Just as brands have gained a foothold in understanding the minds of Millennials, Gen Z has replaced them as the new power players in consumer spending. As digital- and social-first consumers, the endless stream of things vying for Gen Z’s attention is unprecedented. Brands face unique challenges in trying to attract and retain their loyalty, but it is possible with the right mix of authentic culture, quality and always-on engagement.
Here are a few tactics brands should employ to begin building a relationship with this powerhouse generation.
Always-On and Bite-Sized
Gen Z communication strategies are not one-size-fits-all. As kids toggle between multiple networks each day, brands need to define themselves within these ecosystems and become active participants. This will be their first Gen Z litmus test; get noticed, get followed. Content that resonates will win, and as visual-first consumers, they respond best to compelling imagery, short-form video and collaborations with recognizable talent.
Understand Gen Z Holistically
It’s not only important to understand their digital touchpoints, but also their offline behavior. Gen Z places significant value on family and the influence their family dynamic has on their choices. Sweety High recently conducted a study of Gen Z girls’ gift-giving habits, and despite the number of social networks and online resources at their disposal, they were more likely to take recommendations from friends and family first. This change in behavior is heavily influenced by the fact that Gen Z is the most culturally diverse generation on record. Brands need to mind these demographic changes, and strike the right balance in their marketing messages. Only then can they increase their affinity quotient.
Create Immersive Experiences
Brands should take an active role in helping consumers increase their personal social currency, and events present the ideal opportunity. And it’s a reciprocal relationship. The offline quickly becomes the online when Gen Z is involved – whether it’s visiting their favorite digital stars at VidConor checking out pop-up stores to embrace their favorite brands in person. Provide them with Instagram-able moments they can’t resist and gain valuable, organic tags that deepen their exposure within these social spheres. Also, the combination of online and in-person interaction fosters meaningful connections with the audience in a two-way conversation.
Maintain a Positive Purpose
Gen Z consumers are thoughtful and purposeful, from the jobs they seek to the products they buy. Giving back and paying it forward are important hallmarks, and marketers should lean in. Supporting causes that Gen Z values, such as environmental impact and gender equality, can greatly impact their behavior. That same study on Gen Z girls’ gift-giving habits also found that Gen Z is more likely to purchase a product with a charitable component (46%), where proceeds benefit another group or organization, than being influenced by that product’s ads and commercials (37%), or even a celebrity’s approval (12%). Brands should also be careful not to dive into cause-marketing without consideration for the right fit as Gen Z consumers are watch dogs for the #inauthentic.
Earning Gen Z’s loyalty isn’t easy, but their passion, engagement and influence over brands will only continue to grow. Build that relationship now, otherwise you may remain forever outside their social feeds.