1 Brands will re-think their digital presence to emphasise co-creation, authenticity and transparency essential for connecting with Generation
Brands ramp up Gen Z efforts
After playing catch-up to evolve their approach to reach Millennials, marketers will move more quickly in 2017 to connect with Generation Z.
Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2011, is estimated to count 2 billion members globally – approximately 27% of the world’s population. Described as frugal and brand-wary but also industrious and collaborative, Gen Z will capture a large part of a brand’s media and marketing focus and budget in the year ahead. This group will challenge not only how brands communicate, but the very notion of a brand’s authenticity and transparency in digital.
Gen Z is coming of age in a postlinear digital world. Knowledge about everything is at their fingertips and on demand whenever they want it. They’re also emerging at a time of institutional instability and consequently Gen Z presents a conundrum for brands because they place a high emphasis on personal privacy but also expect full transparency from brands.
Successful brands will embrace three paradigm shifts throughout 2017:
Brands will step up efforts to reach the emerging Gen Z consumer segment in 2017. Smart marketers know Gen Z presents an opportunity to transform their brand’s meaning and salience in digital.
1. Brands will invest media dollars and focus activity in digital platforms that allow consumers to co-create a shared brand experience. Unlike the personalization coveted by Millennials, Gen Z will be hands-on – they want to try it, take it apart and re-create it. 2. Brands will give their target consumers a deeper look at themselves through owned media (social, apps, and websites). In addition to products and services for sale, brands will share their story, their purpose and details about their production processes so Gen Z can determine if the brand’s values match their own. This narrative will be further cascaded through strategically placed
branded and sponsored content. 3. Brands will shift their focus to rightbrained influence. The foundations of the internet and digital media were left brain, with a focus on the linear, factual and linguistic. Digital media for Gen Z will be right brain with a focus on imagination through augmented reality and virtual reality; non-verbal immersive formats and stronger visual imagery; and emotive through emphasizing music and narratives.
These shifts will help drive brand growth and increase the power of digital as a channel for brands to meaningfully connect with this audience.
Joline Mcgoldrick is Vice President of Insights and Product Marketing for the Media and Digital Practice of Kantar Millward Brown.