Why brands need Gen Z and influencers

11/25/2020

author

Renata Milicevic

The importance of Gen Z and influencers for your business

Younger generations were always the ones who tried to change the world and make an impact. It’s an ongoing narrative that dates back in time. We think we can change everything, because everything seems simple. And some of us do it, while some don’t. 

BUT, there’s a huge difference when it comes to Gen Z. Because not only do they want to change the world, they feel like it’s their obligation. From being more socially responsible to demanding more transparency, inclusivity, diversity. From standing up for what they believe in to being politically involved activists and those who can turn around even a presidential run. It’s believed that it is this generation who will redefine and reshape industries over the next decade.

Remember when TikTok teens fooled Trump by registering to his rally? Only to make it empty. Well, that’s the power of Gen Z, and the proof of their courage. This often overlooked group of people is becoming a serious player when it comes to buying power. This is the first generation who does not know the offline world as we know it. They grew up with social media, new technologies and constant digital innovation.

According to Business Insider, Gen Z will account to 40% of spending power this year with almost $150 billion globally. In only a couple of years, Gen Z will take over the majority of buying power across the world, and therefore advertisers and brands need to find ways to start establishing relationships with them now. 

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What does this mean for brands?

Considering the digital-only life experience of Gen Z and the popularity of social media, including their willingness to listen to the opinions and advice from influencers, it’s crucial that brands develop strong influencer marketing strategies.

This generation doesn’t look up to idols we used to look up to, but they rather look up to their own peers. Therefore, it’s important for brands to get to know who the Gen Z-relevant personas are in the online world and go chase their social media space.

A 2019 survey from Global Web Index revealed that 1 in 5 young people in UK and US made a purchase based on an influencer recommendation.

Purpose-driven purchases

Gen Z is the most self-educated generation to date. There’s practically no subject matter in this world that they don’t have available at just a few clicks with detailed tutorials, explanations and much more. This knowledge gives them power, and they use this power to demand inclusivity, sustainability, authenticity and transparency. 

If you’re looking to sell one-off quick trends, you might try somewhere else. Because this generation will rather go for something that fits their overall lifestyle. So purchases are driven by their lifestyle, and not only the trends. This means that the brands trying to get closer to this audience will need to invest some time into shaping their brand story, shaping their purpose and finding the right angle to fit into these people’s day-to-day lives. And developing long-term collaborations with influencers will be one of the key elements.

Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity

So, how many times have you heard or used this word? Probably can’t even count. Yes, yes, all brands want to be credible and authentic, but how many actually walk the talk?

For brands who want to attract Gen Z (as they should), forgetting about one-size-fits-all marketing is a step one. Finding different audiences, sub-audiences and groups and then analyzing their interests, brand affinities, demographics, and what excites them is the key to avoiding personalities who will make your ad an inauthentic one. 

Your brand needs to find its fit. Will you buy a shampoo from a bald person? Probably no. If yes, then props to their sales skills. So, pick creators who can elaborate on the needs that your product satisfies. If it’s dewy skin, then find that dewy skin potential. If it’s a gaming device, find someone who knows how to speak about games. But it’s only half of the road. From there analyze their audience. If their audience’s affinities mostly gravitate towards a different segment of products or brands, or are younger/older than your target audience, then probably it’s not the best investment decision. 

And it’s not rocket science. In this day and age, it’s actually pretty cheap to use the tools that will allow you to make these smart decisions. It’s practically much more expensive to invest without making these background checks.

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Social media first

As already mentioned, Gen Z is the first generation which grew up in a completely digital world. They are present on all social media platforms, and they see the world through their small (or large) screens. This means that brands need to create social-first strategies. Creating marketing plans, key messages and campaign objectives while thinking of social media as an afterthought, is unlikely to have anyone writing home about your product. 

Get clear about your audience, where they spend their time and outline key social media platforms to focus on, whether it’s TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, or very likely all together. And then create content and strategy that is fully adapted to the preferences, algorithms and the audience of each of these platforms. And none of them are the same.

Gen Z know their power

So to sum it up – this young generation is slowly taking over the world. In a few years they will be at the top of the buying power pyramid. Already accounting for almost $150 billion of purchase power, this generation knows that that their opinions matter. They value transparency, inclusivity and authenticity, and will take advice from credible influencers. 

Therefore, find the right influencers for your campaigns (our Discover tool can help), analyse their audience, and approach them with a long-term vision in mind. This will allow you to build credibility with time and create a bond between your product and influencers’ audience. If they like the story of your brand, what it stands for and how it contributes to their lifestyles, you have the possibility to go from zero to hero in no time.

 

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