review purchases and give candid reviews about your brand, this could also transition into micro-influencers.
Sustainability and Social Change: The pandemic hinted at a potentially brighter future for the environment and the zoomers have embraced the potential of that change wholeheartedly. They care for sustainability practices and favor brands that are taking definitive steps to reduce climate impact. Responsible practices endear your brand to this audience. The zoomers are far more likely to buy from a brand they believe is working to bring about positive change with socially and environmentally friendly behaviors and practices.
One of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic has been the realization of how quickly individuals, organizations can change and adapt. Brands that have participated in social change have benefited from consumer loyalty and an increase in adoption. Your owned digital campfire is again an opportunity to increase investment by the zoomers into your brand and its socially responsible initiatives.
All things considered, the strategy to reach this generation of digital natives is rooted in empathy, technology, and consistent investment into the content.