Marketing to Gen Z: Authenticity Over Perfection

Born into the digital era, Gen Z is the first generation to be fully immersed in a world of smartphones, social media, and constant internet access. Because of this, they have higher expectations when it comes to digital marketing and advertising interactions. This cohort makes up 27% of the U.S. population, and will soon become the largest group of consumers with significant buying power (Insider Intelligence). 

Brands marketing to Gen Z should prioritize meeting their media preferences, directly communicating to them without abandoning key channels for existing customers. In this article, we will discuss the values of Gen Z and how to best align your marketing strategy with those values. 

Authenticity Matters, Not Perfection

In a crowded media landscape, brands often compete for consumer attention with flashy creatives and mass media placements. With a “best foot forward” mentality, brands can get caught up in trying to show consumers the perfected image of their offerings. However, Gen Z consumers often ignore this type of content because it’s not relatable or different. They care heavily about a genuine showcasing of a brand’s values and offerings. They want to understand why the product matters, not just why they should buy it.

How can you achieve this?

Be Realistic

When using paid, over-glamoured models, Gen Z does not feel a connection with the brand. Gen Z wants to see a representation of themselves in the people showcased in advertisements, choosing brands that feel personable. Make sure your creative feels authentic to get the best attraction from the Gen Z audience. This is especially important considering this generation is the most ethnically diverse in the U.S., and they are passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Make A Stand

Gen Z consumers hold companies to a high standard for corporate social responsibility. These socially responsible individuals go out of their way to support companies that stand for social issues they value. Use marketing to showcase how your brand makes a positive impact on society. Position your brand so that when Gen Z consumers purchase they not only get a useful product but also support the causes or social views they find most meaningful. 

Show Transparency

Gen Z wants to feel involved with its chosen brands and understand how they operate. Be honest with consumers about your practices, and tell a story about why you do what you do. This will inform your audience about your ethical standards and build trust. A lack of transparency can damage a brand’s reputation. In fact, 22% of Gen Zs reported that a lack of transparency reduces their opinion of brands and products, which is more than any other generation. 

Being genuine with Gen Z audiences should be a primary concern when it comes to delivering a marketing message. This authentic approach can be executed by being realistic with your audience, making a stand for a social cause, and showing transparency in brand practices.

How to Reach Gen Z on Social Media

If you want to effectively reach Gen Z consumers, social media is the place to be. Social platforms are a key part of nearly all these young individuals’ daily routines. 

On average, Gen Z spends around 8 hours a day online. According to e-Marketer, the top social media platforms used among Gen Z are Snapchat (42M users), TikTok (37.3M users), and Instagram (33.3M users). These platforms are all dominated by user-generated short-form videos, which speaks to the need for brands to focus on creativity and authenticity in their content. 

Here are three tactics to win over Gen-Z consumers on social media:

#1 Short-Form Video

Short-form videos have taken off in popularity over the past few years, especially among the Gen Z audiences. These 6-30 second videos are great for quick recognition. They require less attention span and quickly convey a message. One can argue that TikTok is the reason for the explosion of short-form video, as the platform continues to rise to the top of popularity rankings. As such, social media apps are redesigning their platforms and algorithms to prioritize this content. We are seeing a continued lean into tools such as Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and others. 

Because of this, short-form videos tend to have more Gen Z audience engagement, with the average engagement rate at 50%. This level is considerably higher than other generations. With storytelling potential, attention-grabbing power, and virality, short-form video is a must-have tool to drive full-funnel results in nearly all Gen Z marketing campaigns. 

#2 Influencer Marketing

What do Gen Zs want from brands? Honest, relatable, and compelling content. 

Where do Gen Zs spend their time? On social media. 

Influencers offer the best of both worlds – authentic content across various social media platforms. This makes influencer marketing a no-brainer tactic to reach Gen-Z consumers. 

Successful creators have spent time building trust and confidence with consumers, which brings meaning to their name as they hold a high “influence.” According to a GWI Report, “Gen Z puts more stock in the opinions and recommendations of influencers than past generations, and that’s heavily shaping how they approach media in general.” Micro-influencers, with smaller but more dedicated followers, are a great way to gain trust and narrow in on niche Gen-Z segments that best match your brand.

#3 High Impact, Interactive Content

Interactive content is growing in popularity among younger audiences, which can boost awareness and engagement with your brand. Users want to engage with content, whether that’s a swipe, tap, click, vote, or like. 

Instagram is known to have highly interactive content such as polls, carousels, quizzes, questions, prompts, and more. TikTok also recently introduced interactive add-ons that allow paid media content to further engage audiences with ad posts. Immersive content such as 3D, AR/VR, and the development of the metaverse introduce innovative ways to reach audiences in a “phygital” way. Interactive content allows your brand to be present with Gen Z as they shift deeper into digital connections and worlds. 

How Coegi Can Help

As a digital marketing agency, Coegi is well equipped to assist you in marketing needs to reach your Gen Z consumers. We ensure each campaign is carefully researched based on data-driven tools to strategically activate across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and many other platforms. Reach out if you are looking for a partner to effectively execute and optimize your campaigns to grow your brand.

Why Influencers are Relevant for Nearly Every Industry

Consumers intake vast amounts of media on a daily basis. Digital content  heavily captures their attention and influences decision-making processes. Online resources makes it easy for consumers to search or view specific content they want to see. According to a Forbes article, “we have arrived in a new era of democratic media consumption where consumers choose what they listen to and who they trust.” This forces brands and marketers to fight for consumers’ attention, often leading them to pay high prices for ultra-premium content and placements.

One way to push through the crowded online marketplace is to introduce your brand through content your consumer already subscribes to – in other words, through influencers.

Why influencers?

This channel is growing immensely, with the global influencer market value reaching $13.8B in 2021 (Statista). The industry has increased in value by $12.1B over the past 5 years and is projected to steadily continue growing. This upward trend is unsurprising given consumers’ outspoken desire to have brand interaction with them in a way that is more personal and authentic.

Build equity, authenticity and awareness with influencers

Influencers offer brands the opportunity to go beyond simply responding to consumers’ questions and concerns on their social posts to using creators as a vehicle to showcase real life product use-cases, while also building brand equity in a non-invasive way – if done properly. Creators build brand authenticity and awareness. They gives consumers an additional resource to reference and interact with when considering your brand or product.

Consumers have diverse interests in both their personal and professional lives. Many follow social media influencers that they find inspiring, relatable, or a helpful source of knowledge. Because of this, influencers impact the way their followers think and feel about certain things, including your products. Followers are often actively looking to discover and seek out recommendations surrounding their preferred areas of interest. Advertising in an environment where consumers are already seeking these recommendations gives your brand a competitive edge because consumers are more likely to take interest in your message rather than scroll past it and consider it irrelevant.

Use creators to influence buying decisions

Using an influencer in your broader marketing strategy helps put a face and personality to your brand, which makes your audience feel greater brand affinity. Because of this familiarity, consumers usually trust the influencer’s opinions or recommendations. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.” Adding the weight of an influencer’s opinion to your product/brand increases brand equity among audiences. Providing a connection to your brand through a trusted influencer can improve consumer engagement, retention and loyalty.

Recommended Reading:

Enhance Your Marketing Effectiveness with Entrepreneurial Thinking

As a marketer, it is important to be open-minded, forward thinking, and creative. What better representation of these qualities than an entrepreneur? Owning your own business isn’t necessary to have an entrepreneurial mindset. But, understanding the key characteristics of a successful entrepreneur helps improve marketing strategy. This article explains how Coegi encourages an entrepreneurial mindset to promote continuous innovation for employees and clients.

Entrepreneurs have ownership over their brands, so their core values shine through everything they produce. A strong entrepreneur always goes the extra mile to promote their values through their ideas, connections and business ventures. Knowing your core values and how they relate to your brand enables you to be more successful. Your customers will understand the meaning behind your message and your offerings. Coegi’s core values include education, excellence and innovation.

Having a strong sense of core values and how they relate to your brand will enable you as a marketer to be more successful because your customers will understand the meaning behind your message and your offerings.

The entrepreneurial mindset is promoted through internal training and external resources given to clients. We take pride in making our clients digital heroes by providing the necessary resources and knowledge. Creating an atmosphere of continuous learning allows the employees at Coegi to develop stronger strategies with better results.

The value of excellence is something that Coegians strive for everyday. This means our employees give their best effort in any work assignment or project, not allowing for mediocrity in finalized work. This is achieved by taking an entrepreneurial mindset of continuous learning, allowing ourselves to be flexible and open to change based on what the data is telling us or industry trends. We understand there is always room for improvement, so we continuously optimize workflow processes, client strategies, and campaign outcomes. Through these improvements, Coegi creates and promotes an atmosphere driven by innovation.

Innovation within the tech industry changes rapidly. To keep up-to-date on the latest technology and trends, Coegi partners with a highly diversified set of data and platform partners and maintains a cross-department committee to regularly research and review potential new partners to benefit our clients. These three values of education, excellence, and innovation can allow organizations to excel beyond the status quo and think outside the box for new solutions and improved outcomes.

Entrepreneurial mindsets encourage forward thinking and planning for long-term success. Entrepreneurs typically sacrifice a great deal of time and resources to develop a business venture. There is a significant amount of strategic planning involved in this process, because businesses are built to last long-term. As such, Coegi employees put themselves in our clients’ current situation including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and offer recommendations for media goals in advertising as well as create a learning agenda based on key measurement metrics. Depending on the overarching business goals of the client, we set key performance indicators to drive the long term growth and success of the business and evolve that strategy as the business grows and evolves.

Overall, having an entrepreneurial mindset is critical for marketing professionals because it helps cultivate long-term success within a business. Promoting core values and competencies of a brand builds credibility and trust among consumers. Analyzing and adapting to market trends allows businesses to be more versatile in their marketing objectives based on the changing needs of their consumers. And finally, long-term planning directly influences the direction of business objectives within a brand or company. Understanding these entrepreneurial competencies will aid any marketer in their overarching goals and ambitions. Start thinking like an entrepreneur to transform your marketing strategy today.

What ‘The Coegi Way’ Means to Me

What is ‘The Coegi Way’?

At Coegi, the workplace culture is defined by a set of shared values, also known as ‘The Coegi Way’. ‘The Coegi Way’ emphasizes four core principles that are standard to the everyday practice of attitude, approach, service and culture.

The attitude at Coegi is “hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.” This means that employees have enthusiastic determination, engage in responsible communication, hold a desire to be the best, and take pride in their workmanship.

The approach at Coegi is “the difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.” Employees drive this approach by having a strong attention to detail, implementing data into projects, delivering beyond client’s expectations, and celebrating achievements.

The service at Coegi is “nobody raves about average.” At Coegi, employees strive to go above and beyond by being transparent with clients, providing quality insights to campaign performance, and optimizing results based on performance, while working collaboratively towards client goals.

The culture at Coegi is “excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.” Employees at Coegi carry out this expectation by respecting peers, enjoying coming to work, giving back, and showing ambition

Consumers intake vast amounts of media on a daily basis. Digital content  heavily captures their attention and influences decision-making processes. Online resources makes it easy for consumers to search or view specific content they want to see. According to a Forbes article, “we have arrived in a new era of democratic media consumption where consumers choose what they listen to and who they trust.” This forces brands and marketers to fight for consumers’ attention, often leading them to pay high prices for ultra-premium content and placements.

One way to push through the crowded online marketplace is to introduce your brand through content your consumer already subscribes to – in other words, through influencers.

Why influencers?

This channel is growing immensely, with the global influencer market value reaching $13.8B in 2021 (Statista). The industry has increased in value by $12.1B over the past 5 years and is projected to steadily continue growing. This upward trend is unsurprising given consumers’ outspoken desire to have brand interaction with them in a way that is more personal and authentic.

Build equity, authenticity and awareness with influencers

Influencers offer brands the opportunity to go beyond simply responding to consumers’ questions and concerns on their social posts to using creators as a vehicle to showcase real life product use-cases, while also building brand equity in a non-invasive way – if done properly. Creators build brand authenticity and awareness. They gives consumers an additional resource to reference and interact with when considering your brand or product.

Consumers have diverse interests in both their personal and professional lives. Many follow social media influencers that they find inspiring, relatable, or a helpful source of knowledge. Because of this, influencers impact the way their followers think and feel about certain things, including your products. Followers are often actively looking to discover and seek out recommendations surrounding their preferred areas of interest. Advertising in an environment where consumers are already seeking these recommendations gives your brand a competitive edge because consumers are more likely to take interest in your message rather than scroll past it and consider it irrelevant.

Use creators to influence buying decisions

Using an influencer in your broader marketing strategy helps put a face and personality to your brand, which makes your audience feel greater brand affinity. Because of this familiarity, consumers usually trust the influencer’s opinions or recommendations. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations.” Adding the weight of an influencer’s opinion to your product/brand increases brand equity among audiences. Providing a connection to your brand through a trusted influencer can improve consumer engagement, retention and loyalty.

Recommended Reading:

The Coegi Way is more than just a set of principles in my work life. It aligns with my values and reminds me of my motivations and goals on a daily basis.

How it influences my work and outlook at Coegi

My outlook on work has changed since starting at Coegi because of the values they have introduced into my work life. Being surrounded by people who share similar core beliefs and values in my workplace motivates me to be the best version of myself and continue to grow and learn within the industry. Not only do I feel confident in my work strategy and results, but I have a remarkable satisfaction for it as well. I go into work everyday feeling positive about what I am accomplishing and the people around me. I look forward to seeing my future growth at Coegi and in my professional life by carrying out the values of attitude, approach, service and culture.

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