Branding for a brand-averse generation
Generation Z is notoriously brand-weary and skeptical of traditional advertising, which makes them a tough nut to crack for marketers. However, as forecasted to Fast Company, 40 percent of all consumers will be from Gen Z by year 2020, retailers can’t afford to miss the mark with this consumer demographic.
Heavily inundated with advertising from conception, Gen Z customers have a built-in ad blocker. In a 2016 study by Vision Critical, 60 percent of Gen Z reported finding advertising “of any kind” disruptive.
Although they spend more time online than any other generation, Gen Z is inclined to skip online ads and to tune out traditional advertising methods such as airbrushed celebrity endorsements and ads on cable television. To make matters even more challenging, Generation Z is notoriously frugal and, according to a recent study by marketing firm Saatchi, aren’t impressed by the big brand names which had so much impact on their predecessors.
Brands need to do things differently in order to reach this elusive audience. This means refocusing marketing strategies to relate to individuals, rather than trying to pander to a wide audience.
Here are some additional steps brands can take to reach Generation Z customers:
- Align with a cause, such as Patagonia and REI did by recently rallying to protect national monuments.
- Focus on showcasing the quality and purpose of products through educational YouTube videos.
- Premiere new products in (highly photographed) small and intimate events.
- Work with micro-influencers to reach relevant niche audiences instead of wasting money on TV celebrity endorsements.
- Instead of investing in mass advertising blitzes which will likely be ignored, allocate those funds towards faster response times on social media.
- 9 Questions Brands Want to Ask About Generation Z – The Grocer
- 17 Statistics You Need to Know About Gen Z – Collective Bias
- Study: Gen Z values price, quality of product over brand name – Marketing Dive
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can retailers create a relationship with customers from Gen Z who largely resent traditional advertising? Is it possible to build a brand for an audience that prefers to be brand-less and self-identified? If so, how?