The modern marketplace is about to undergo an imminent change in the most important demographics. In the next several years, the dominance of Millennials in the marketplace will continue to be a significant factor but it will soon be diminished by the younger generation, often referred to as “Millennials on steroids,” or Generation Z.
Indeed, the Millennials-focused marketplace will soon discover that the new generation is rising: Generation Z. It includes customers aged 13 to 18 and already makes up 25 percent of the U.S. population. They are predicted to account for about 40 percent of all consumers by 2020, so they will have a profound influence on the branding.
Satisfying the expectation of these two generations will require a lot of effort. Here’s what you should know.
What Characterizes Generation Z and Millennials?
The most important thing that marketers should understand about these two generations is that they are extremely demandable. They want products and services to meet all their needs, no matter how difficult it is for brands.
Also, both generations are hyperconnected and interested in technology. Traditional media don’t interest them because they like to interact with content on a daily basis and contribute to its generation.
Next, according to a recent study by Response Media, Generation Z uses a multifaceted approach to social media; for example, on Facebook, they search for information; on Instagram, they share real-life moments; on Twitter, they read the latest news.
There are, however, some important differences between the two generations. For example, Millennials tend to make a lot of purchases online. On the other hand, 82 percent of Gen Z prefer to skip ads while more than 50 percent use ad blockers to avoid seeing promotional content.
Simply put, Gen Z is indeed Millennials on steroids because are more engaged with the online world and are more demanding.
How to connect with both Millennials and Gen Z using branding? Read below.
Brand Engagement Approaches
1. Incorporate Social Responsibility
Both Millennials and Gen-Zers value socially responsible brands that stand up for values like income, racial and gender equality, and environmental protection. In other words, the brands that think about others and offer their help when needed are seen as more relevant than others.
Simply said, no one likes a friend who asks to give them money but never offers help.
2. Use Real People to Brand Your Business
By “real people,” we don’t mean models. Only real people, especially from the target generation, can help to connect with a brand because people look for someone who reflects their own lives. A great example of a campaign that targeted new generations is Doves’ campaign for Real Beauty.
Instead of using idealized female beauty standards, the marketers at Dove decided to utilize a different approach and celebrated body-diverse beauty through products such as Body Wash bottles of various shapes and sizes.
3. Create Relatable Content (No Idealizations!)
As it was mentioned above, new generations prefer brands that know their needs and use this knowledge for branding. The same rule applies to content as well: if a brand features relatable depictions of life, Millennials and Gen-Zers will appreciate that.
On the other hand, if the depictions are idealized, this means that the brand’s content is not aligned to the needs of young customers. To avoid seeing sales and brand image suffering, you should produce remarkable, customer-focused content that maintains the values of the brand.
4. Use Influencer Marketing
This is a proven way to reach younger customers. Both Gen Zers and Millennials look up to people their own age, which makes influencers perfect to reach broad audiences through social media networks.
Young stars like Jenna Marbles appear to be much better at getting attention than traditional media such as paid ads. For example, the State of Influencer Engagement report found that 93 percent of marketing professionals considered influencer engagement an effective strategy to build brand awareness.
Remember: celebrities no longer have the monopoly on influence. Young people are looking for someone relatable, someone “regular,” someone more like themselves. This makes sharing a unique perspective or opinion using a relatable person a great option to gain influence online.
5. Be Cool
Your target audience is young, remember about that. Gen Zers are aged between 5 and 22 years, so being “cool” is really important here. A brand that uses the latest and the most sophisticated technology to design a product or deliver an experience will be popular among them. For example, this is one of the main reasons why Apple and Google are so appealing to young people.
“By positioning your brand as an innovative one (preferably, to a degree that is changing a community or a group of people), you’ll have much more chances to develop an image of a “cool” business” – says Emily Kurowski, PR manager at A-writer. Just make sure that your branding is consistent with the brand’s history.
6. Be Rewarding
Both Millennials and Gen Zers are very enthusiastic about rewards. According to CrowdTwist report, the instance of a loyalty program was one of the top five factors that were important to capturing the loyalty of these customers.
According to the report, 63.3 percent of Generation Z respondents reported being active in at least one loyalty program while 71.4 percent of Millennials did the same. Retail, grocery, restaurants, and media & entertainment were the industries with the most active loyalty programs.
The Bottom Line
With billions of dollars in purchasing power and increasing population share, Millennials and Gen Zers are on the verge of becoming the most influential demographics in the marketplace.
Reinventing your brand for these young audiences require certain knowledge about them. For example, you will need to talk to them in a language they understand, even if it means immersing yourself in their lifestyle and going beyond traditional marketing tactics like paid ads and idealization of life.
Only then you and your team will understand how to brand your business to capture the minds of young people and meet their needs.