Want to appeal to Gen Z? Why not just ask them for their help? These 4 brands are doing just that to make sure they don’t miss the mark with their marketing and products…
Listening to your customers may seem like a fundamental rule, but ill-fated ideas often ring out loudest in corporate echo chambers. Almost every week of our viral list proves just that, with scandals like Snapchat’s redesign leading the headlines. The teen-beloved social media platform’s reputation suffered when they refused to listen to users who demanded they change the app back. Meanwhile, Reddit did it right when they looked to users, not advertisers, to redesign their site. They planned out the cleaned-up but “not perfect” new site for over a year, adjusting design based on testing groups and Alpha tester feedback, according to Inc., and then initiated a slow rollout. And if Reddit users still hate the redesign? Everyone has the option to opt out and revert to the “legacy” site.
Reddit’s successful redesign goes to show that one way to show young consumers you’re listening to them is by asking for their help. And while we’ve seen brands co-creating their futures with Millennials for years, now Gen Z is being tapped for inspiration as well. Whether it’s for a redesign, a product launch, or a marketing campaign, turning to the demo you want to appeal to for help not only shows that you’re listening to teens just like them, it creates content and products that seem authentic. In In fact, 88% of 13-20-year-olds tell YPulse they think brands should get consumers like them to give their opinions on products before they create them. The entire marketing world may get a headache when they hear the universally-applied buzzword “authenticity,” but it’s buzzworthy for a reason: young consumers won’t just buy brands that they feel “get” them, but they’ll build Brandoms around them, repping apparel from QSR and CPG brands alike.
With that in mind, here are 4 brands ranging from fashion to food that have gone straight to Gen Z to ask for their help in winning over young demos:
American Eagle’s Spring ’19 campaign was shot by teens, on their iPhones. The brand scoured social media posts hash tagged #AExMe to find talented Gen Z creators to hand over the advertising reigns to. Those who were selected had the opportunity to style themselves with their favorite American Eagle pieces and shoot ads they would want to see, according to Adweek. The campaign also showcased how diverse Gen Z is, with one creator saying they had the opportunity to show that “brown women and LGBTQ+ members…can be represented commercially.”
Kashi turned to Gen Z kids for “every aspect” of their latest product. Food Navigator reports that the brand known for granola has a secret weapon: their “Kashi Crew,” a group of kids that have helped them launch their “Kashi by Kids” line. Most recently, they’re bringing “Super Food Bites” to shelves, an organic and peanut-free snack packed with protein and fiber. So far, the collab with the young demo has also developed three new cereals in addition to this snack—and all cater to health-conscious young shoppers.
At 9-years-old, Sienna became Lego’s first ever kid designer after winning their Lego Friends design contest. Mashable reports that she won the competition with her playground creation, which she made from her own Lego pieces put together from different sets. The design is complete with a rock-climbing wall, a swing set, and a miniature version of herself—and her grandma’s dog, Pippa. At Lego HQ, Sienna had the chance to bring her creation to Lego life, and the design is now on sale worldwide.
Froot Loops launched a fashion line, with the help of aspiring young designers. Fast Company reports that the sugary cereal is tugging at young consumers’ heart (and purse) strings with a collection of sneakers, apparel, and accessories featuring designs crowdsourced from over 700 contributors. AwaytoMars collaborated on the call-to-action contest from Kellogg’s early last year to create the line, according to MediaPost. The winners’ submissions were then turned into a colorful collection that launched at the end of last Summer. And this isn’t the first time the food industry giant catered to Brandoms, previously collaborating with AwaytoMars for Tony the Tiger ties and Pop-Tarts tees.
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