3 Brands Getting Gen Z Marketing Right
The oldest members of Gen Z turn 23-years-old this year. Though they may just have voted for the first time and started their first jobs, brands are watching them closely.
Companies from startups to legacies know that catching the interest of the next generation means millions in added revenue over time and keeps a brand from growing stale. By featuring Gen Z and millennial faces in its 2018 Believe in Dreams campaign, for example, Tiffany & Co. introduced a new generation of consumers to its iconic blue box.
On the flip side, marketing campaigns that fail to capture the energy of a new generation can be disastrous. To ensure missteps don’t happen, it's key for brands to understand Gen Z (those born after 1997) and to align campaigns with their lifestyles, expectations and values.
No matter what message a brand is sending, it needs to be short, concise and inclusive, or Gen Z will scroll on. Here are three brands getting Gen Z marketing right:
Adidas: Committed to Mobile
Gen Z barely remembers a world without smartphones or high-speed internet, and exists in a digital ecosystem dominated by TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Triller. Brands need to meet them where they are and keep up as they shift to new services, which means relentlessly focusing on optimizing campaigns for mobile and maximizing touchpoints across multiple platforms.
Sports giant Adidas didn’t wait until Gen Z started graduating from college to focus on capturing their interest. In 2017, it abandoned TV advertising and shifted its efforts towards digital marketing and mobile. In addition to changing mediums, it also adapted its message to resonate with Gen Z, which is more progressive and conscious of environmental and social issues, according to McKinsey & Co., than generations before it. However, a quick way to lose brand authority among young people is to expect a couple of social media posts to be enough. Adidas hasn’t fallen into that trap. One example: it recently opened a gender-neutral concept store in London.
Vans: Keeping it Real
Gen Z has grown up surrounded by slick multiplatform advertising and has a finely tuned sense for companies that don’t walk their marketing talk. Authenticity is a prized commodity. Vans, a footwear brand that was an iconoclast when it launched back in 1966, has managed to stay relevant by tying its marketing to a simple idea: that creative expression is the core of streetwear. Instead of simply sponsoring music festivals, it collaborates with artists such as Anderson Paak, a Grammy award-winning singer and rapper who once worked in a Vans store, as well as with young designers to make their shoes. A Snapchat post of a high schooler in white Vans that went viral in 2018 helped turn the brand into a favorite among young women, who connect to its authentic and nostalgic vibe. Vans proved you don’t have to be a new brand to have a vibe current to the times.
Kylie Cosmetics: Engaging on Social
To see how relevant influencers are to Gen Z, look no further than Kylie Jenner. The “Keeping up With the Kardashians” personality launched Kylie Cosmetics in 2014, and became a teen favorite by cleverly using social media. Success on social media means engagement, and the brand was early in using social to interact with its customers. It used comments to ask users to suggest products or product names and created Instagram filters that allowed followers to try on its different colors of lipstick and the like and, of course, share their looks with their own followers.
Gen Z is already having a major impact on marketers. The truth is that this generation is just coming of age, and its influence will only grow. For many brands, their ability to connect with Gen Z will make the difference between success and failure in marketing.
Kyle Mitnick is the founder and president of Advertise Purple, a global affiliate marketing management agency.
Kyle Mitnick is the founder and president of Advertise Purple, a global adtech agency that is a leader in affiliate marketing management. A seasoned tech entrepreneur and angel investor, Kyle was ranked 37th on Entrepreneur.com's Top 360 Entrepreneurs for 2019. Under Kyle’s leadership, Advertise Purple has repeatedly made Inc. Magazine’s lists for Best Workplaces and Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America and has also been recognized as one of the Top Advertising and Marketing Companies in America.