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What Brands Must Understand About Engaging Gen Z During COVID-19

What Brands Must Understand About Engaging Gen Z During COVID-19

Romana Hai
How To Market To Gen Z During COVID-19

Appealing to Gen Z during the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t about putting the right products in front of them at the right time and place, it is about focusing on building and nurturing relationships for life long loyalty.

Gen Z consumers (born between 1997 and 2012) roughly represent 40 percent of global consumers and will account for 40 percent of luxury purchases by 2035. As such, they are a market force to be reckoned with. So, how should brands go about marketing to these consumers?

Recent data from GlobalWebIndex suggests that now is the time for brands to display and really tune into their company values as Gen Z is in no rush to make purchases. So instead of solely focussing on sales, brands must also demonstrate community support and focus on values that consumers can relate to. Findings from a mid-March DoSomething survey reveal that 75 percent of Gen Z consumers want brands to ensure employee and consumer safety with 73 percent wanting businesses to ensure the financial well being of their employees.

“Young people are attuned right now to how employees are being treated by brands and organizations in particular. That’s where their loyalty lies.”

– Meredith Ferguson, managing director at DoSomething Strategic

Brands that are not authentic or those that lack social values will particularly have a hard time appealing to younger consumers. For example, when Fashion Nova sent out a push notification prompting US customers to spend their stimulus checks, Gen Z customers did not take lightly to the message.

Brands that are resonating with this generation are the ones that support social causes such as encouraging consumers to support their local businesses or to “pay it forward” with buy-one-donate-one (BOGO) schemes. Allbirds is one such example of a brand that successfully rolled out its buy-a-pair-give-a-pair initiative, which provides trainers to front line medical workers. And while such charitable initiatives are often tied to the brand’s marketing and mission, the overall impression is often positive.

A mission-driven brand must also put focus on building meaningful and personalized messaging. During these times, Gen Z is particularly favoring brands and retailers that can deliver personalized messaging through contactless methods, as it lets them know that the brand is abiding by the need for consumers to remain contactless. Brands that can offer safer ways to shop and pay, while still making the consumer feel like a true VIP, will shine through the crisis. 

Gen Z consumers are also favoring brands that are transparent and are offering greater support to consumers during this time of uncertainty. According to GlobalWebIndex, 41 percent of Gen Z consumers feel that they lack the proper information about staying healthy so brands that have managed to respond quickly to the outbreak with support and/or advice, offer them a sense of community and align well with the values of Gen Z consumers. 

Brands must also focus on offering support and connecting with Gen Z consumers on platforms such as Tik Tok that are gaining popularity among this cohort.

Video “challenges” on Tik Tok have become all the rage amongst this generation and during the midst of COVID-19, Gen Z is over 10 times more likely to be creating and uploading videos during lockdown than any other generation.

Brands that succeed in developing messaging that resonates and finding ways for delivering it in a meaningful way will be best positioned to find lifetime customers in this emerging consumer group.

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