Gen Z can seem daunting to brands. As consumers, they’re early adopters of new social networks, technology and trends, while at the same time being skeptical of many conventional advertising practices and brands.
These qualities provide established and up-and-coming brands with exciting opportunities and challenges in engaging with this audience – an audience that if engaged with properly, could become immediate and lifelong customers.
Here’s 5 ways your brand can engage with a Gen Z audience.
1. Be Informal, But Not Inappropriate
There’s a fine balance between being genuinely relatable and cringeworthy and when you engage with a Gen Z audience. Bigger brands will generally have a tougher time at this, with their established image often conflicting with any rapid shift to seem relatable.
In marketing to Gen Z, brands shouldn’t treat them differently to other audiences, and shouldn’t use the younger demographic as an excuse to jeopardize their broader approach or existing brand values.
Simply put, err on the side of caution and informality, and if you sense your Gen Z messaging “isn’t you” – then you’re probably right.
2. Think Mobile
We increasingly live in a mobile-first world, and Gen Z are the most mobile-oriented consumer group, living in a “heads-down” mindset.
In engaging with Gen Z, brands need to seriously consider not only how their brand is conveyed online, but specifically how users more broadly relate to their brand through mobile.
Think of how your brand works across multiple devices and the potential for a variety of user journeys. Think about the mobile friendliness of your website and your content – and its shareability.
To engage effectively with a Gen Z audience you need to be mobile-first.
3. Be Ready
Beyond being mobile-first, your brand needs to be ready for anything 24/7/365. Think of yourself not as a marketer but as a journalist you must always be on-call for when stories break.
Gen Z audiences are less inclined to engage with strictly, brand or sales-oriented content, but want added value from the brand on current events and the latest stories.
This approach requires brands to be smart with how they engage with breaking news, needing to have the resources available to jump on something asap, but also being switched-on to what content will be engaging to a Gen Z audience to avoid a PR disaster.
In approaching Gen Z, brands should think beyond trends to how their brand can have a unique take on a story, and fast, to get an edge on their competitors.
4. Invest In Influencers And Social Platforms
To a Gen Z audience, relatable content is king. Don’t think any old content will do, but think smartly about how you can deliver the content in line with new platforms, new influencers and new opportunities.
Gen Z are not looking for scheduled content from brands only, but a sense that the content is both targeted to them and organically arrived at. This organic affect is naturally achieved by choosing not just influencers, but the right influencers, and ensuring every decision you make with regard to Gen Z chimes with your overall strategy.
This is simply about ensuring you are where your audience is, don’t waste time, and money on incorrect or lazy targeting.
5. Be Authentic
Gen Z are engaged with more and more through influencers, and while this presents new and exciting opportunities for brands, it also presents new dangers.
While Gen Z are open to being marketed to in new ways, they can tell in an instant if you’re not being genuine, and if you’re not you will struggle to cut through at all. If your influencer relationships are too on-the-nose or just mismatched, you’ll be caught out as cynical.
Not being sincere with a Gen Z audience is worse than not marketing to them at all, turning many off your brand for being false, patronizing or cringeworthy.
The key is to be authentic and not trying too hard to be what you’re not. Don't create fake content that you think will appeal to them. They are on to you!
Brands need to be smart and proactive about knowing what is genuine, liked, and disliked, and applying smart targeting to ensure they engage properly with Gen Z.
At Wonderful, we’ve been helping brands connect with audiences for almost a decade, blending our expertise in digital marketing and design. We put together these 5 strategies that we have found to be the key to engaging with a Gen Z audience.
Approach them with openness to innovative your marketing techniques, adoption of new technology and trends, getting it right could be hugely beneficial for your brand!
What do you think is the best tactic to engage the Gen Z audience? Share your insights below.