5 Foundational Truths of Generation Z Marketing


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Written by Gregg Witt, Partner and chief strategy officer, Engage Youth Co. 

When it comes to building brands and consumer audiences, there are several ‘truths’ that ring true over and over again. We’ve distilled these down to five foundational guideposts that we refer to when working with brands. In fact, we apply these Truths to everything we do, because they lay the foundation for how we think and act long before even starting to plot a strategy or put a marketing programme into action.

The Truths are simple. You will have seen them before, but you might not have considered how they build upon each other, creating a linear, practical way to tune in and build credibility with youth culture. Don’t be fooled by the Truths’ simplicity – the magic is in their application.

Here are the five foundational truths of youth marketing:

1.Identity: Define and position your brand in ways that contribute to youth culture. The brand stories should be unique, audience relevant, and something Gen Z can and wants to participate in.

2. Trust: Be trustworthy, dependable, and earn the respect of youth culture. Transparent business practices, consistency and reliability are the actions needed for Gen Z to consider you an ally.

3. Relevance: Know what matters within youth culture, and actively forge relationships that deepen the connection. Deliver on what Gen Z needs and wants, when and where they expect it, and make them look cool in the process.

4. Possibility: Determine what you can uniquely offer that opens up the realms of possibility for Gen Z. How can your brand inspire young people to define themselves, to reach beyond the present and yearn for the future?

5. Experience: Create positive and meaningful experiences that connect your brand with the broader stories in youth culture. Deliver unique and memorable experiences across channels that contribute to the overall experiences of this generation all its manifestations.

These foundational youth market Truths are the starting point for understanding and defining your relationship with any audience; however, they are particularly relevant to guiding youth-focused initiatives, because they acknowledge how Gen Z connects with brands.

Yet we rarely find that all of them are well executed, or even practiced together in one harmonious approach. If you want to be relevant to Gen Z, build these Truths into your own process, so that you can leverage your unique differentiators, learn how to communicate them effectively to your audience and stay firmly cemented in the realities of youth culture.

This post is an excerpt from “The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In and Build Credibility,” now available in paperback and e-book from Amazon and other retailers.

About Gregg

Gregg L. Witt is a renowned youth marketing strategist and generational expert, author and public speaker. He has spent 17 years in consumer insights, media and youth marketing—including holding the role of Partner and chief strategy officer, Engage Youth Co. Witt provides authentic insights-driven strategies, creative leadership, and oversees social media activation for leading companies such as: Advocates for Youth, Autodesk Education, Awesomeness TV, Bravo Sports, The College Board, FunnyOrDie, Glaceau Vitamin Water, HBO, Nitro Circus, Nissan, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Qualcomm and Walt Disney World. He was named a “Top 5 Youth Marketer to Follow” by Inc. in 2016 and has also been featured in Forbes and Fortune. 

Connect with Gregg L. Witt on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @thinkwithwitt