Published On: 28/05/20243.5 min read

When it comes to the media, Gen Z are a dichotomous bunch. On the one hand, they spend more time online than any other generation, while on the other, they are flocking to ‘dumb phones’ – basic mobiles without web connectivity – in a bid to be more present and escape data harvesting.

Marketing to Gen Z

This generation poses a unique challenge to marketeers when it comes to food and drink PR. Whereas Boomers can be reached almost exclusively by generating brand coverage in traditional media outlets, be that newspapers, magazines, TV or radio, Gen Z requires a omnichannel approach like never before.

Effective PR requires a deep understanding of their preferences, behaviours and values, and recognises that the medium can be as important as the message. We have crafted our topline take on how to reach Zoomers:

– Just like their Millennial forefathers, Gen Z are inspired by social media influencers far more than old-school style TV and movie celebrities. Mr Beast could walk past a Gen X-er in the street and they wouldn’t bat an eyelid in recognition. But should he pass one of his youthful 258M YouTube subscribers, he would be mobbed! G K Barry, who has amassed 3.5M followers on TikTok and has a wildly popular podcast, is another example of a huge ‘star’ in the influencer industry, but one who most people over 30 would struggle to identify in a line up. Any campaign targeting the ‘iGeneration’ should therefore consider having influencers at the heart of it.

– Be authentic. Authenticity has become a hot topic amongst younger generations, who grew up in an era of fake news and filters. According to a report by EY, Gen Z believe that authenticity is more important than any other personal value asked about, including spending time on things that will help their futures, independence, changing the world, and being rich and famous. They are not looking for perfect, they are looking for real. This goes some way to explain why YouTube and TikTok are very popular with this generation, as most of the content leans towards a rough and ready, unpolished format. From a brand PR perspective, it is therefore essential that you work with influencers that genuinely embody your brand values and are also a real fan.

– Don’t assume they only consume digital media. Gen Z swings between being fully immersed in tech, to wanting to totally unplug from the digital noise. Just as there is a rise in dumbphones, this generation is starting to turn to hard copies of books and magazines – ironic, when they are largely blamed for the demise of print media. In the US, a recent survey discovered that Gen Z can spend an hour a week reading magazines. This tends to be more niche publications, but it illustrates that if you find a publication that is very well aligned with your brand, then traditional media relations does still have a place.

– This generation craves interactive experiences rather than being passive observers, so consider ways to make brand-led comms more involved, whether that is through filters, personalisation, or quizzes.

– When it comes to social responsibility, Gen Z doesn’t mess around. They demand businesses and brands are environmentally and socially aware. Climate change and social inequality may be a hangover from their parents’ and grandparents’ behaviours, but this demographic are the ones that want to fix it. A study by McKinsey found that 70% of Gen Z consumers are willing to spend more on products and services from companies that are committed to being socially and environmentally responsible. Brands shouldn’t just pay lip service to this, they need to embody the ethical, environmental and social beliefs their target audience have and ensure they behave accordingly.

The above is just a brief look into the hearts and minds of this unique demographic. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to Gen Z and it is important to take a bespoke approach to ensure you engage effectively to build meaningful connections with this unique group.

If you are interested in discussing how to build a campaign aimed at this demographic, drop us a line at hello@stormcom.co.uk.