Written exclusively for Splashbox.com
by Ava Clark
Social media may feel as though it’s been around for ages, but sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are fairly new tools that emerged in the mid-2000s. The rise in popularity of social media is largely driven by young adult generations, namely Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) and Gen-Z (born 1997 - 2012), cohorts that share similar characteristics. Compared to their preceding generations, they’re highly-educated, racially and ethnically diverse with a progressive stance on social and policy issues.
Moreover, these generations grew up in political, social, and economic landscapes forever altered by the technological disruption that marked the late 90s. By and large, this environment shaped them to have different expectations towards brands. If your business is not familiar with how Millennials and Gen-Zers think, you may struggle to create effective marketing campaigns. Here are three tips to keep in mind:
Keep messages short but authentic
Both cohorts value authenticity, particularly millennials who grew up in an era of catchy jingles and cheesy slogans. As the true early adopters and innovators of social media, these generations are quick to sense inauthenticity — so avoid using trending memes and slang for clout if these don’t align with your brand. It’s also important to keep things simple and cut to the chase, especially as Gen-Zers have a short attention span that quickly filters enormous amounts of information.
Aside from clear and transparent communication, it also helps not to take your brand too seriously. Millennials and Gen-Zers seek out levity, fun, and humor to combat stress. They also want to build a world with more sincerity, optimism, and kindness, and you want your brand to become a part of that movement. Trendy social media apps like TikTok highlights how important these values are. Users produce short-form video content of themselves dancing, singing, sharing DIYs, or acting out skits. Most viral clips on TikTok appeal to people of all ages and cultures because the users aren’t afraid to showcase their unique selves.
Work with communication professionals
Everyone wants to market to Millennials and Gen-Z as the rising generation of consumers, with Gen-Z alone representing $140 billion dollars of spending power. However, they are challenging cohorts because they stay online almost constantly, and are quite media-savvy. To cut through the noise, it’s crucial to hire people who can speak — not mimic — their language.
It’s important to leverage strategic communication expertise from professionals who have undergone training in e-media technology and applications. With their know-how on designing and creating dynamic campaigns that fit changing situations, audience, social movements, and delivery modalities, they can best prepare messages that will appeal to your target demographic. In this scenario, it’s best to hire someone on the younger side, who keeps abreast of the latest trends to see what works for your brand.
Be a thoroughly human brand
Millennials and Gen-Zers want realistic and relatable brands to step-up in making the world a better place. These cohorts are willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability-oriented values; one study even found that members of the younger generation would trade better pay for the opportunity to work for a sustainable-minded company. They see brands as a direct reflection of what they believe in.
This intentionality with how they spend their money and attention should be considered when planning your marketing efforts. One of the more famous examples of a human brand is TOMS Shoes, which baked in CSR efforts into its original business model. They donated a pair of shoes for every pair sold. After facing criticism from NGOs, TOMS re-evaluated its strategy. Now, they donate a third of their profits to grassroots campaigns, like a COVID-19 giving fund and the Black Lives Matter movement.
At Splash Box Marketing, we keep different generational needs in mind. As a full-service agency, we provide our clients with a fresh perspective on their corporate identity, and ensure their messaging is relevant for their target audience. Reach out to learn more.