5 Things That Make Gen Z & Millennials Follow Brands on Social

Everyone knows that to reach Gen Z and Millennials a social media presence is a must—but what will actually get young consumers to follow a brand? We asked them…

Millennials and Gen Z may be notoriously ad-adverse and only loyal-ish when it comes to sticking with a brand, but there’s one way brands can snatch their attention—with a strong social media presence. Instagrammable social posts are currency in the world of young consumers who are swayed to engage by the most like-worthy shots, and with nearly half of 13-36-year-olds using an ad blocker (and even more ignoring marketing in whatever way they can), getting around the pitfalls of traditional advertising is key to a brand’s success, and social media is more likely to influence their purchases. In fact, when we asked young consumers to tell us the brands they follow on social media, just one third of respondents said they don’t follow any. That means the vast majority of Millennials and Gen Z are more than willing to engage with brands—they just want to do it on their own terms.

But more than being in control of the marketing that crosses their paths, young consumers want brands to treat them like friends—and create relevant content that fits seamlessly into their feeds. Just look at Nike. For years, the sports brand has been Millennials and Gen Z’s favorite fashion brand, the non-tech brand Millennials find the most innovative, and one of the brands young men and women alike say understand them best. While they’ve done this with great products, they’ve also mastered the art of effective social media, amassing a huge and engaged following with inspiring storytelling. As Kathleen Reidenbach, CCO, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants told us, "[Young consumers] want to get to know a brand—its values, personality, and style—and they want…


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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