Mike Czako, Group Creative Director/AD at David&Goliath, speaks on catering content to platform and leveraging user-generated content and influencer marketing to engage a younger audience.
When it comes to advertising on social media there is one thing that Gen Z hates — being advertised to on social media.
As advertising landscapes evolve, engaging with younger consumers requires innovative approaches that align with their digital-native nature, values, and interests. At David& Goliath we’re employing a variety of strategies for our brand partners to leverage new platforms, adapt content for specific channels, and create the type of work that resonates with both Gen Z and Generation Alpha.
In the realm of social media, the emphasis is on prioritizing platforms where this younger audience is — like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Creative content specifically tailored to each platform's format and culture is key. You can’t just take your broadcast commercial and run it on social media — you need to create content specifically for each individual platform. Short-form video content has continued to be a powerful tool, leveraging the popularity of concise videos to capture attention quickly. As opposed to creating longer-form content for an older demo, this approach caters to the shorter attention spans of younger audiences.
User-generated content (UGC) still plays a pivotal role in engaging a younger audience. We advise our brand partners to encourage user participation and content creation, fostering a sense of community through UGC campaigns. Interactive content is another avenue, utilizing features on social platforms to implement polls, quizzes, duets, stitches, and other elements for dynamic engagement. The goal is to find a way for this younger audience to lean in and take a more active/participatory role in their relationship with the brand.
Influencer marketing remains, well — influential. Collaborations with creators that prioritize authenticity and seamlessly integrate the brand into their content is paramount. We had a lot of success on Kia working with creators for the Super Bowl last year. We produced three alternative endings to our Super Bowl commercial, available exclusively on TikTok and also worked with three creators to craft their own unique extended storyline for our spot, which they posted on their channels. We worked with a variety of creators including young families, comedy creators, and even pet parents to engage a larger variety of audiences and lifestyles. Consumers could discover the endings organically on TikTok or through a QR code that we added to the end of our cinema-cut spot shown post-Super Bowl in theaters nationwide. The current view count for the alternate endings has exceeded 21.7MM, and our influencer content was well received by fans across TikTok driving 73% positive sentiment with over 20MM views. Our TikTok account also saw its follower count blossom by over 104%. And critically, buzz from our TikTok campaign successfully impacted prospects, driving a 230% increase in consumers searching for our vehicle on Cars.com.
Culture, sustainability, and social responsibility need to be deeply integrated into brands' communication strategies for engaging with a younger demographic. Genuine storytelling and transparent communication become crucial elements in resonating with younger consumers. Cultural relevance involves staying attuned to the ever-evolving youth culture and celebrating diversity in messaging. Crafting messages that represent a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and lifestyles is important when connecting with the socially conscious younger audience.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility also need to be communicated transparently, emphasizing eco-friendly practices and initiatives. Social responsibility takes the form of purpose-driven messaging, aligning with social causes through campaigns and strategic partnerships. For example, Kia is a leader in the category with their Accelerate the Good initiatives. From partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to customizing a Kia Sportage for Sea Turtle, Inc. (which helps baby sea turtles find their way home), to even collaborating with One Warm Coat to distribute coats to those in need. A word of advice — you have to be authentic. Kia’s tagline is Movement that inspires and giving back is a cornerstone of the brand. Authenticity is key if you want to build and foster a relationship with this younger demo.
In conclusion, successfully engaging with younger consumers involves a multifaceted approach that integrates the right platforms, aligns with modern values, and leverages user-generated content and interactive experiences. By staying agile, embracing technology, and actively involving users in the brand experience, advertisers can navigate the dynamic landscape of contemporary consumer engagement. Brands that join the conversation with authenticity, inclusivity, sustainability, and a sprinkle of humor are not just advertising; they're creating connections that resonate with the digital-native Generation Z.