In the latest installment of our series focused on the impact social media and cultural influences have on brand communications, we chatted with Marguerite Lengereau, Strategic Planner at Ogilvy Paris, on marketing to digital-native audiences.
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?
These audiences are born digital and have high expectations in terms of content and user experience.
Platforms are no longer chosen solely based on their reach and KPI’s, but because of how well they match the habits of a generation that was born scrolling:
They are looking for ultra-personal content that quickly immerses them in one’s world / universe: and here comes TikTok which democratized the “shot with mobile” across all the other platforms making it easy to become a creator and therefore to share one’s own universe.
They want embodied content, getting their information from familiar faces, and that's the great strength of Instagram, the HQ of influencers.
This is a generation that puts the voice and music back on the map, so we're going to favour podcasts, Spotify and the new kid on the block, Threads.
They like to share their imagination with as many people as possible, which is where Snapchat comes in, with its AI filters as a source of entertainment.
And last but not least, gaming is now part of pop culture and no longer a nerd thing, and that's where Twitch comes in.
And when it comes to format, TikTok has laid down the law spreading it to other platforms: video formats often shot on smartphones, with a fast pace that grabs attention from the very first seconds.
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?
We are facing a generation that is blurring the lines of customer relations in two manners.
First, the need for closeness. While social networks bring individuals closer together, they also create an inter-personal link between a brand and its audience.
They are looking for a "one to one" relationship, a unique and very personal link with brands that are much more integrated into their daily lives via social networks. Brands should not talk to them but exchange, build, interact with them. They need to feel that they are talking to a human being and not a brand, and they are more aware than ever of the importance and role of the community manager and expect him or her to play an essential role in their daily lives.
Secondly, the need for truth. We can no longer only adapt our messages, we have to change the entire speech, be transparent, and clear about our purpose and our commitments in a conversational feed that doesn't give the impression that we're constantly justifying ourselves, but that we're fuelling interactions.
While previous generations were used to very "top-down" advertising messages, the younger generation forms a quick, informed and clear-cut opinion of a brand on the basis of what it says.
What role does culture, sustainability and social responsibility play in your brand's communications strategy for engaging with younger demographics?
Constantly bombarded by messages on social and climate issues, younger consumers are very sensitive to these questions and expect brands to take a stand on these issues and provide a solution to the constant feeling of guilty pleasure and the tug-of-war between the desire to indulge and the impact on society and the environment.
Their vision today is Manichean: professionals in "fact checking" because they follow numerous sources of information on the networks, they quickly categorize brands as good or bad depending on their messages on these social issues.
Young people believe that if a brand wants to have legitimacy on one subject, it must do the same on all the others: you can't address global warming if you treat your employees badly.
So a brand needs to take on the role of mediator on these issues: explaining its actions and commitments in a simple and educational way, having the humility to admit that it is trying but not necessarily succeeding, to facilitate interaction with the younger generation and ensure the transparency of discourse so dear to Gen Z.
In what ways are do you utilize user-generated content and interactive experiences to connect with younger consumers on a more personal level?
UGC is a win-win contract for a brand.
It rewards the community by highlighting the creativity and passion of audiences, while maintaining and developing the sense of community around the brand. And so continue to build a personal relationship between the consumer and the brand.
And this is an excellent shield for a brand: protection against a negative image, proof of quality or interest, a means of legitimizing the discourse and giving it credibility.