Social responsibility may not be a priority for many brands, but there is a generation that believes that it should. Members of Gen Z have made it loud and clear that they care about brands with values more than brands that offer them value. A 2015 Nielsen study found 72% of Gen Z members are willing to spend more on a product that comes from a socially responsible brand.
Your brand might care about social and environmental issues, but how is it going to share that information with young audiences? Traditional marketing tactics alone won’t do the trick.
In an age of massive amounts of information consumption, content creation is the key. Although plateauing, the average 25-34 year old is using social media for 2 hours 37 minutes daily, with that time rising to 3:01 among 16-24 year olds.
While this information may not be a shock to some, it offers a pair of insights: social media remains one of the best ways for your brand to reach your younger audience, specifically Gen Z, and that your brand faces a constant battle to remain memorable in the fast paced digital world.
So we know that to improve engagement with Gen Z, brands should have a social media presence as well as demonstrate how brand values align with those of consumers, but how does content creation play a role?
The number of platforms clamoring for attention is increasing by the day. Identify the platforms your brand can utilize and create for them. Creating across multiple platforms allows brands to do more than sell, it provides the opportunity to tell the brand story in new and exciting formats in digital spaces occupied by valued consumers.
Identifying the core values of your brand is the first and most important step in content creation. Understanding the values that drive internal voice will give direction to the content being produced for external audiences.
Resist the urge to pull from external sources, like the latest meme templates or imitating the voice of your social media following. Authenticity is easy to identify but hard to fake. These efforts may be well meaning, but can alienate your brand from your audience. The best content comes from remaining true to self from a brand perspective.
A clear example of authenticity in content creation is Patagonia. The outdoor apparel maker has a clear ecological mission that is easily found on the homepage of their website.
Despite being popular among FinTech bros and the movers and shakers found on Wall Street, not a single social media post attempts to appeal to those markets, curating a presence that highlights its green message.
Outside of the social media sphere, the company has written stories through the experiences of their customers and influencers, blogged about policy that affects the environment and even released a documentary about fish farms, all while rarely mentioning their products.
Even if you are creating content for a brand outside of the apparel industry, there are still lessons to be learned from Patagonia. Releasing a documentary is indeed outside the realm of apparel but it works because of the brand’s stated values. What creative ways can your brand communicate its values to appeal to Gen Z?
Stepping outside of the traditional scope of content sets brands apart from competitors vying for the same consumers. A film may not be in the budget, but what about a web series or Instagram stories that highlight issues your brand cares about?
The younger generation appreciates real world applications of your goods and storytelling is one of the best ways to communicate benefits. Tell stories with the help of influencers in your product’s niche and customers. Stories need not always be melodramatic, but showing how real people interact with your brand has real value, especially among members of Gen Z.
The most important lesson to learn is that brands should never lose sight of what values they are built upon. It may be exciting to learn how a new segment is interacting with your brand, but does this new segment align with brand values? Taking your metaphorical eye off the ball in pursuit of a different demographic can leave your brand in a place of limbo that turns people away.
There are no surefire methods that one can point to for guaranteed success, but it is important to be willing to think past tradition to reach Gen Z. The most diverse generation in United States history can only be reached through diverse and engaging methods.
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Last Edited on May 25, 2018