The Ultimate Playbook for Creating a Gen Z-Friendly Brand: 9 Essential Tips to Win ’em All

By Avitanshi Srivastava January 5, 2024 16 mins read
TAGS : Branding , Gen Z Friendly brand , Gen Z marketing , Marketing to Gen Z , Thought Leadership

Jon Snow Meme- Game of Thrones

This cracks me up every time I see it. (or maybe my humor is broken)

For those of you feeling utterly clueless and out of the loop – a sentiment that many of us, including myself, can relate to in the fast-paced world of marketing. This hilarious meme features Jon Snow, a character from the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.”

All right, then. Now that we’re all on the same page; let’s get back to business.

It’s time for some real talk.

For the context, I hail from the Era of Millennials.

So, imagine my reaction when in one of our casual team discussions about ‘Marketing Plan 2024’ someone asked my opinion on the inclusion of ‘Gen Z marketing’.

Don’t get me wrong.

It’s not like I’m not familiar with Gen Z or aren’t aware of the fact that they hold the highest purchasing power in the current scenario.

On that note, let me share with you exactly how ‘high’ we are talking,Who is Gen Z and Their Purchasing Power

But it was the thought of ‘what does a Gen Z-friendly brand actually mean?’ that struck me speechless at that particular moment.

Since ‘Curious’ is my middle name, I think it’s easy to predict what I did next.

So, while my favorite artist, Taylor Swift played in the background (A love mutually shared by both the millennials and Gen Z), I went on my laptop and dived into the depths of the World Wide Web in pursuit of some answers.

Particularly to this question:

What exactly does it mean to create a brand that resonates with this dynamic generation?

Once my initial research was done, I went on to nitpick the creative minds that I work with.

After all was said and done, I recalled the wisdom in the words of Desiderius Erasmus, who was a famous Dutch scholar, theologian, and philosopher, as he once said,Desiderius Erasmus

Which led me here today, all set and excited to share some cool insights, findings, and my own take on how to create a brand that clicks with Gen Z.

So without any further ado, let’s begin

Gen Z Marketing Strategies Every Business and Marketer Should Be Aware Of

Gen Z marketing Tip#1

Show Your Brand’s True Colors: Be Authentic

Let’s kick things off with the golden rule – authenticity. Gen Z has a sixth sense for sniffing out the fake stuff, and nothing turns them off quicker.

In an era where trust is a currency, Gen Z demands more than just a product—they want to see the raw, unfiltered you.Gen-Z marketing - Preference for authentic marketing and branding

Remember, authenticity isn’t about being flawless; it’s about being real. So, ditch the fancy facades, strip off the layers, show some vulnerability, and watch as your brand becomes their confidante.

Think of your brand as a storyteller, not a salesperson. Unveil the behind-the-scenes moments, share your challenges, and celebrate your victories.

Remember that time your cat photobombed your Zoom meeting?

Image Credit: Tascha Bröden via Facebook

Share those quirky moments; they’ll make your brand both relatable and credible.

Pro Tips:

  • Be an Open Book: Share your brand journey—highs, lows, and all. Authenticity creates a genuine connection.
  • Make Transparency Your BFF: Lay out the details—product origins, manufacturing, the whole nine yards. Trust is built on openness.
  • Remember Reviews Matter: Treat customer reviews as gold. Respond, learn, and let them see the real people behind your brand.

Gen Z's dependency on social proof and preference for authentic branding - Gen Z Marketing

Gen Z marketing Tip#2

Focus on Purpose-Driven Marketing: Because Saving the World is Cool

Gen Z isn’t just about shopping; they’re on a mission to change the world, one purchase at a time.

In the eyes of Gen Z, your impact is as important as your product.Gen-Z's preference for purpose driven marketing approach

So, why not join the party?

Remember, it’s not just about talking the talk; it’s about walking the walk. They want to see real change, and your brand can be a catalyst. So, don’t just show a commitment to making a positive impact, make real efforts.

Align your brand with a cause that resonates with Gen Z’s social and environmental concerns and goes beyond profit margins. Share stories of your journey toward sustainability or a social cause, and invite your audience to be part of that movement.

Keep in mind that these aren’t just trendy buzzwords; they play a vital role in shaping your brand’s identity, perception, and reputation. That it’s not just about making a statement; it’s about creating a movement.

And hey, saving the world is pretty cool, isn’t it?

Pro Tips:

  • Find Your Cause: Align your brand with a cause close to your heart. It’s not just about selling; it’s about being a force for good.
  • Let Your Audience Know Your Mission: Make your purpose known. Your audience wants to support a brand with a mission.
  • Actions Speak Louder: Dive into eco-friendly practices, and community projects—show them your purpose in action.

Gen Z's preference for sustainable and socially responsible brands

Gen Z marketing Tip#3

Don’t Be Just Online, Be Social: Rule the Digital Kingdom like a Pro

Ah, the digital landscape, the Gen Z stomping ground!

To truly become a part of their day-to-day life, you need to learn how to leverage social media platforms that are popular among Gen Z, such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube to your advantage.Social media platforms Gen Z loves to spend time on

Platforms where your brand isn’t just a profile; it’s an experience.

The key is to remember that it’s not just about posting stuff; it’s about starting conversations.

Dive into emerging platforms, experiment with content formats, learn what your audience likes to watch and talk about, and be the brand that sets the digital trends.Gen Z marketing- Social media content consumption preference

Take TikTok, for example – it’s not just for dance challenges; it’s a goldmine for creative storytelling. Use it to share bite-sized stories about your brand culture, products, or even a day in the life of your team.

Remember, in a world where attention is a precious commodity, your digital presence is the stage where your brand performs.

So optimize your social media presence, ensure your website is mobile-friendly, master the art of social storytelling, and engage like there’s no tomorrow.

Because, social media is where your audience is at – whether it’s browsing, exploring, or buying, social media is Gen Z’s new shopping destination.Social media as the new shopping destination for Gen Z

Pro Tips:

  • Choose Your Platforms Wisely: Where does your target audience hang out?
  • Engage, Don’t Just Post: Start conversations, reply to comments, and be part of the online community.
  • Be Creative: Experiment with different content formats, challenges, and innovative approaches.

Gen Z marketing Tip#4

Grab Attention in 8 Seconds or Less: The Importance of Visuals and Interactive Content

In a world where attention spans are shorter than my morning coffee break, your brand’s visual and interactive content needs to be the showstopper.

Therefore, don’t just communicate; captivate. Think short videos, memes, GIFs, quirky graphics, and content that pops.Essential tips to create attention grabbing content for Gen Z

Trust me, you’ll have them hooked before they finish their avocado toast. (This may or may not be hinting at a real incident that took place during my research period)

So, remember, in this blink-and-you-miss-it era, It’s about creating an immersive experience that lingers long after the scroll.

Because visual storytelling isn’t just an option anymore; it’s a necessity for surviving and thriving in the digital world.

Pro Tips:

  • Master ‘em Memes: Craft memes like an art form. They’re your secret weapon for quick engagement.
  • Put Out as Much Video Content as Possible: Short, sweet, relatable, and scroll-stopping videos.
  • Interact to Build Bonds: Use quizzes, polls, and interactive content to turn spectators into participants.

Gen Z marketing Tip#5

Turn Followers Into Fans: Influence Them With Influencers

If I have to explain it in layman’s language, I’d say, that using influencer marketing feels like finding ‘The Cool Kid’ from the crowd and making them your brand advocates.

This way your brand becomes the cool kid’s recommendation, and trust me, that’s way cooler than any ad.The future of Influencer marketing - Gen Z marketing

Remember, Influencers aren’t just endorsers; they’re storytellers who amplify your narrative. But forget the mega ones; think micro. For Gen Z, being real and relatable trumps numbers any day.Impact of Influencer marketing on Gen-Z's purchasing decisions

So, collaborate with influencers who genuinely love your brand. Share anecdotes of how your influencers use your product in their daily lives. Let them become the voice of your brand, weaving their stories with yours.

The key isn’t the number of followers but the authenticity of the connection. Collaborate not just for exposure but for a genuine partnership.

Pro Tips:

  • Choose Quality Over Quantity: Look for influencers who genuinely resonate with your brand, not just big numbers. (bet you didn’t know that micro-influencers have a higher conversion rate.)
  • Opt for Unscripted Sponsorship: Let influencers tell their own story with your product. Work with them to frame out your content plan.
  • Focus on Genuine Engagement: Encourage influencers to directly interact with your audience. Whether it’s through Q&A sessions, live chats, or interactive content, genuine engagement will enhance your brand’s credibility.

Gen Z marketing Tip#6

Try Your Hand At Ephemeral Content

Don’t worry. Even I didn’t know what it meant at first. (you know one of those instances where you know everything about something, except what it’s called? yep, it’s that kind of situation with this one.)

But before we jump into the nitty-gritty details of the tip, check out how SproutSocial explains it best –

Ephemeral content in social media refers to any kind of social media content that is visible for a short amount of time, typically for 24 hours. Also known as disappearing content, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok stories are all examples of ephemeral content.

So, that’s what ephemeral content is all about.

Ephemeral content timeline - How to create a Gen Z friendly brandHowever, what you need to grasp from this tip is that It’s not just about sharing stories; it’s about creating moments of “Oh no, I shouldn’t have missed that!” Your brand needs to become the sneak peek your audience can’t resist.

In a world where yesterday’s news is old news, use ephemeral content to unfold a story, showcase limited-time promotions and offers, or share sneak peeks, countdowns, or even the occasional cliffhanger.

Be the brand that creates FOMO, leaving them eagerly anticipating the next surprise.

Pro Tips:

  • Grab Instant Attention: Design your ephemeral content to grab attention within the first few seconds. Bold visuals, intriguing captions, or a quick teaser can do wonders.
  • Create Short, Impactful Stories: Keep your message short, sweet, and to the point. Ephemeral content is about creating an instant impact, so craft a concise story that resonates quickly.
  • Focus on Real-Time Engagement: Encourage audience participation through polls, quizzes, or questions. Ephemeral content is an excellent platform for real-time engagement.

Gen Z marketing Tip#7

Turn Your Customers Into Brand Ambassadors With UGC

Who needs marketing when your customers do it for you?

For those of you who might not know, according to Wikipedia –

User-generated content, alternatively known as user-created content, is generally any form of brand-specific content, such as images, videos, text, testimonials, and audio, that has been posted by users on a social or online platform.

Now what you need to do is implement this UGC content into your content marketing strategy. How? Well, for example, you can –

Create a hashtag and let your customers take the reigns of your marketing campaign in their hands and run free.

A hashtag isn’t just a tag; it’s a badge of belonging. Just look at Go Pro’s success at building such a strong community with its Million Dollar Challenge UGC campaign that they’ve made this UGC Campaign an annual event since 2018.

So go ahead and share those customer stories – the tales of triumph, the hilarious mishaps, and the heartwarming moments.

Encourage them to share their experiences, host challenges, and turn them into loyal advocates and ambassadors of your brand. This way your brand becomes the epic tale of shared experiences, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Pro Tips:

  • Celebrate Your Customers: Feature them on your social media accounts, and give their UGC content reposts and shoutouts. This way you’ll build better relationships.
  • Be Creative With Your Hashtag Campaigns: Create a unique and relatable hashtag (with a garnish of nostalgia) and encourage customers to share their stories with it.
  • Spark Friendly Competition: Transform your UGC into a fun competition. Encourage them to show their creativity with your product/service, and reward the most inventive or entertaining entries.

Gen Z marketing Tip#8

Let’s Make It Personal: Because One Size Fits None

Gen Z isn’t a cookie-cutter crowd; they’re a diverse bunch. So, to cater to them the first adaption you need to make is to personalize your content, recommendations, and communication.

Because doing that will make them feel seen, heard, and understood.Personalization is key for creating a Gen Z friendly brand

Leverage data to understand them. Their preferences, needs, expectations, challenges, pain points, interest. Learn it all.

Then as the next step, tailor the heck out of everything just for them.

Dive into the world of dynamic content – personalized product recommendations, tailored emails, and even customized user interfaces.

Show them that you’re that brand that ‘gets’ them.

Pro Tips:

  • Focus on Personalization Insights: Go beyond demographics. Understand their favorite brands, online behavior, and even their choice of emojis. The more detailed your data, the more personalized your approach.
  • Tailor Your Content: Address them by name and speak their language. Tailor your communication to make it seem like when they’re on your site or app, you’re only selling to them personally.
  • Opt For Omni-Channel Personalization: Extend personalization beyond your website or app. Incorporate it into your emails, text messages, and even automated communications. Create a seamless and personalized brand experience across all touchpoints.

Gen Z marketing Tip#9

Put Your Brand In Their Pocket With Mobile Commerce

In the Gen Z universe, if it’s not on mobile, it might as well not exist.Gen-Z friendly brand means mobile friendly brand

So, don’t wait up, go ahead and optimize your website, embrace those flexible mobile payments, and maybe even consider that nifty mobile app. Trust me, once you go mobile-friendly, you will see those carts fill up better than when you were mobile-enemy (I know it’s lame).

Remember, mobile commerce isn’t just about convenience; it’s about creating a seamless experience for your visitors from discovery to checkout.

So, make your brand mobile-friendly, and I mean, irresistibly mobile-friendly, and let the magic unfold.

Pro Tips:

  • Mobile Optimization Is Non-Negotiable: So make sure that your website and app are smoother than a TikTok dance. Optimize for speed, responsiveness, and user-friendliness.
  • Tap into Mobile Payments: Whether it’s digital wallets or contactless transactions, offering a variety of mobile payment options will surely help you with the Gen Z hearts.
  • Build an Irresistible Mobile App: Consider developing a mobile app that complements your website. An app provides a dedicated space for your brand on their devices, fostering loyalty and providing a convenient way for them to explore and shop.

Parting Words…

Alright, Squad!

There you have it – the Gen Z playbook served with an extra layer of depth and insights!

No cap, this trip into the universe of Gen Z marketing has been high-key exhilarating.

So, are you ready to level up and become the brand everyone’s talking ’bout? Do you want to snatch those Gen Z hearts?

Then, go right ahead and use these strategies ’cause these Gen Z marketing tips are gonna be those gems that’ll have your brand on everyone’s radar.

As you gear up for the challenges and triumphs of 2024, remember that Gen Z isn’t just a market segment; they’re a vibrant community waiting to be embraced. So, keep it real, keep it fresh, and stay winning in the Gen Z game.

Remember, in a landscape where change is the only constant, adapting becomes a necessity to stay relevant and thrive.

So, Here’s to a year of authentic connections, purpose-driven narratives, and building communities that stand the test of time.

Let’s create brands that don’t just sell products but weave stories, spark conversations, and stand tall in the hearts of Gen Z.

Until next time, stay woke, stay vibin’, and keep slayin’ those marketing goals.

About The Author

Avitanshi Srivastava

A delicate balance of calm and chaos, she's a curious soul with a dramatic heart! With writing as her first love, she's a Proud parent of a Birb and can be found talking to curtains or apologizing to walls!

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