How Gen Z is setting the bar for social media marketing
If you had to summarise Gen Z in one word, it wouldn’t be easy. After Millennials dominated consumer culture for years, the torch has been passed down to the new generation defined by the digital age. Today, Gen Z is the largest generation in modern history and makes up roughly 40% of the consumer population. Pop culture has shown just how diverse this group can be. Ideas concerning sexuality, race and gender are warmly embraced by this younger audience, bringing a whole new meaning of identity to modern culture. The digital era has provided the drawing board for this generation to visually define their individuality through mixed media.
Nowadays, the styles to pick from are abundant. Generation Z represents many different things: transparency, authenticity, eccentric style and irony. TikTok and Instagram are among the platforms which emphasise capturing the world’s creativity and infinite flow of ideas. They are the epicentre for younger generations to draw inspiration, innovate, entertain and be entertained. This change is unprecedented, and it has forced brands to shift their efforts to adapt their previous models to successfully match the interests of this leading generation.
With the digital age, comes overstimulation. It is often cited throughout studies that the average attention span of Generation Z is roughly 8 seconds. It is no coincidence that social media companies model their platforms to reflect this. TikTok, for example, allows individuals to upload videos up to 60 seconds, as does Instagram. What does this mean for brands? If a company is looking to advertise to this audience, they essentially need to grab their attention fast and effectively. To Gen Zers, media is quickly disposable because the supply is infinite. To make one’s brand attractive, it needs to be visual, snackable content that can be consumed rapidly and withstand the filters that this generation has built.
Perfection is outdated
Millennials were infamously coined as the picture-perfect generation, obsessed with facetune, snapping photos of their meals and overly-polished content. This is no longer the case with Gen Z. The new wave of pop culture boldly welcomes authenticity. In many ways, this reflects the style of humour that has made its way into media marketing. Brands are increasingly ditching pretentious content, for more genuine, candid media. This approach speaks much more directly to what younger audiences crave. Releasing overdesigned, glossy content is now perceived as outdated and unrepresentative of a generation that values individuality. Social media platforms are opportunities for companies to poke fun at their brand and adopt more playful marketing strategies. Croc’s recent partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken is a perfect example of a brash, avant-garde campaign that taps into the irony that Gen Zers gravitate towards. Bold moves like these shape the unique personality of the brand. Prior to this cultural shift, companies generally fit a cookie-cutter model in how they wanted to sell themselves. Nowadays, one’s Twitter or TikTok holds just as important a role in telling the brand’s story and influencing how they stand out among the noise.
A large part of telling one’s story is defining a brand’s values. Amidst the pool of dance moves and memes, social issues form a fundamental part of the Gen Z agenda. The younger generation is perhaps the most politically outspoken age group, and this puts additional pressures on brands to speak up. The old strategy of silence is now viewed as complicity, which can backfire. In attracting customers, a brand must communicate that their business aligns with their audience’s values across social issues including racial injustice, sexual equality and diversity. However, this needs to be reflected as much internally as externally. With the abundance of information available to the public, a quick Google search can expose the true conditions of one’s company. This is precisely the reason more brands are moving towards radical transparency, which lets their customers know that what they see is what they get, no strings attached.
Make your brand stand out
While low-rise jeans and tracksuits are making a comeback, there are a number of unique changes that Generation Z are bringing to the table alone. For companies, it can seem like the expectations are a lot higher than ever before. While in some cases this may be true, it is an opportunity for brands to have fun with the new possibilities. The blending of entertainment and social media marketing opens new doors for companies to engage with their customers and show their personalities through new mediums. Selecting the right PR company is a key part of this process. Individuality and authenticity cannot be reproduced. At Slava Communication, we have a team of experts who can pinpoint how to make you stand out on social media and develop a plan to build your brand’s creative marketing strategy.
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