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Generation Z: How to reach a digital born audience

Generation Z: How to reach a digital born audience

As communicators we’re forever trying to research and understand our chosen target audience. More commonly the discussion has orientated around ‘Millennials’ but there is a new emerging audience; ‘Generation Z’. And they’re going to change everything in the world of communication.

It’s hard to define Generation Z (or Gen Z) but researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years. This means that most of Gen Z have used the internet since a young age. They are generally comfortable with technology, using social media and are commonly used to having information at the touch of a button.

Gen Z has been described as ambitious, money-savvy and more socially-aware than other generations. In fact, 80% of Gen Z is said to have a greater tendency to buy products that have a positive social or environmental impact. This generation is also said to be more diverse and even less willing to accept stereotypes. For many brands this is important to shift their perspective accordingly and reflect it in their marketing.

So, with all this complexity, how can brands connect with Generation Z?

Gen Z’ers were born social. In fact, nearly 92% of Gen Z has a digital footprint. Arguably as a result of the celebrities and media they follow, Gen Z are willing to become unique through the brands they do business with. This generation is constantly bombarded by adverts as they spend a great amount of time online but in a 2016 poll, only 59% of Gen Z’ers said they followed an advertisement online before making a purchase, and 71% of Millennials said the same.

To connect with this generation, it’s not enough for brands to just say or want to have an impact. Companies now have to align their brand and services with a cause that matters with impactful core values. Companies’ marketing messages need to be clear about what they stand for so that their brands are not interpreted as uninvolved in or opposed to social causes important to Gen-Z’ers.

In order to be successful, marketers must work on strategies that incorporate the platforms Gen Z’ers use most. That means developing a strategy for Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. In Gen Z’s ever-multitasking online world, brands have to be fluent and fluid with their social media tactics.

What type of Marketing should you use?

Influencer marketing has increasingly become a lucrative advertising revenue generator for brands and businesses. Product reviews, tutorials and “how-to” videos are a great way to market products to an engaged audience. We see a rise in brands collaborating with influencers because they know how to grab the power of social media and use their credibility to affect their followers’ views (and even their purchasing decisions). Gen Z value influencers for their authenticity, their endorsement is valuable and therefore it gives a human feel to a brand. Brand awareness is the main reason many brands focus on influencer marketing, as it is an effective way to reach a wider audience and use an influencer’s (extensive) social reach to promote a product, without being directly involved in its promotion.

The same way you need a website for Millennials, for Gen Z, you must have a YouTube presence. And while most brands understand search engine optimization (SEO) for traditional Google searches, many brands aren’t optimizing search for YouTube. In fact, the same and similar tactics you use on your website need to apply to YouTube in order to engage with Gen Z. You need more than just a presence on YouTube; you need good content. The videos you create and publish must have a clear brand voice as Gen Z loves to follow brands that are funny and personable.

We found that the brands that are experiencing the most success use YouTube as an entertainment platform to tell stories and not just post content intermittently. Chanel for example, with its Beauty Talk, “how to” and backstage video is one of the most successful brands with more than 1 million followers. Another example is the Victoria’s Secret YouTube channel. The channel’s content includes everything from workout videos to backstage glimpses at hair and makeup practices to lipsync videos, all featuring their famous angels. Victoria Secret’s commercials are also regularly posted to the channel.

Can PR help?

When trying to appeal to a young audience, you need to do more than just advertise. You need to create a PR campaign that talks to them. Keep in mind that young audiences want advertising that adds to their life rather than distracts from it. Gen Z are an ambitious bunch and want to make their mark on the world. By showing this generation that you are a vocal, impactful brand you will start to win their support. Gen Z consumers use less traditional media than previous generations and spend most of their time in the digital space.

A PR company can help you break through the noise other brands create by producing a communications strategy that targets both online, social and traditional media outlets. From pairing with influencers, to creating engaging video content, our team of professionals will help you plan and manage your campaign to make sure it creates the impact you’re after.

Find out more about our consumer, business and social media services or discover just how influential your brand is with our communications strategy tool. The Influence Formula.

Technology’s Smarter working initiative shortlisted for PR campaign of the year

The PHA Group’s Technology & Innovation team is delighted to have its work recognised in this year’s B2B Marketing Awards – shortlisted for ‘PR Campaign of the Year’.

The Smarter Working Initiative (SWI), which the T&I team first developed in 2016 with long-standing client Powwownow, has been listed alongside eight other PR campaigns, with the winner due to be announced at a gala dinner on 23rd November.

The T&I team worked closely with Powowwnow to develop the inaugural campaign designed to have significant longevity. The brief was to challenge existing perceptions of flexible working and promote the benefits of embracing a working culture that aligns with employees’ personal lives.

As a business with a core ethos of efficiency, productivity, and collaboration, Powwownow’s objective in 2016 was to increase awareness of the benefits of smarter working among UK business leaders and employers. Aware that only 6% of UK businesses proactively offered flexible working to their employees, the team set out to fundamentally change how employers think about smarter working practices.

The SWI was foremost an awareness day: Monday 25th July 2016 – the first day of the school summer holidays. A supporting integrated PR strategy, combining cut-through thought leadership content, data stories, news agenda hijacking and relevant and insightful broadcast interviews for members of the senior management team, helped position Powwownow as a leading authority on smarter working across a range of business sectors.

In the build-up to and following Monday 25th July, the team achieved over 30 pieces of media coverage, reaching a significant business audience across the UK and Europe. MD Jason Downes and FD Andrew Johnson appeared on BBC News ‘Business Live’, Sky News, London Live, talkRadio and Share Radio discussing topics including business efficiency and the rise of technology to facilitate flexible working.

Powwownow FD Andrew Johnson on Sky News

 

The team’s efforts saw Powwownow more than double their initial target of business sign-ups by securing over 120 businesses, including leading UK employers such as Purplebricks.com, RED Driving School and Orebar Brown. Over 100,000 UK employees worked flexibly on the day thanks to the initiative.

The SWI received prominent coverage across online and traditional media. Online, we reached business leaders through thought leadership pieces for MD Jason Downes, CTO Chris Martin and FD Andrew Johnson in a variety of publications including Virgin.com and Real Business. Targeting employees, the team also secured press on consumer-led websites such as Metro and Marie Claire, using unique data stories supported by thought leadership. The initiative was also covered nationally in The Telegraph and The Sun, with a prominent photo story in the latter reporting the social media campaign which ran over the course of a week.

Not only did the SWI reach a far wider audience than originally anticipated, it established positive brand awareness and positively changed assumptions about flexible working. After the initiative, 78 percent of business owners who did not previously offer flexible working to their employees said they would do so in 2017 and beyond – a tangible change in attitudes towards smarter working.

Most importantly, Powwownow were delighted with the campaign and last month the Tech & Innovation team oversaw the SWI 2017, which saw over 200,000 employees from over 200 businesses work flexibly on Monday 24th July, resulting in MD Jason Downes appearing on BBC News.

Powwownow MD Jason Downes on BBC News