Millennials used to be the biggest buzzword in marketing. For years, brands were scrambling to find new ways to tailor their content to meet the younger demographic. Sometimes it worked (like with Spotify’s New Year’s campaign) and sometimes it didn’t (see: Pepsi’s disastrous Kendall Jenner commercial). However, as 2018 comes to a close, we’re faced with another grim reminder that we’re not only getting older, but Millennials are too. In fact, Generation Z is set to outnumber Millennials in 2019 and is set to become the next biggest target group.
It’s hard to believe that people who were born in 2001 will turn 18 next year. And with that budding demographic now starting to come into the workforce, it may soon be time for companies to start rethinking their marketing strategies.
Interestingly, Gen Z is often referred to as the most self-aware generation, meaning they’re able to wade through the noise and pinpoint the products that interest them…and instantly discard the one that don’t. They’re more technologically savvy than any other generation, and they’re more accustomed to digitized media. (Cable TV, what’s that?)
As the only demographic to grow up in a digital world, here are four marketing trends that brands may start employing in 2019 to catch their attention:
Shifting the message to focus on inclusivity
One of the biggest changes that are likely to happen in 2019 is more brands shifting their message to focus more on inclusiveness. Brands like Ikea and Asos are already working on tools to help encourage a more accepting and compassionate future, and with more Gen Z’ers opting to check a business or product online rather than in stores, it’s important that businesses optimize their websites to properly meet the soon-to-be demand.
From ensuring their website features tools that help the visually and hearing impaired to making sure more sites are optimized for mobile, brands are sure to start updating their designs to help cater to a younger audience.
Making campaigns more immersive
Because this new generation is more tech-savvy, an old-school campaign like a TV ad or a billboard may not make the cut. The best way to cater to this new market is to make your brand stands out. Sure, that’s definitely easier said than done, but a good indicator of success can be found in the emergence of immersive environments. Aside from VR and AR, companies have started capitalizing on ways to help push their brands by creating their own simulated environments.
For example, an outdoor brand that sells cold-weather gear can engage customers by actually recreating the cold, wind and rain and then show how their designs work. Customers who have been inundated with ads since the day they were born are much more likely to connect with something interactive, as the act of engagement is something that’s becoming rarer these days.
Highlighting the benefits
With so much “content muck” and negative news polluting the world, brands are likely to start focusing more on the good things in life. Gen Z may be the most self-aware, but that’s likely due to the fact that they’ve been exposed to so much media at such a young age. That’s why it’ll be important to bring the humanizing aspect back into brand messages in 2019. By highlighting how brands can help make life easier, and focus on inclusivity and openness, they may be able to capture more market attention.
Social media (and Facebook in particular) have taken a popularity hit in recent months, with consumers becoming more concerned about the negative effects. In fact, Instagram quietly debuted a Wellbeing division in April of this year, with a dedicated team to help make sure the site was a safe and open place to visit.
Similarly, companies are more likely to try and stand out by making their brands appear more approachable. Lifestyle brands have traditionally done a great job of making their products appear welcoming, and regardless of what your brand is, it may be in your best interest to follow suit.
Capturing that entrepreneurial spirit
Gen Z has more tools at their disposal than any other demographic in history. It comes as no surprise to hear that this generation is 55% more likely to want to start their own business. With brick-and-mortar expected to soon be on life support, digital is the way of the future, and it’s important to capture that growing entrepreneurial spirit in your brand messaging.
It’ll be interesting to see how marketers cash in on this new gung-ho spirit, as it’ll be equally interesting to see how companies will start shifting their brand message to a more “can do” spirit.
Want to see how your brand stacks up against the competition? StellaPop offers comprehensive management consulting and brand design. Reach out today to see how we can update your brand for 2019.