Tag Archives: advertising

What does Gen Z Want from Brands Right Now?

“May you live in interesting times.” Is this a blessing or a curse? On the one hand, “interesting times” are full of action and movement (fun!), and of course some drama (not fun). On the other hand, “interesting times” means that we are not bored with a daily routine and our eyes are opened to different situations (fun and not fun).

This year is certainly a year of interesting times with the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc in the world. Businesses closed, schools closed, no graduations, proms, or commencement ceremonies, and the daily worry about contracting Covid-19. Now add the social upheaval about policing, riots, and confronting racism, and our stress levels ratchets up to a very high level!

What do consumers want to hear from companies and brands right now? And, specifically, what does Generation Z want to hear? A recent survey of younger consumers aged 13 – 25 revealed that these young people want to see brands make a difference and explain how they are protecting employees, as well as protecting consumers. Here are some of the findings about the type of communications and contents that Gen Z wants:

  • 88% – Brands should be communicating about Covid-19.
  • 59% – Want information about how brands are keeping employees safe and financially protected.
  • 47% – Want positive and uplifting stories.
  • 55% – Want information about how brands are helping local communities.
  • 48% – Want resources to help consumers like accessing mental and health support.
  • 59% – Brands should donate profits from consumer purchases to relief efforts.

Basically, Gen Z wants to see authentic and sincere statements. Gen Z wants to see that the brands they buy are working to give back to local communities.

What messages are important to you?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is their opinion about a brand’s responsibility to the consumers in today’s environment?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team identify three messages that they would like to see from a brand. Consider giving each team a different brand to focus on for the messages.
  3. Put the messages together and compare the results of each group.
  4. Show the research infographic: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/infographic-what-gen-z-wants-to-see-from-brands-during-a-pandemic/?utm_content=adoftheday&utm_source=postup&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FirstThingsFirst_Newsletter_200615054639&lyt_id=194931
  5. How closely does this match the students’ concerns?

Source: Ad Week

 

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Should Marketing Mention the Coronavirus?

Let’s face it – marketers are always on the lookout for new opportunities to sell products and services to consumers. This is true in bad times as in good. However, marketers must also be sensitive to what is happening in consumers’ lives and in the general marketplace. It is not wise (or ethical) to take advantage of someone’s suffering or fear in order to make a sale.

It can be tough though. Retail sales have been declining since March and had their largest drop in April as employees worked from home and stores and restaurants were shuttered. Shopping has also shifted from brick-and-mortar stores to online and ecommerce. People are nervous and anxious about their current situation, and about their future. They are also isolated at home and crave human connection. What should a marketer do?

This brings us back to basics: focus on the target market. What is the message the customers want to hear, need to hear, and will respond to positively? Messages should be calm and positive, not scaring to consumers. Stay with the basics of marketing principles: understand the customer, stay connected, alter the tone of messages, stick to the facts, and listen.

Stay connected with consumers. Be honest. Be safe.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is their opinion about marketers’ responsibility in times of crisis?
  2. Specifically for the coronavirus pandemic, should companies promote their goods and services by using a painful situation to their advantage?
  3. Show a video about marketing during crisis: https://youtu.be/vmEJZ08rBoM
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team research how various companies are addressing the coronavirus pandemic in their advertising and marketing. (Suggestions: Nike, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Tide, etc.)
  5. What is being done correctly? What should be changed?
  6. In teams, assign a product to the teams and have the students develop a marketing campaign that uses the pandemic in a way that shows a value to consumers.

Source: Ad Week; New York Times; other news sources

 

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Turn Bags into Eye-Catching Branding

Have you noticed that some businesses are getting rid of plastic bags? Or maybe you haven’t noticed because you are too busy figuring out how to store or get rid of your own growing plastic bag collection! The average family gains 60 plastic bags in four trips to the grocery store.

Make no mistake – plastic bags are indeed a problem for the environment. According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags and sacks are used annually in the U.S. And, according to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. consumers go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually, at an estimated $4 billion cost to retailers.  It’s not just the cost that raises eyebrows – plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris found most often in coastal cleanups.

However, only eight states ban single-use plastic bags; 14 other states have laws that protect the bags. Why so few bans? A combination of factors including deep-pockets of the chemical industry and the political influence of retailers and restaurants account for plastic bag sales of roughly $1.4 billion in the U.S. alone.

As a result of the widespread proliferation of bags, lawmakers across the U.S. are banning or considering banning single-use plastic bags. Replacements include reusable bags which can also provide retailers with a great opportunity to expand their brand awareness as well as lessen negative environmental impacts. This, of course, present marketers with a place to make an impact for the environment and the store brand.

What’s your favorite bag to carry?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Name stores that use their own bags instead of non-branded plastic bags.
  2. Plastic bag facts: https://conservingnow.com/plastic-bag-consumption-facts/
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a store that currently uses non-reusable plastic bags.
  4. Each team should next design a reusable shopping bag for these stores.
  5. Have each team present their design in class.
  6. Vote on the winners.

Source:  Ad Week; Conserving Now; Politico

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