Marketing to Gen Z

As Generation Z reaches ages where they have large collective purchasing power, brands are having to listen to these customers and rethink decades-old traditions. Take Victoria’s Secret as an example — the brand recently announced that they are doing away with its iconic Angels and are now using the VS Collective made up of influential women to represent their brand. After years of coming under fire for use of models who don’t represent most women, including their own customers, Victoria’s Secret finally listened and is changing its practices in favor of a more inclusive and representative strategy.


Generation Z


The oldest members of Gen Z, the generation born between roughly 1997 and 2012, turn 24 this year. Almost half of the generation is old enough to vote, but those younger than 18 aren’t letting that stop them from speaking their mind. Like the Millennial generation before, members of Gen Z lean progressive and are outspoken about their beliefs, especially on social media. We saw this exemplified in 2020 with the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement and the presidential election. Social media is important to the digital natives, and became even more so during the pandemic as large numbers of young people reported feeling increasingly lonely while quarantining. This generation is also on track to be the most educated generation in the nation yet. They are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to pursue secondary education than previous generations were at the same age.


Gen Z Marketing Strategy


So how do brands communicate with a generation that is highly educated, politically active, and fully understands the social media landscape? Listen to their concerns and desires. Gen Z is known to shop from brands that align with their own political and ethical stances. They also won’t shy away from holding brands accountable for failing to live up to their standards. Brands that are afraid of being “canceled” will get the message. If a company wants to connect with younger shoppers, they need to take their social responsibility seriously. And it can’t be for show — this generation won’t be fooled by performative social media posts and empty promises to promote diversity.

Companies that hope to win over Gen Z will also embrace the platforms that the generation uses most, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. TikTok is overwhelmingly used by younger people, especially those aged 16 to 24. Over the past year, brands have invested more into TikTok content creation. In fact, media company ATTN: has partnered with the app to create an entire studio for content creation, and will be working with companies such as Google, Geico, and MTV. 

As more and more of Generation Z reaches an age where they have serious purchasing power, brands will only have to work harder to please. Victoria’s Secret isn’t the first major company to rebrand for a more socially conscious generation, and it certainly won’t be the last. Is it too little too late for the brand, or will it have a second chance at life? Only time (and social media) will tell.

Are you thinking of doing a major rebrand, or just want to tweak your current marketing strategy? Reach out to our team and see how we can bring Brand New Ideas to life. Give us a call at (334) 446-6149.


Posted: Aug 23, 2021