Now that you’ve mastered marketing your food and beverage or CPG brand to Millennials, there’s another generation to decode. If Millennials were a big change from Generation X in their purchasing habits, then Generation Z will really confound you. Many of the characteristics are the same—including their use of technology and their support of socially conscious brands—but these characteristics appear in different ways.
For instance, Generation Z will give a brand about 8 seconds of attention before deciding if they want to continue. That’s not a lot of time to grab their attention but, because Generation Z will make up 40% of all consumers by 2020, it’s definitely worth your trouble to try.
So, what can you do to reach them?
The wealth of the entire internet is at their fingertips. Is it any wonder this generation has a shortened attention span? They have to filter out the information that doesn’t interest them in record time, or they’ll get bogged down with things they don’t find relevant to their needs or wants.
With that 8 second filter firmly in place, you have to grab their attention and engage them immediately. Otherwise, you take a chance on losing them completely. First: be authentic. Your brand will get the boot right away if Gen Z feels you’re not being true to yourself in an effort to impress them.
Next: make them laugh. Maybe young adults like Wendy’s and Taco Bell for the taste—or maybe they get a kick out of their Twitter feeds. For a CPG example, check out Innocent Drinks for a great mix of silly and serious.
Finally: answer them. Generation Z loves nothing more than to be acknowledged, which you can do by responding to messages, tweets, and comments.
Generation Z has had a tough life already, in spite of the memes that suggest otherwise. These teens and young adults were born during the aftermath of 9/11. They’ve witnessed school shootings and struggled alongside their parents during the Great Recession that followed. They’re looking for something to inspire them.
Brands that promote social good are more likely to resonate with younger buyers, as Warby Parker, TOMS Shoes, Patagonia, Kind Snacks, Nika Water, and Ethnotek have proven. In fact, brands that give back experience the Noble Edge effect, which means they’re perceived to be of higher quality than other brands.
This strategy works well when paired with influencer marketing, as the younger generation looks to internet stars and celebrities for guidance. One emerging brand that has seen success pairing the Noble Edge with influencer marketing is Rap Snacks, founded by James Lindsay. These snacks are not only touted by Generation Z’s favorite rap artists, they also feature them prominently on the packaging, along with inspirational quotes.
Use Technology in Your Strategy
Blogs and Twitter posts aren’t enough to engage and inspire the latest generation. Generation Z has been immersed in technology since they were toddlers; they know how to use it. If you want to reach them, you need to make the most of the technology available to you, too.
This means you must provide an omni-channel experience for your brand. This generation moves from screen to screen on a whim, and they expect their favorite brands to do the same. This means you must be prepared to reach them on smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, and televisions. To be present on these screens, you must be able to market your brand on various platforms, including apps, television commercials, product placements, online video, coupon websites, and even displays in stores.
In addition to product placement in stores, you must also be sure that your products are available for online shoppers. This might include selling from your own brand’s website, providing products for grocery store delivery websites, and even opening your own Amazon store or other online marketplace.
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