4 Strategies for Reaching Gen Z

How we've helped companies and universities authentically connect with the next generation.

Finding a way for your brand to resonate with the next generation can be tough. Gen Z being “digital natives” means that cutting through the clutter to capture a moment of their attention has never been more difficult. 

We’ve helped universities, associations, and corporations create innovative campaigns to authentically connect with Gen Z. Here are four tangible learnings we’ve gathered along the way that’ll help put your company on their radar:

Let your brand values resonate.

When you’re competing in the same space as the Googles and Amazons of the world, it may seem natural to try and highlight the ways your brand is similar. However, the next generation places a high value on authenticity. Instead of trying to go head-to-head with the brand giants, try to champion the things that are unique about your company and values. Your brand might be better aligned with a Gen Z’s values than some of the more widely known companies.

Our experience:

This was exactly the case when we worked with one of the nation’s leading financial institutions on a tech talent recruitment campaign. Our initial strategic discovery showed us that new grad talent is looking for an employer with values that align with their own and the opportunity for long-term career success.

So while we focused on growing awareness of this company as a potential employer, we made sure to emphasize all of the things that set them apart in the hiring process. By leveraging cultural benefits unique to a career at this institution, we were able to pique the interest of a new generation of tech-minded individuals—who are looking for the same level of professional development they would get at many big tech companies, without the culture of burnout and stress to go with it.

Meet them where they are.

The next generation can be an elusive crowd. Gen Z is more digitally connected than ever, but finding them in the vast Wild West of the internet can be a needle-and-haystack kind of tricky. Putting yourself in the mind of your audience is crucial here. 

What we did:

We learned a lot about how to reach Gen Z where they are when helping a Big 4 professional service firm recruit top talent. We found that, between school, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs, this group is always on the go. So we developed a short day-in-the-life podcast series featuring employees at the firm, which can neatly fit into Gen Z’s commute. Here’s a roundup of all of our learnings.

Strive for clarity at every Milestone

Clarity is table-stakes, but it can often be overlooked. Folks in this generation have more options than ever before when it comes to colleges to attend, careers to pursue, and organizations to join. So when marketing to them, any confusion around your company, values, roles, or responsibilities can cause Gen Z’ers to look in another direction.

A good first step is to create a journey map. A journey map is a visualization of key moments in a customer’s life for a specific period of time. Pinpointing these moments helps you see the optimal moment to reach them with your messaging. (Searching for more information on journey maps? Look no further). 

How we clarified:

When we worked with a professional services firm, we began organizing their value proposition for each of the three segments they were targeting for recruitment. For each segment, we developed a messaging matrix, creating clear and concise messaging to help guide a prospect at each milestone in their journey. Every touchpoint was an opportunity to clearly reinforce the benefits of a career at this institution.

Think bigger—reach their networks, too.

Sometimes you can reach your audience better by broadening your scope. Rather than narrowing in solely on Gen Z, take a look at their circles of influence. Parents, professors, and advisors play important roles in their lives—by generating awareness of your brand in their support system, they’ll be much more likely to adopt your message.

How we did it:

Vanderbilt University came to us when they were launching their new immersion program. They needed to communicate the program’s nuances and benefits to their target audiences. We developed personas for each audience (prospective and current students, parents, and staff and faculty advisors) and created a custom messaging matrix to spark excitement in each. Then, we built the program’s branding from scratch and equipped Vanderbilt with visual and communication assets for their launch.

Trying to reach Gen Z? Drop us a line.

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