1 Brands will re-think their dig­i­tal pres­ence to em­pha­sise co-cre­ation, au­then­tic­ity and trans­parency es­sen­tial for con­nect­ing with Gen­er­a­tion

ArabAd - - TRENDS -

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.

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