Before, consumers were loyal to brands because of their offers, preferring brands with long-standing reputations. Now, staple brands are dying fast. According to Innosight, the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company will drop to 15-20 years this decade; it was 30-35 years in 1970.
Young people don’t care about tradition; they follow trends from the fast-paced media they grew up with. If brands don’t jump on the trends with them, they’ll be left behind.
Want to keep up with Gen-Zers’ short attention spans, but still market to spark their interest? The answer: active engagement.
Engagement is more than posting or liking comments. It’s seeking consumers’ thoughts and allowing them to co-create. It’s scary to hand over the reins, but engagement matters. Gen Z wants to patronize brands that invest in and reflect their identities.
How do you get Gen Z’s attention? Follow these steps to form connections with the generation that shattered brand loyalty.
Be where they are. Gen Z gravitates to social media that promotes authenticity (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, etc.). That authenticity matters: Gen-Zers have little tolerance for performative brands. If your brand is consistently authentic, you can reach them. Consider Scrub Daddy with 2.3 million TikTok followers. The company’s success is due to its self-aware advertising that plays into youthful humor.
Asher Gordon at Tug says, “You need to have specific content and creative for different channels for younger generations. They will often discover the product on TikTok before searching for reviews on Google, all while looking at unboxing tutorials on YouTube.” So, ensure you market across platforms and give equal weight to every touchpoint.
Celebrate differences. Gen Z wants to feel heard and represented. Per Forbes, 68% of young consumers view their purchases as keys to who they are and what they care about. Avoid a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, showcase representation through customization.
Nike offers customizable shoes so consumers can make products their own. Sephora allows consumers to virtually try makeup, order products, and read suggestions based on buying history. Ask yourself, “What can I offer to Gen-Zers to stand out? How can my brand be part of their identity?”
Ask, listen, act. Gen-Zers are vocal; 67% have (or would) provide product reviews, according to IBM. Capitalize on this trait. Ask consumers what they want, listen, and act. Invite feedback through experiences, online surveys, and dynamic focus groups. Use social listening tools to understand conversations around your brand and products.
Don’t be like Duolingo and ignore feedback that could prevent backlash. Generation Z is giving you insights to grow your brand. Use them.
Gen-Zers aren’t afraid to switch brands. And they’re the future. To join that future, you’ll need to stay relevant and adapt. Use an active engagement strategy to meet Gen-Zers where they are and speak directly to them.