The New Facades Of Marketing And Branding
The New Wave of Marketing Trends, Why Gen Z Strategies Shake the World
The role of Gen Z in this whirlwind of change is that Gen Z acts as driving forces behind the new marketing trends. The irony is that they are the group of people that most companies would want to target but also the same group of people where companies find it hard to impress and predict what they want as they consist of diverse groups of people.
As Gen Z’s wants and needs are hard to capture, many companies struggle to come up with products that could truly appeal to this group of people compared to millennials and baby boomers. This mainly comes from the varied perspectives and values that Gen Z hold, especially in their purchase. They are leading an evolution that could be massive but at the same time, creating a timebomb that could kill brands.
The importance of Gen Z in the marketing industry is that Gen Z are currently the power that drives consumerism during these current times. In most markets, especially fashion and technology, Gen Z have the highest purchasing power in these markets despite their lower than average income.
However, the problem that arises with the Gen Z market is that Gen Z are difficult to please. Due to the fact that Gen Z are tech savvy, they tend to be picky with their choices, and would know the way to resell products on selling platforms when they purchase something. This creates an ecosystem where it creates a challenge for companies to target more people as the individuals that fit their criteria in segmentation are more willing to buy the products through a third party.
Thus, to keep up with the growing generation, many companies have applied four major strategies that could be summed up as followed:
1. The Power Micro-Influencers possess on social media platforms
If you have recently just watched the movie ‘Emily in Paris’, you are definitely shaken up by how
the protagonist, Emily managed to build her personal brand in a foreign country, France. Well of course, not to mention most of us were also quite surprised by how she managed to blend in with the French and also find multiple lovers in Paris.
Image via Thrillist
Jokes aside, Emily’s strategy when it comes to building up the good name of the firm she worked at and how she managed to go from 200 followers to a high engagement influencer with 22k followers in a short matter time is actually something that most businesses have been doing during the digital age of marketing.
A decade ago, if you were to tell a firm that their priority to drive promotion is to hire random people on the Internet to fully promote their products, they would have rolled eyes and ignored such statements. Nowadays, recruiting social media influencers to promote one’s products is so widely done that the majority of companies utilise such measures. The question imposed is why choose smaller influencers like Emily in the movie when you could easily pay more money to hire bigger influencers with a huge amount of following?
The truth is, engagement does not solely come from the amount of following alone. An influencer who has 20k followers on Instagram could easily be more valuable than someone with 200k followers on Instagram as long as they have followers who are willing to engage, and in turn lower the ROI. These Nano-influencers are one of the most effective social media marketing strategies out there as they are easily accessible, perceived to be more genuine due to the small following and highly relevant in their field.
Image via Markerly
As you can see in the media above, it has been researched that as followers increase overtime, likes and clicks on Instagram tend to decrease as the followers grow. This scenario is actually very common among big influencers as when they continue to expand, they would definitely pick up more brands to promote, in turn making their followers feel as if they are simply just doing their job to promote. In this case, if a brand were to provide them with products, their followers would only see it as “just another brand promotion”, causing low retention.
2. Why publicity stunts seem ‘cheap’ but are actually effective?
Image via Vulcan Post
This form of strategy may seem cheapskate at first but is actually something that could create a huge traction if done properly. In this fast-paced world, attention is all about creating waves that could attract people’s interest. The point of such a method is to create controversies and get conversations going.
Publicity stunts are one of the oldest but also one of the best ways to keep the topic going and be part of the public’s interests. Publicity students like placing a big statue in the middle of the city, having animated creatures walking around the subway or even creating a pizza emoji to order pizzas, just like what Domino’s Pizza did!
Image via Tatango
These types of highly exaggerated methods may sound absurd at first but are actually the way to grab the public's attention. Besides, one of the added advantages when using publicity stunts is to leverage technology. The deal here is to utilise technologies to its maximum by promoting these stunts so that individuals will be interested in the products that are ready to be introduced to the general market. Once these stunts have shown gradual success to the company, it is then critical to once again use technologies to ‘deliver’, which is to provide consumers the satisfaction that have been promised when these stunts were firstly introduced.
To integrate such a strategy and ensure that brand consumers do not feel sideways about this, it is important for companies to make small but constant changes over time. It is substandard for companies to consistently just pull off ‘publicity stunts’ as too much of such stunts would give a side effect of downgrading the value of the company. For brands to evolve to powerhouses, it is prudent for companies to avoid any sudden or drastic changes that could impact current loyal consumers. The purpose is to make changes from time to time by bearing in mind the long term consequences it has on a company.
3. How do the ‘in” brands actually make people queue for their products?
Image via Fupping
It is no doubt familiar that we have all seen images of people queuing up for brands at some point. In the past few years, the marketing area was so limited that it is rare to see people queuing up for clothes or products. The trick to these so-called ‘hypebeast’ brands pulling off such a feat is that these brands tend to make their products exclusive. Though exclusivity is not something new, it is definitely something to brag upon when incorporated with publicity stunts and mass social media promotions. If we observe cautiously, these brands tend to put a focus on consumer experience by going down and under to lend a hand to consumers.
For instance, during the hike of the COVID-19 pandemic, tech giants such as Microsoft, Twitter, Linkedin in the United States have provided financial aid to the government in the United States to find a cure. This kind of action gives more recognition to these brands as they add value to their corporate image, thus consumers who are loyal to these brands are willing to support them through the buyer-seller journey.
By making products exclusive in-stores, individuals would want to be the first to get their hands on the products, be it for its high resale value or for bragging rights. Owning a piece of a limited item is equivalent to adding prestige to one’s status. This is the reason why we see the majority of brands doing such exclusivity, with the aim to attract the crowd to their establishments. In fact, this trend of queuing up started with fashion and has now spread across industries like food and beverage, technologies and sometimes even motosport. If the brand doesn't have queues, people generally just don't want it.
4. Why are celebrities that valuable to businesses?
Image via grape
Unlike micro-influencers, celebrities are difficult to hire but if you are able to invite one, especially the mega-stars, you would have the best added advantage to your product line. Celebrities are basically references for their fans, if a celebrity endorses one thing, it would be most likely that their fans would follow their footsteps in this.
For instance, famous K-pop group BTS had their line of products in. When news hit the media, it immediately generated a wave of queues of individuals camping outside to get their hands on the latest products. This same scenario happened in July 2015 when Kanye West sold out his Adidas 350 Yeezy Boost in minutes, whether it was in the offline or online stores. News like this clearly highlights the benefits that macro-influencers or celebrities can bring to a brand, perhaps in some cases, they are able to resuscitate a brand that is dying to a brand that is thriving.
Celebrities are so valuable to the point where one endorsement could cost a firm a fortune, ranging from 1-3 million USD for A-listers. At the end of the day, we would come to think whether such a collaboration is necessary. However, it is hard to deny the impact these celebrities have on the brand itself. Things could go both ways but if things are done the right way, firms could be looking at an increase in sales and revenue as well as brand recognition. The factors behind this could be vast but it could be explained in a short example with the same concept behind why micro-influencers are leading the marketing industry currently.
In May 2019, an influencer with the name of Arianna Renee was criticised when she failed to sell more than 36 t-shirts to her 2 million Instagram followers. This shows that the amount of followers are not the baseline for the success of a promotion. It is merely due to the fact that Arianna probably had lower engagement, or she could not clearly understand what her followers actually want from her. This is also the reason why hiring celebrities could be risky as much as providing the chance of huge success.
It is paramount for companies to ensure that the ambassadors they hire for the brand, mega-influencers in this case, possess the same values that the companies have towards expressing their brands. Therefore, the safe method is for companies to execute studies before endorsing in celebrities and to be able to identify the market in which the celebrities could be useful. It’s like hiring a food celebrity to be the ambassador for a technological brand, stagnant response would be inevitable in cases like this.
Marketing strategies require a combination of creativity, persistence and adaptation as every business requires different strategies and it is the act to continuously try and explore that matters!
Every business needs different marketing strategies as different consumers might have different needs and their tastes are constantly changing. Therefore, companies must evolve, embrace the changes and constantly keep up with the types of products and services customers want. Target the right audiences and never hesitate to keep trying and exploring.
The added obstacle to such a challenging market is with the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic where many industries have been disrupted as a whole. Many companies tend to change their business operating styles and marketing strategies in order to cope with the current situation. Social media applications such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are widely used as one of the marketing platforms for most of the businesses nowadays. Hence, the amount of online businesses in 2020 have highly increased due to the current pandemic. This is where the execution of digital marketing is more important than ever.
These four major strategies here have been widely applied among many businesses since the start of the 21st century. As technology continues to develop, marketing strategies are also forced to follow into such innovation. It would only be rational for companies to do so as if they are reluctant to follow in their footsteps, they are faced with risks of being eliminated in the highly competitive market. The trick is to incorporate the high income level baby boomers hold, the rationality millennials have and the purchasing power but highly heedful attention Gen Z holds towards businesses.
With such being said, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any assistance in marketing and communication.
Image via Stevens & Tate Marketing