Kids aren’t media consumers, they are “knowledge managers,” constantly evaluating content and data, and discarding what doesn’t help them build their personal brand. How can brands adjust to the new reality?
That‘s the challenge posed by youth marketing experts Gregg Witt and Derek Baird in The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In & Build Credibility.
“Identity, trust, relevance, possibility and experience” are the five foundational truths of youth marketing, note the authors. Brands need to engage via activities, interests, brand and content affinities, opinions and situational context.
Social media is the best avenue for all this: it’s where kids go to communicate and express themselves. But don’t focus on Facebook. The new breed of multichannel “fandoms,” for instance, use assorted media (websites, video, podcasts, newsletters, IM) to lets kids follow a passion such as a musician, movie or trend.
A lot of a brand’s success is its ability to form partnerships with influencer organizations and individuals. “A brand’s likelihood of building a commercially viable audience with today’s young consumers is in direct relation to a brand’s ability to identify and connect with the right spectrum of groups within youth culture,” say the authors.
Which brands do it best? The authors give kudos to Mountain Dew, which is working to promote the work of street artists; Levis, which is working with urban youth; and Nike, which sponsors various efforts by skateboarders.
This book contains some interesting insights into Gen Z (7-22 year-olds). You’ll learn some valuable things about working with video and emojis, etc. But the authors don’t make an especially strong case that Gen Z is differentiated from Millennials (22-37 year olds). They’re all phone-based and social-media oriented, OK?
The book’s real strength is in several excellent playbook chapters that are organized to help brand marketers assess and segment their target audiences, and build programs geared towards today’s top social media platforms.