Marketing to an undefinable generation

Authenticity and customization are keys to brand loyalty

da India Fizer , AdForum

Laundry Service
Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
Brooklyn, Stati Uniti
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Cycle Media
Brooklyn, Stati Uniti
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Bea Iturregui
VP, Creator & Brand Partnerships Cycle
 

When strategizing brand communications to engage with GenZ, there is no one size fits all solution. Bea Iturregui, VP of Creator & Brand Partnerships at Cycle (the creator marketing practice within Laundry Service), speaks on resonating with younger audiences through authenticity, subcultures, user-generated content, and influencer/creator collaborations.

 

In what ways are you leveraging new platforms and technologies to engage and resonate with the digital-native nature of Generation Z and younger consumers? Further, what channels and formats are you prioritizing and how are you adapting your content for these platforms?

Gen Z is fluid and fragmented. They are an undefinable generation who champion authenticity and are unapologetically themselves. Gen Z sees the world through subcultures: smaller communities and spaces of people who share similar passions. Subcultures allow them to understand their place in the world. 

When it comes to platforms, there is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s no longer just a question of where you’re activating, but how you’re activating. No matter the platform, you want to make sure you’re showing up authentically to that space and community.

 

How are you tailoring your messaging to align with the values and interests of modern consumers, and how does this differ from your approach with previous generations?

Our content needs to be entertaining before anything else. Our messaging doesn’t have to be understood by everyone. In many instances, it’s an IYKYK situation, where proving you understand the subculture and the way they communicate drives brand loyalty and emotional connection. After all, no one thinks you’re cool if you tell them you’re cool. You need to show you are, implicitly.

Creators are key for brands trying to reach Gen Z. Collaborating with creators and experts within subcultures is a way to authentically join the conversation through a trusted voice. Give creators a seat at the table when it comes to creative and messaging; they know their audience best.

 

What role does culture, sustainability and social responsibility play in your brand's communications strategy for engaging with younger demographics?

Gen Z doesn’t believe mainstream culture exists, which is why mass marketing doesn’t resonate with them. They are a generation who feels pressure to stand out – different from generations before them, who felt pressure to fit in. 

We can’t be everything to everyone, so instead we focus on the audience and subcultures that make sense for the brand to tap into.

 

In what ways do you utilize user-generated content and interactive experiences to connect with younger consumers on a more personal level?

User-generated content is great for brands to engage with. Gone are the days of overly curated feeds, with many embracing the more lo-fi aesthetic – repurposing UGC to their feeds. We’re also encouraging our brands to engage more with UGC and show up in the comments. It shows the audience, “We see you and we care.”

We’re also finding opportunities for our brands to connect with consumers offline – through events, experiences and intimate gatherings. We want to give our consumers a way for them to interact with the brand beyond social and meet the people behind the brands.

 

Can you share any examples of successful campaigns or collaborations with young influencers, organizations, or platforms that have helped shape your brand's communication approach for Generation Z and beyond?

Co-creating briefs has proven to be extremely beneficial when partnering with our younger creators. They offer a unique perspective: they are natural creatives and entertainers, and they understand how to speak to their audience. Leaning into their expertise has been extremely successful for our brands. It proves they don’t need to be overly prescriptive and it’s okay to let go of the reins a little.