GenZers are fluent in a sort of visual vocabulary—a sophisticated short hand in their Snapchat-Instagram-Whisper-world that minimizes reading and maximizes their time. Millennials don’t read for many other reasons. They appear to be a little effort-challenged. (Can you tell I parent a GenZer and a Millennial?) Cereal sales are down because it is just too much work for this crowd. Cereal requires a bowl and spoon that must be cleaned and milk that must be purchased and consumed in a timely manner.
If Millennials won’t make time for cereal, odds are slim they are going to pay attention to your branding. Movie trailers, the consummate engagement branding, recently added a five second ad before the trailer, a micro-teaser.
Why? Because who has time for an entire movie trailer? Certainly Generation Z gets the most flack for being the picture-based cohort, but it’s a multi-generational epidemic. But studying these younger generational behaviors can teach us so much about how the rest of us are now consuming marketing and advertising communication. I mean, when was the last time you spent more than five seconds with a branding message?
Three things we can learn from Gen-Z:
1. Snack media is not just for the young, it’s for everyone. Make sure your brand creates a snack-size version of everything you produce. It is not an accident that a recent automotive commercial has drivers rating their cars with emojis only. Or that Boomers spend time on Facebook looking at pictures of one another’s grandchildren, consuming the content like a bag of chips.
2. Images need to be telegraphic. I am wincing as I write this: the quality of the image doesn’t matter as much as it once did. For a social post that exists for a miliminute, it is more important to be real and relevant than retouched. If someone won’t watch an entire movie trailer, they certainly are not scrutinizing your brand’s every image. Don’t be afraid to let your brand be more transparent and less staged. Remember visual subtly is lost on most audiences.
3. Work your words harder. Nuance. Humor. Clarity. Think bullet points. The days of “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them” are over. Make every word count. Brevity is the name of the game.
If your agency expects your customers to read anything longer than a blog post, you might want to rethink your strategy and your audience personas. Because as it turns out, there’s a little Z in all of us.