Tag Archives: social responsibility

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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Handle With Care

You probably know this saying – “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And if ever the world needed new inventions, it’s now!

In this time of quarantine during the global Covid-19 pandemic, people around the world worry about infection on a daily basis. Even during stay-at-home restrictions, we still need to venture out to buy supplies. Routine trips to the stores usually involve the need to touch handles, and that make us worry about the transmission of virus via surfaces. Sure, we can wear gloves, but door-handles in public places can facilitate the spread of contagions.

Clean-energy company Fortum in Finland has created a new door-handle that can be used with arms (instead of germy hands). It is a door-handle supplement that attaches to existing door-handles and lets people open the door with a sleeved arm instead of a hand. Made of recycled plastic, Fortum Vipu is intended to help prevent the spread of disease. (The name ‘Vipu’ is short for ‘virus protection unit’.)

The devices are made from a recycled plastics material called Fortum Circo and are produced using 3D printing. The company is now testing the handles in a real retail environment in grocery stores in Finland. If all goes as planned, production can be quickly expanded. The data and feedback gained from the trial will be used to further the design and innovation of devices.

Inventions – keep it up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various concerns that students have about transmission of virus.
  2. What are the ways in which stores are combatting the spread of virus and ensuring the safety of customers?
  3. Show the video of the door-handle attachment: https://youtu.be/2fuTMAoli0g
  4. The Website can be viewed for more details: https://www.fortum.com/vipu/
  5. How can this device be used in other environments?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team brainstorm a solution to a common problem such as contaminated door-handles.
  7. Teams can also do research about other solutions to this problem.

Source: Ad Week

 

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