How brands should speak to GenZs

For teens, life is no longer punctuated by first dances, first exams or first sleepovers - it's marked by first mobile phones.
The latest Think with Google report reveals that getting a new phone is defined as a life-changing event for teens. Which means the daily lives of teens are defined by their smartphone. Whether they think your brand is cool will make or break their endorsement, in real time, on their phone.

The report, released mid-2016, aimed to scrutinise and unpack the digital behaviours of Generation Z (GenZs) and how they compare to their older counterparts. Data and insights were paired to provide a deep understanding of this mythical group of phone-first youngsters. Here are some key insights and what they mean for marketers.

The young and restless

The age at which GenZs are getting their first phone is around 12 years young. This doesn’t mean marketers should cannibalise the young and innocent, but it should be rethinking and disrupting communications in light of what’s happening within this generation. And the only way to understand the reality of GenZs is to talk to them. Explore their fears, expectations and hopes; and tailor communications to resonate.

Viva video

Seven in 10 teens say they spend more than three hours a day watching mobile video. Smartphones have grown beyond interpersonal communications to multimedia devices. If content doesn’t delight and entertain – in seconds – they won’t watch it. And if it doesn’t look good on their smartphone, they’ll be underwhelmed. The lesson: think mobile video first when designing your brand’s content strategy.

By the buy

Mobile e-commerce is gaining momentum. GenZs are the biggest takers. Two in three teens make purchases online and of those, more than half are completing the purchase on their phones. But in-store, experiential purchasing and browsing still accounts for one brand’s popularity over another. Smart brands are adopting a ‘clicks and mortar’ approach – providing an offline space for teens to feel, hold and fall in love with products and then building an online store they can purchase it from later. And ensuring communications in both places are smart and seamless.

Craft connections

Just because they’re saying it with emojis and Snaps, doesn’t mean GenZs don’t want to be heard. They still value connections with real human beings. It’s just the medium that’s changed. Even when tackling mobile first, it’s essential to craft communications that resonate. Tell human-stories and create experiences that translate to digital and mobile.

Like it or not, GenZs are your future customers. You might not be them, but you can understand them. The most important lesson marketers can learn is that GenZs need to be engaged, connected and entertained with content that fits in the palm of their hand.

About Desiree Gullan

Having worked at the 'Big Three' advertising agencies in SA and proving her creative mettle abroad, Desirée has won multiple local and international awards for her work - including Cannes Lions and Clios. She believes in the importance of craftsmanship - that it's not in the designing, but in the redesigning. Not in the writing, but in the rewriting.
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