Generation Z: Redefining What Makes a Hot Brand

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 03:13 PM

Business Insider published an article this summer about industries and brands who are at risk because they’re losing ground with Generation Z compared to their Millennial customer base.  At YouthBeat, our data generally supports their conclusions that many brands are starting to lose ground with Gen Z consumers due to their focus on millennials.  And we’ve got a solid theory about why.  Every generation likes to forge their own path in discovering brands that they feel, when they’re young, match the needs that their parents’ brands are too stale to address.  It’s part of building independence—exploration and early adoption.

Millennials broke the mold adopting new brands that technology made available; registering for “The” Facebook as college students, signing up for Pandora, and embracing other first-to-market new media services like MySpace.  In the world of shopping, they flocked to Abercrombie & Fitch, and later, to fast-fashion pioneer H&M.  They were willing to spend money on brands that connoted affluence, and that everyone else in their peer group used.

Generation Z is no exception to this quest for their own brands that meet their not-so-subtle different needs.  This generation was fully aware of the Great Recession as it unfolded, perhaps watching parents lose jobs and even homes.  Plus, they saw older siblings suffer backlash from their public social posts (getting in trouble for posting images of partying when they should have been studying or being cyberbullied for a publicly-posted opinion).  What does all that mean?  Generation Z is much more money-savvy and private than their Millennial counterparts.  And that impacts the brands they use, including their social media and retail preferences.

Just this week, Commonsense Media released an infographic about the social media habits of Generation Z. Their data focused on the emotional impact of social media on teens.  At YouthBeat, our questionnaire is a little different, but we concur that Instagram (63% of teens with an account) and Snapchat (61% of teens with an account*) are far more relevant to this generation than Facebook was to Millennials.  For Snapchat in particular, teens are more interested in sending amusing filtered photos and videos to friends they know in the tangible space (and maintaining their streaks) than making public posts on another media and possibly attracting trolls.

In terms of shopping, the Business Insider article called out that Generation Z is less likely than Millennials to be shopping department stores, and more likely to be engaging directly with brands online, in search of the best deals.  Our data support that too.  Amazon is now teens’ favorite place to shop overall—above any brick + mortar store.  Old Navy is one of their Top 5 brands of clothing, while Abercrombie & Fitch is absent (Hollister, an A&F brand, is just below Old Navy).* Stay tuned, though, as A&F has a new CEO as of last year, and is overhauling its retail to appeal to younger consumers.

OUR POV:

Successful brands are the ones who meet the changing needs of each generation, based on a deep understanding of what drives those needs—beyond life stage.  At YouthBeat, we’ve declared Generation Z “so over,” because Generation Alpha, born 2010-present, are the ones to focus on now for a solid longer-term strategy.  Reach out to us for our Generational Spotlight infographic for a head start.

*Source: YouthBeat® Jan-June 2018

Tags: millennials, Gen Z, brands, youth marketing

Brands Capitalize on Youth Influencing Parents

Posted by Jane Ott on Thu, Dec 01, 2016 @ 09:37 AM

The more technology proliferates our lives, the more native kids become to any aspect of technology, often putting them in the position of being the in-house “experts” and helping mom and dad with setting up and programming devices.  Combined with Gen Z kids having an increasing say in non-traditional household matters (such as travel and tablets) as we’ve seen in our YouthBeat parents’ data, this generation has been dubbed as “reverse influencers” – they influence their parents just as much as their parents influence them. 

Marketers have been capitalizing on this trend by engaging kids in their advertising from the ground up – influencing parents by giving their kids a role in the marketing game.  It’s not a new concept, engage kids to ask for something to spur parent purchases, or even use kids to market a product not at all related to them.  And, parents hear multiple requests in a day, even in an hour.  So what is it about these marketing campaigns that look different with this generation? 

  • They break away from products that kids traditionally have had influence on
  • They offer parents a new way to connect with their kids and tug at emotional ties by sharing a kids’ point of view of something that parents may take for granted
  • They give kids an opportunity to push boundaries and shine in a grown up world by validating their feelings, dreams, and imaginations
  • They focus on simple tenets of childhood that every kid, and parent, can relate to
  • They take it beyond traditional media into new formats or tie ins with relevant causes to reinforce the message   

What are some of the brands that are doing this well?   Some of our favorites include:

  • Dove’s Love your Curls. This commercial, as well as their related book of poetry and curly hair people emojis reminds us that parents and kids win when we show kids how to love themselves, just as they are:

Tags: advertisment, parents, Youth, TV, marketing, brands

Youth Marketing Strategy Recon

Posted by Mary McIlrath on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 @ 09:57 AM

At YouthBeat, we’ve known Millennials since they were children, and now we are deeply familiar with Gen Z.  Recently, we contributed to Voxburner’s Youth 100 USA Report 2016, the cornerstone of the Youth Marketing Strategy conference in New York.

The conference was a gathering of the finest minds in branding for teens and young adults.  Content focused on understanding the pathos and need states of today’s 16-24 year-old cohort, and celebrating the brands who are successfully creating the products and messaging that touch the hearts of this segment.

In the Youth 100 Report, the brands that rose to the top as favorites (ranked on sentiment) reflect the myriad needs of teens and young adults.  At YouthBeat, our POV is that to be a “favorite,” brands must be, and their marketing must reflect, the core defining emotional drivers of teens and young adults at that time.  We assert that the highest-ranking brands offer these benefits:

  • Instantaneous accessibility
  • A conduit to seemingly infinite content
  • Connection to other people
  • Comfort in a scary modern world

The Top 10 brands who are, this year, pinging the most of these drivers, are:

  1. Amazon
  2. Google
  3. Netflix
  4. YouTube
  5. Oreo
  6. Hershey’s
  7. Target
  8. Amazon Prime
  9. Disney
  10. M&M’s

To download the full report, click here.

 

Tags: Teens, millennials, Gen Z, young adult, marketing, brands