Companies driven by the mantra of "doing well by doing good," a bandwagon many jumped on in recent years, seem poised to be sweetly rewarded by connecting more successfully and emotionally with Gen Zs (post-Millennials, born after 1995) than with prior generations.
Summer is finally here, yay! Who doesn't love this time of year? For young people, in particular, it's a time of fun. But there is another side of summer that parents, teachers and coaches know all too well: the dreaded summer slide. In case you're not familiar with the concept, the summer slide is what happens when kids are out of class and off the fields and courts and their skills begin to slip away.
Teens today are keenly aware of the horrific events plaguing society in recent years, including the latest mass shooting in Florida. Their parents can't shelter them from such disturbing news because it invades their social media feeds in the form of hashtags on Twitter, Facebook profile photo filters, and images of support on Instagram.
Recently, the Pew Research Center reported a shocking milestone for young adults. For the first time in more than 130 years, more adults 18 - 34 are living at home with their parents than are living on their own with a romantic partner (32.1% vs. 31.6%).
Not so long ago, one of the most cringe-inducing things you could do was to share a vertically shot video. You know, these much-maligned monstrosities displayed on our standard, horizontally oriented screens with unsightly, visual-frame-consuming black bars around a teeny-tiny video that was as hard to see as it was annoying.
Next Thursday, June 2, is Wear Orange Day. It's a day dedicated raising awareness around gun violence across the country. No matter how people might feel about guns or the Second Amendment or concealed carry or arming teachers, most people can agree that too many kids and teens are killed by firearms every year.
Teens aren't historically known for thinking about their health and wellness on a regular basis. Instead, they're thought to have passion for video games, binge watching TV, and eating junk food. While it's true that they still are more likely than the average person to consume food and drinks that are nutritionally bankrupt-mostly because they can get away with it more readily than adults-they are also cognizant of how their behaviors and choices now affect their wellness both now and in the future.
Don't look now, but Millennials and Gen Z are re-writing the book on what looks good. By popular demand, Mattel's iconic Barbie is now available in three different body types, and a greater diversity of skin tones. Once-cheeky Abercrombie & Fitch is suddenly all about the clothes, and features a rugged model with a beard and a man-bun as the face of its Spring 2016 line. Wholesome braids and bangs are back in vogue. Some of the icons of so-called "women's fashion" are men, transgender women and gender-fluid. Differing body types and abilities are now celebrated.
Every brand looks to the future, thinking about the next generation of customers and how to connect with them. The popularity of video has boomed in recent years, and a new study from Defy Media, a digital entertainment company, solidifies the importance of video in connecting with the next generation.
They say April is the cruelest month, but if you are interested in engaging and marketing to teens, it should be the month you look forward to all year. Why? Because April is the month Piper Jaffray issues its "Taking Stock with Teens" annual collaborative consumer insights report. I came across this several years ago and have found it to be an incredibly interesting and really useful read.