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Branding and Culture Uncategorized

Zoomers and Boomers: Why Gen Z is Changing the Landscape for Brands

Generation Z; Overly-sensitive, vegan, social media obsessed and misunderstood. While Gen Z seems to have many (less than favourable) labels, are they really that different from the generations of youth before them? It’s nothing new for youth culture to influence trends and crazes, but Gen Z seems poised to shake up the system in-terms of, well, everything.  The question is no longer “how can my brand target my customers” but “how can my brand remain relevant in a market where consumers are unafraid to hold brands accountable?” 

Who are the Generation Z?   

Generation Z is self-proclaimed as perhaps the most misunderstood generation of all-time. Born during the mid 90’s and through to the mid to late 2000’s, the Gen Z cohort suffers from an unfortunately fuzzy delineation between generations. Most Zoomers have never known a world without the internet, mobile phones, and social media. While Millennials may roll their eyes at the younger generation feeling misunderstood, it’s impossible (and quite frankly reckless) to overlook how growing up with constant technological, societal, and political developments has moulded Gen Z as individuals and future consumers. 

Innovation, Innovation, Innovation 

Growing up with the internet for the entirety of their lives has meant Gen Z has experienced a non-stop barrage of technological innovation. This has provided them with access to more choices than ever before. As a result, Generation Z is more likely to spend money on brands that are innovative. Innovation remains a cornerstone in their purchasing desires whether it be technological, or design based. Brands who wish to successfully capitalise on the Gen Z market need to be prepared to push for innovation.

Convenience Culture 

A decrease in “from scratch” goods coupled with a prevalence of convenience product use by their Gen X parents is likely to heavily influence the purchase decisions of most Gen Zers. Fuelled undoubtedly by past generations and encouraged through social media, Gen Z feels an amplified pressure to achieve success at an early age, generating an increased appeal for convenience. They have grown to rely on convenience not only in terms of use, but in terms of delivery, attributes and even product messaging. 

Hidden Fears of Financial Insecurity 

Brand sensitive but not brand loyal, Gen Zers are likely to be somewhat conservative in where and what they decide to spend their money on. This is a consequence of growing up in uncertain financial times and witnessing the crippling debt of their Millennial predecessors. While some Gen Zers may respond with cautious investing and saving, others may choose to avoid arbitrary spending or unnecessary product purchases as an attempt to achieve long-term financial security. 

Enjoyment of Escapism 

Due in part to the helicopter trends of their parents, Gen Z slightly mirrors the pressures of previous generations, but with different stressors. This has led to a yearning for goods and services that cater to the idea of escapism. The allure of escapism has been facilitated and encouraged through advances in tech, which have provided 24/7 access to social media, greater mobility in devices, and video games with ever-advancing graphics and features. 

So how can you adapt your branding, messaging, and actions to assure they are meeting the needs of this influential generation as they enter and transform the buyer’s market? 

1. Widen Your Scope

Does your brand’s segmentation include Gen Z? Shifting your segmentation to include a younger audience is essential if you wish to remain relevant. Shifting to support a wider audience is not only beneficial for attracting Zoomers, but for entering newer and often more niche markets. Start by identifying brand elements that could be utilised to refresh your brand identity and messaging.

2. Be Picky

Small changes can be made by focusing on key brand assets and exploring ways to modernise them. Subtly elevating your brand to make it more contemporary will help your brand appeal to a younger audience without alienating your established base. Think edgy accent colours and font modifications. Brands may also want to reevaluate how their product stands out against others on the shelves. A packaging agency is a fantastic resource when it comes to modifying subtle design assets and elements of product packaging. 

3. Collaborate Consciously

For many brands, a complete rebrand is often too expensive. Collaborations are cost-effective and calculated actions that can often be more beneficial than a total redesign. Choosing to collaborate with brands and influencers that appeal to potential customers outside your normal target audience can have transformative effects. It is vital that collaborations be deliberate and conscious, with partners that share common values as well as aspirational ones.

4. Be Bold and Authentic

Gen Z is unapologetic about the values and ethics they expect from brands. It is essential that you communicate your brand’s values in a way that exemplifies them. Gen Z is very aware when brands use trends and other methods as marketing ploys, and they aren’t afraid to call out brands for bad behaviour. It’s vital that your brand expresses what is important to them, but it’s even more crucial that you mean it. 

Categories
Packaging Uncategorized

2020’s top 5 packaging copy trends

Packaging copy – that all-important but oft’ ignored unsung hero of packvertising is set to turn over a new leaf as cutie-pie copy dies a slow but much anticipated death.  The floor will be opened to new creative and relevant ways to engage audiences in the decade to come, and with ‘top design trends of 2020’ blogs in full swing, we thought it’s about time homage was paid to the messaging style and tone brands will be using in 2020.

Wacky copy is on it’s way out

And as on-pack copy everywhere starts to sound like a Frankensitinian patchwork of brands doing the exact same thing, consumers are calling out for something new.

When Innocent started the wackaging trend, it was new and different, personable packaging that doesn’t take itself too seriously replaced over-cluttered messaging that was hard to relate to.

But according to judges at the coveted D&AD Advertising Awards’ writing category, wacky copy can go one of two ways and can just as easily make you laugh as roll your eyes. It’s becoming harder to entertain consumers with whimsical words, and brands will need to work harder to create a wacky tone that truly stands out.

Clean and clear

Transparency is one of the most important drivers to purchase across all FMCG categories.  We care about what we put in our bodies, we also care about what we put out in the world. We care about where our goods come from and the carbon footprint they leave behind.

Functional, fit-for-purpose copy that tells it like it is will engage shoppers who want to know what they’re buying and make their decision quickly.

Across every category, shoppers are losing trust in verbose messaging claims and convoluted pack copy. Succinct, clear positioning and direct language will resonate with no-nonsense back-to-basics buyers – as design goes minimal, so will copy.

Toxic-free terms

There has been a lot of talk about moving towards a more inclusive place of communication, as a packaging agency in London, we pay particular attention to the way we communicate, hoping to avoid offending those advocating for ditching gendered language altogether. However where we lose gendered terms ‘she’, ‘hers’, ‘woman’, we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Brands will need to make a call on what their inclusivity sounds like, and where they stand on the binary-free spectrum.

The copy of 2020 will explore gender neutrality, with some brands opting to adopt gender free terms, while others decide their responsibility lies with those who identify as women or men.

That being said, future copy, while moving towards a more inclusive and responsible way of communicating, will faze out toxic terms which stereotype the behaviour of men or women into overly feminine or overly masculine categories, making room for androgynous wording which can say ‘her’ without referencing specifically how ‘she’ should look, or behave.

We’re in this together

Extinction rebellion has brought activism to our daily lives, commutes and news feeds. The emergence of young activists like Greta Thunberg, and that pensioner who glued her hand to a train carriage (only in London), shows that activism is a ‘trend’ which crosses genders, age groups and social classes. In a bid to attract a growing number of politically active consumers, brands will be adopting active language that resonated with informed and increasingly anti establishment audiences.

Nostalgia

In a world that changes faster than acceptable PC terms and classification for gender orientation, we are increasingly drawn to reminders of the good ‘ole days.

Nostalgia-rich packaging copy that reminds us of ‘proper communication’ with a nod to the sophisticated classes will replace colloquial heavy messaging – simply put, copy your nan would understand is in. And what better time for it to make a comeback than an era where the gap between the oldest and youngest generations is closing and where the silent generation has never been less silent.

‘New nostalgia’ offers authenticity, grounding and a familiar breath of fresh air after the 2019 ‘sumbro’ trend, which is thankfully (hopefully) over.