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Launching a purpose led marketing campaign targeted at Gen Z

by on October 11, 2021 in Business, Lead Article, Lead story

Marketing to Generation Z
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Marketing to Generation Z: Countless research has shown that Gen Z is the change-making generation. It is no secret then that they value, and are drawn to brands that have a wider purpose – whether that is sustainability led objectives, CSR work or those that shout about how they support their own employees.

But what does it take to launch a meaningful purpose-led campaign or product and for it to be successful? Jay gives his top tips, tricks and advice. 

Make a long term commitment

Unfortunately, brands often fall victim to one-hit wonders – and this just does not sit well with Gen Z. The most successful purpose-led campaigns I have seen have come from organisations making a long term commitment to whatever it is they are trying to achieve. That way their work has longevity and creates a tone of voice that they want to be associated with. It’s no good to sell a t-shirt and offer to give 10% of the income to a charity that supports young entrepreneurs for example if the company hasn’t paid the young designer who created the artwork for it. 

Stay authentic to your tone of voice

I’ve seen this time and time again. My biggest piece of advice for a company looking to target Gen Z with a purpose-led campaign or product is to stay authentic to themselves. It’s about being clever and using a little bit of common sense. If you’re a trainer brand, for example, think about the space you play in and where you have a role and capabilities to really make a difference. I much prefer a simple execution to some wild partnership that makes no sense to a marketeer – let alone a young consumer.

Show who is behind the brand

This is a really easy one. Gen Z love feeling like they understand the ins and outs of a business and if it’s something they can relate to even better! They like to be involved in the end to end experience and this will help show that you are a human brand. There was a good example of this that came up at a panel discussion I chaired at a gaming conference the other day. Stephen Ddungu was a lone developer, who created a game as part of his final year music project. He used Tik Tok as a platform to speak to young people about the game he had developed, ‘Sword of Symphony’. People were so impressed that he had created the game all on his own, and that they could see the person behind the game that they bought into it straight away. Another example I’ve seen where this works really well is haloing employees. I like the way ASOS do this – using their own staff as influencers is a really clever way to engage with your audience.

Truly give back to the community

Whatever you decide to go with, try and offer something back to your audience. This could be as simple as running competitions for them to win your product or scalable up to a charity donation for every product sold. Be transparent though, if you’re only giving 1% of every sale for an item that is £100 they won’t buy it (literally or buy into it)! And be honest. If things don’t go quite to plan, admit you missed the mark and let them know you will do better in the future. 

Sense check your thinking with actual Gen Z

I would say this, but it is the most obvious one for me. If you are wanting to launch a product, service or campaign aimed at targeting young people then test your thinking on them live. Get them involved in the briefing and brainstorming process, bring them on the journey and include them in the planning – you’ll thank yourselves later!

Marketing to Generation Z

Jay Richards is Co-Founder and CEO at Imagen Insights, a forward-thinking organisation that crowdsources feedback, ideas and insights from its Gen Z community for brands. 

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