Tag Archives: Communication

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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Peloton’s Holiday Ad: The Peloton Wife

 

It must be the time of year for controversial advertising campaigns. Earlier this month we wrote about South Dakota’s “Meth. I’m on it.” campaign, which provoked many people to post their reactions on social media. The “Meth. I’m on it.” campaign was designed to focus attention on combatting the prevalence of meth in South Dakota and starting conversations about the problems of meth addiction.b

But now, with a seemingly straightforward advertising campaign, Peloton has entered the social media collective consciousness and has generated a lot of negative buzz. The company’s new holiday campaign features a woman receiving a Peloton bike for Christmas, and chronicles her experience over the next year.

At first glance, the ad shows a lovely holiday scene of a husband giving his wife an exercise bike for Christmas. However, viewers quickly made their negative opinions known on social media, criticizing the company for being sexist as well as being elitist. The wife is thin and attractive; the house looks large and luxurious. (A Peloton bike is priced at $2,245, plus a monthly video subscription for interactive classes at an additional $39/month.)

Peloton has stated it stands by the ad and that it hears regularly from customers about how the bike has changed their lives for the better. The actors also stated that the commercial was a very positive experience, despite the pushback from social media. So why the criticism? And what should happen when a company offends people?

One company that quickly followed up on the controversy was Aviation Gin, owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. The same actress was cast in a humorous commercial that seemed to show her a little shell-shocked after the first commercial and in need of a little relaxation.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Show the Peloton Website: https://www.onepeloton.com/
  3. Show the original ‘peloton Wife’ video: https://youtu.be/pShKu2icEYw
  4. What are the students’ opinions? Have the students use their phones and devices to search for commentary about the campaign online.
  5. Next, show the same actress in the Aviation Gin commercial: https://youtu.be/H2t7lknrK28
  6. What are student’s opinions about this ad and message?
  7. How does this ad play off the original ad?

Source:  Advertising Week; Bloomberg News; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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