Gen Z marketing requires more than just selling a product. This generation, born between 1996 and 2010, is value-conscious and attracted to brands that “keep it real”.
They are creative, brave and the creators of many trends on TikTok, Instagram Reels and other platforms. And they require a slightly different approach than their millennial counterparts.
How do you connect with a generation of digital experts?
In this blog post LaterCon Speaker and TRANSMISSION Co-founder Larry Milstein Shares how to reach and connect with the Gen Z market in 2021 together with helpful brand examples in a free video workshop:
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z is young, tech savvy, and socially minded racially and ethnically diverse generation ever with one Purchasing power of over $ 140 billion.
These digital natives grew up with smartphones, the internet and social media and are more likely to buy from brands that have established clear values, are inclusive and have a strong online community.
According to TRANSMISSION Co-founder, Liz Toney“They’re driving spending, behind some of the biggest behavioral and cultural changes we see today, and making decisions that will affect us in the years to come.”
If you haven’t already thought of this younger generation, 2021 is the perfect time to get started. With some strategies specifically tailored for Gen Z, you can target their audiences and create content that engages them – without alienating your current customers.
Ready to Craft a Solid Gen Z Marketing Strategy? Learn from Gen Z expert Larry Milstein free video workshop::
Gen Z marketing strategies to be implemented in 2021
# 1: Establish clear values and mission
Before marketing on Gen Z, it’s important that your brand defines its values and mission. But why is that important?
“Gen Zers are much more inclined to vote with our dollars and believe that a brand’s values reflect our own,” explains Gen Z expert (and Gen Zer!) Larry Milstein.
Some topics that are important to Gen Z are:
- LGBTQ + rights: 60% von Gen Zers think same-sex couples should be able to adopt children
- Diversity: 60% von Gen Zers say that increased racial and ethnic diversity is good for society
- Social responsibility: 70% Gen Zers try to buy from companies they believe are ethical
“We are three times more likely than older generations to believe that a company has a role to play in making society better,” added Larry.
Take underwear brand parade for example:
Parade’s focus on body positivity and inclusivity is redefining the underwear industry. Not only does their content help normalize stretch marks and body hair, but they also value self-expression and advocate for LGBTQ + rights and the decriminalization of sex work.
With clearly defined values, Parade can stand out from other brands in its industry and appeal to Gen Z audiences.
Take that away? Establishing your brand’s values and communicating them effectively is key to connecting with Gen Z.
# 2: Be transparent and accountable
The next step in your Gen Z marketing strategy is to make sure you are transparent and take responsibility for any missteps.
Gen Z has no qualms about doing their research. They dive deep into a brand’s website, scroll through their social media accounts, and read comments and reviews.
“Brand trust is only second to price when it comes to which brands we will support. They saw brands rise because they didn’t meet the standards they communicated, ”explains Larry.
During this year’s social media resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, skincare brand Coco child announced that in the future they would publish a report on the racial and ethnic makeup of their team so that their community could hold them accountable:
Culture matters to Gen Z, and your brand should have the same values externally and internally. It is not enough to cast and work with different creators and influencers. Larry adds, “It needs to be built into the brand’s fabric.”
# 3: determine your brand’s personality
To engage and connect with Gen Z, say goodbye to the millennial aesthetic of perfectly curated content.
No more sleek and minimal images – Gen Zers want brands that are bold, have a strong voice and personality. Don’t be afraid to make waves!
Star face sells pimple protection and their website and social media profiles are full of bright yellows, stars and smileys.
@ starfacethat’s me 👋 ## starface ## skin care ## tiktokstar ## celebrity ## pimples ## star ## sticker ## foryou ♬ original sound – Hawkeronni
They are able to promote their products in a lighthearted and goofy way, and the strategy has had massive success. You have over 540,000 followers on TikTok with videos full of skin care routines, fun transformations, and catchy music.
For more established brands, Larry refers to the most recent Crocs and KFC Collaboration as an example of targeting a younger generation:
@crocs coming soon! Kentucky Fried Chicken x Crocs Classic Clogs will finally be served on July 28th at 12 p.m. ET. # KFCCrocs ♬ original sound – Crocs
“Love it or hate what you’ve done well is tapping into an irony that Gen Zers tends to be, especially in a world where there is massive uncertainty and unrest.” Take that away? The crazy and crazy can work too – these Crocs are sold out!
TikTok can be great for showing your brand’s personality and connecting with Gen Z. free course Here’s everything you need to know – from understanding the algorithm to creating viral videos:
# 4: be entertaining
How can your brand stand out from the crowd with thousands of marketing messages a day on various social media platforms?
One way is to focus on the social media platforms that Gen Z already embraces and create content that is tailored to that audience.
Gen Zers have an uncanny ability to filter content. With a brief attention span, “You have about 8 seconds to essentially tell us why we should be careful before we move on.”
And the best way to get their attention is to keep them entertained!
Larry says makeup brand Fifty beauty has done this effectively with their TikTok and Instagram roles Content:
By creating fun and quick tutorials with various beauty influencers and creators, Fenty Beauty can highlight their products in a fun and easy-to-digest way.
# 5: build a community
Building a digital community is an integral part of your Gen Z marketing strategy in 2021.
According to surveys, Gen Z is the one loneliest generation In America they are actively looking for ways to get in touch with like-minded people.
Brands can help facilitate authentic connections and conversations, but they go beyond working with mega-influencers. The answer? Look for real people with interesting platforms and embody the values of your brand.
“It could be a creative, an artist, a thought leader or an activist – find people you think can be ambassadors and use their networks in ways that feel less transactional and authentic,” explains Larry.
Another way to build a community is to either seek advice and feedback from Gen Zers during product development, or to celebrate customers who have been loyal to your brand for years.
For example, Chipotle Organized socially distant Zoom events with super fans and special celebrity guests:
sooooooo who wants to have lunch together on Monday? We’ll go live on Zoom at 11 a.m. PST. We’re going to put a link this morning.
– Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) March 14, 2020
This not only strengthens your sense of community, but also creates trust in your brand. And as mentioned earlier, brand trust is very important to Gen Z audiences!
Gen Z Marketing is a great way to reach out to a younger generation and connect with a new type of consumer: one who is value-conscious, loves bold personalities, and seeks community.
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Monique is a content writer at Later and enjoys helping brands define their language and content strategy. She usually sips matcha or adds another book to her ever-growing TBR list. Say hello on Instagram – @mo_thom