Generation Z will save your Brand

Michalis Christopoulos

by Michalis Christopoulos

Tame, cheerful and always positive, he reminds us of the times before we were exposed in the merciless tortures that go along with living in the ad agency world. He is also a big videogames aficionado – he likes the wrong games apparently, but that’s alright.

We’ll start with an honest statement. Brands either grow or die. In this long-term pursuit, you have to pick a side. Unless you are selling diapers for old people or maternity clothes, growth will come from appealing to younger audiences. Lately, there has been a lot of discussion going on about this so-called Generation Z. Although we haven’t yet completely comprehended the Millennials, time flies by and we have already moved on the next generation, whose children have now aged to be the modern-day consumers and most popular target group for brands.

But who do they really are, which brands do they prefer and most importantly what must be done in order to make them pay attention to what you are saying? Let’s get back to basics!

“Brands either grow or die” .
Let’s take for example the legendary brand Harley-Davidson

A once upon a time world leader in motorcycle sales that has been steadily losing its market share, because it didn’t appeal to younger audience. The well-known “Hogs” might have been a thing in the past, but not anymore.

So, it all came to the decision of changing in order to grow or sticking to the tradition and die…

In August 2019, Harley-Davidson released its first electric motorcycle along its new strategy to attract 2 million new riders. Talk about change!

1. You might know them by the name “Influencers”

“Influencer” is by all means an old term in the marketing world, long before Gen Zers were even born. Especially if you consider that they currently are between 4-24 years old. But even though Influencers are both Millennials and Gen Zers and have been in the market scene for a long time, they now are more successful than ever.

Why is that? Because today, unless your share a moment on social media, it’s like it did not happen. And who can handle better the social media than Generation Z, which is something they were born with? No one.

Research has shown that most 2 years old kids know how to unlock a smartphone or search for a YouTube video. So digital is something that is totally natural to them – it’s part of their everyday life from day one. We just can’t compete with them, because they are a level ahead!

It’s totally common and acceptable for kids around 10 to 12 to have an Instagram account, that’s why they learn from a very young age how social works. They follow kids of their age, interact with influencers and even learn how to make money out of it. Ultimately, influence marketing is done best from them and targeted towards them, finding them in their natural habitat, online.

Check examples below

A rising global YouTube star with millions of subscribers, who became famous by showcasing her talents through her YouTube channel. She has achieved all these by the age of 14.
Sofia a lesser famous influencer, since she is only known in Greece. Even though her numbers are not as impressive as Anne’s, they are still amazing, considering the fact that she is addressed to a smaller audience. Sofia is only 12 years old.

A look at the social profiles of these young Generation Z influencers, will make you understand, why the kids of this generation are called digital natives.

2. Does your brand reach out to them?

Let’s face it, unless you are Nike, Apple or Coke that are constantly looking for ways to appeal to the next generation – and are super successful in doing so- your message might get lost in the transition.

Your brand that once upon a time was attractive to teens or young adults, it’s not getting its message through any more. Messages get old and markets move on.

And you start wondering –Will my brand be around in 10 years from now? Is this the end?

Such questions must have crossed your mind at some point and are likely to return, since market is a fast-paced, ever-changing world.

To answer these questions, you have to delve into Generation’s Z buying habits, think like an early adopter would and of course observe what top brands do.

What Gen Zers search for are authentic, consumer-centric brands, that make them feel unique.

So, «Is my brand authentic? »

A brand that has values and morals and stands by them no matter what while honestly divulging its practices (flaws and all). In fact, the thing people most wanted was open and honest communications about products and services. And that finding was consistent around the world.

Cohn Global Practice Leader of Corporate Affairs

Customer centric is a way of doing business with your customer in a way that provides a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits.

Steven MacDonald the famous digital marketer and blog writer

On the other hand, Millennials are seeking for experiences. They want to build relationships with the brands and be part of the innovative process. Want an example? Check out La Croix Water’s official Instagram page.

By encouraging its fans to use the hashtag #lacroix, this brand’s Instagram feed is mainly consisted of customer photos. It makes them actively engage on its account, they feel like they are contributing to its success and that’s why it is so popular among millennials.

Another thing you should watch out, if your brand is targeted to Millennials, is storytelling. In order to build a unique relationship between your brand and your customers, storytelling is an essential element. Tired of the fake news that have been dominating the internet and in dire need of a captivating story, Millennials truly appreciate and trust a brand that offers them an authentic and memorable story.

Last but not least, a thing that really matters to Millennials is… values. They want brands with values. What does that mean? It’s an assemblage of many factors like reliability, transparency, pricing etc. A Washington, D.C-based research and brand-tracking technology company, wrote in the introduction of one such study:

Crucially, Millennials expect more from brands. From the shoes they wear to the coffee they Instagram, brand choices are increasingly used to project values in public and online, elevating the need for brands themselves to be value-conscious.

founder and CEO of Morning Consult

So, it all comes down to finding your target group. But you already know it… right?

Key factors to attract a generation

3. Let’s see how we can earn their loyalty!

Millennials might currently be the powerhouse of consumer spending, but as the chart above shows (check it out, if you didn’t), Gen Zers are following up with even more promising buying power. The catch to attract them is to become one with their “flow”. Every day they spent the tremendous average time of 180 min. socializing online. They create an informal vlog, by posting various moments of their life in the form of photographs, stories etc. As a matter of fact, if they don’t post something on social media, it’s like it never happened -as we mentioned before-. That’s where you have to find them, blend in and make them feel unique. Hence, you have to understand their consumer behavior and get their attention. It is of paramount importance that you deploy a solid content marketing strategy, an approach focused on consistent, quality content that will keep your audience engaged and might as well lead them to profitable, for you, actions.

The frequency of your content distribution is of less significance. For example, Nike might go for 2 weeks without posting a single post on Instagram, but when they do – you just go “WOW”.  Is there a “mastermind” plan behind this pattern? Yes, of course. The plan is to post, only when your content is of top quality and you have something important to say, something that will speak at the heart of your audience. That way, you will never go wrong.

Think Different

At the end of the day, generations are following one another, the trends are changing and you definitely can’t foresee, how the next one will behave. What really matters is to find those touchpoints for your brand, that will ensure longevity, awareness, effectiveness and easy adaptation to what the future might hold. It’s high time you sharpened your marketing strategies and adjusted them so that they can be aligned with your target group’s preferences. Doing so, will make it easier for you to infiltrate them and become established among your audience. To put it simply… “Think Different” like Apple. It does it for so many years and it hasn’t gone wrong. It’s not easy finding a way to always be in the limelight, but once you discover the pattern that works for your brand, you will be as successful as ever. And if you can’t figure it out alone, don’t be stressed. That’s what marketing agencies are for!

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