January 15, 2022
You know the saying, “This is _____’s world now. We are just living in it”? Fill in that blank with Gen Z.
The past two years proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The entire world has been glued to the relevant, impactful, and sensitive content they created during every lockdown and beyond.
Why is it that the world is glued to Gen Z content?
Because they are digital natives. While older generations need to familiarise themselves with Instagram Lives and Reels, Gen Zers are already pros. Therefore, they are in a better position to reach audiences across screens during the pandemic.
So, how do you market to a generation that Alexis Ohanian, Reddit’s co-founder, aptly describes as “the first one to truly think of themselves as creators of content, not just consumers of it”?
Who is Gen Z, and how do brands market to them?
Chronologically, Generation Z, or iGen, are individuals born between 1997 and 2012. Currently, they make up 40% of the global consumers, and by the time 2035 rolls around, they’ll be responsible for 40% of luxury purchases.
While these stats are insightful, more critical is that Gen Z is a true digital native whose upbringing was shaped by the smartphone and the concomitant rise of social media.
Traditional advertising methods have little to no effect on them because the internet has been a pivotal part of their lives. To capture their attention, brands have to take a different marketing approach.
Be where they are
iGen doesn’t recognise a world without social media. So, to connect with them, you have to be present where they are. YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or any other networking platform is the right place to begin.
While Facebook is the most popular app among Gen Z, they tend to use a wide range of networking sites. As per Kantar, 39% of them have 4 or more social media accounts.
Don’t merely create social media pages. Be aware of the trends and change your strategy according to them. Generating branded content on trending topics is the easiest way to capture the attention of this demographic.
Don’t advertise, share an experience.
iGen grew up with and on the net. It’s made them socially aware and cognisant of their place in the wider world. Hard sales extolling competitive prices, lofty promises about product features or ads removed from reality don’t work on them.
You have to build a social experience around your brand, product, or service. Create a story that lets the generation know of your larger purpose and demonstrates the brand’s values. And beware of doing it just for the sake of the sale, because Gen Z can sniff out inauthenticity in a matter of seconds.
Bank on content creators
How does a brand combine the two – an authentic experience and a social media presence? By using content creators for marketing campaigns. 70% of Gen Z follows at least 1 influencer on online platforms, and 44% of them make a purchase decision based on a content creator’s recommendation.
Utilise the unique storytelling ability of creators to weave your brand into the lives of your target audience. The ideal influencer marketing campaign platform is Instagram, with 80% of brands preferring it.
When launching a campaign, make sure that the creator aligns with the brand values. If there is a gap, Gen Z will perceive it as shallow and inauthentic and will lose trust. To yield even better results, maintain long-term partnerships with creators.
Better yet, tap in Gen Z itself
The tools a brand has to market to Gen Z are social media and content creators. Build genuine and transparent influencer marketing campaigns and brands that can engage this demographic.
But, remember, they grew up with the internet in their pockets. They are used to consuming online content. That means a brand has to find better creators – creators who know social media instinctively. In short, the best way to market to Gen Z is to tap into Gen Z content creators for campaigns.
The last piece of advice on marketing to Gen Z
COVID-19 hit during the formative years of Generation Z. It made them wary of brands simply peddling sales through social media campaigns. What they want is brands with purpose, brands that support their employees and consumers during cataclysmic circumstances and brands who speak up.
So, rely on social media to rope them in. Bank on content creators to form that human connection. But do it while nurturing a community with them, instead of showing them blatant advertisements.