Gen Z and Creator Marketing: What You Need To Know

For Gen Z, creators have become an integral part of their online journey, with 64% of American Gen Z consumers ‘feeling loyal’ to creators and influencers and 61% of Gen Z consumers reporting they regularly buy products that they’ve seen creators use and discuss on social media. 

Last month, Voxburner brought together industry experts and some of the hottest names shaping Gen Z culture today for our YMS L.A event. This year, we were joined by speakers from JBL, Adobe and Nascar for our panel on ‘Gen Z-ifying Your Brand’. We had an in-depth discussion on how each brand is evolving its marketing and brand strategies to win the hearts of Gen Z, and how they’re involving the voices of Gen Z in their decision-making processes. In this blog, we take a deeper look into the insights gauged around Gen Z creator marketing, also drawing from other sessions held along the way. Check out our top takeaways below:

1. Brands must be careful with who they partner with

Strategic partnerships are nothing new to brands. They’re helpful in allowing businesses to reach new audiences, attract new demographics and improve their brand awareness – but unfortunately, they don’t always go to plan. Panellist Ammar Mahmood touched on this during the session, noting how research was recently conducted around creator marketing that concluded ‘choosing the wrong creator was the second reason why people would unfollow a brand on social media’. For success with Gen Z, it’s imperative to do your research first. Remember that Gen Z are digital natives who spend most of their time online – and the ‘unfollow’ button is the most powerful tool for losing engagement in their world. 

2. Choose creator partnerships that look and feel natural

There’s nothing worse than a creator partnership that doesn’t feel authentic – and Gen Z will be the first to pick this up. This was touched upon in our session on How To Make Gen Z Fall In Love With Your Brand, by Headcount’s Chief of Staff Alex Epstein. Alex aptly said that ‘Gen Z can smell bullsh*t a mile off’ – and he’s right. Choose a creator that resonates with your brand and has a genuine liking for your product; anything else will seem inauthentic.

3. Partner with creators who are unafraid to be themselves

Ammar Mahmood of JBL discussed how it’s important to trust in your creators (once you’ve asserted they’re the right fit for the brand, of course…). Mahmood drew on JBL’s partnership with Doja Cat, a singer known for her catchy pop tunes and open creative expression. JBL partnered with Doja Cat as their newest brand ambassador, with Ammar noting JBL was drawn to Doja Cat because ‘she engages with consumers in a totally new way’. This partnership was a raging success – in fact, after Doja Cat posted a short TikTok of her holding a JBL product saying ‘Jibble, Jibble, Jibble’ (a sort-of translation for JBL) from her dressing room at the Grammys, the brand saw two years worth of social engagement in a mere three days.

4. Disseminate your creator content from multiple platforms

Gen Z are turning their attention away from television screens – in fact, they’re spending most of their time online. This is important to remember when you’re deciding where to disseminate your creator content; as Brooks Deaton from Nascar noted, ‘prioritise advertising on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram’ to truly capture Gen Z audiences.

5. If you’re advocating around a specific topic, choose creators that reflect these values

During the YMS Gen Z panel, we discussed how brands broach certain topics, such as wellness and mental health. Panellist Zofia Kierner, the Founder & CEO of Girls Future Ready Foundation discussed Selena Gomez’s work with the company Rare Beauty, noting Gomez is a great advocate for their partner charity The Rare Impact Fund (which currently donates 1% of Rare Beauty’s profits to mental health charities). Selena Gomez is transparent about her own mental health issues – and with a primarily Gen Z fanbase, is a great advocate for this brand.

Voxburner’s Head of Events Olivia Newman writes:

“With Gen Z shaking up the world, it was so interesting to hear how leading brands like JBL, Adobe and NASCAR have taken note and evolved their marketing and brand strategies to better connect with the next generation. Doing what you were doing before won’t cut it and whether it’s through personalisation, creator partnerships or how they’re involving the voice of Gen Z in their decision-making processes, these brands are great examples of marketing teams leading the way to “Gen Z-ify” their brands.”

The full sessions will soon be available to watch on demand on Voxburner+. Not a subscriber? Join our Youth Marketing Community today.

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