Reaching Gen Z

This article was originally published in PQ 44.

The oldest members of Gen Z (the generation born from 1997- 2012) are entering the workforce. They are getting their first apartment, first car and buying their own groceries. This generation grew up during an economic recession, as well as a global pandemic. They are focused on saving money, value authenticity and are independently themselves. According to Pew Research, Gen Zers are also more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations. They are well-educated and digital natives—having never seen a world before smartphones.
To reach them, Total Retail states the marketing message must be short, concise and inclusive. Successful campaigns are mobile first and tap into Gen Z’s need for authenticity. As digital natives, social media is the ideal way to engage with this still emerging customer, but it must be on their preferred platforms and delivered in a genuine way. 
Creating a successful marketing campaign isn’t easy, but it can be done. Spotify’s annual Wrapped campaign is a perfect example. The company created an annual playlist personalized to each user of their most played songs, delivered within the Spotify app. The report gave users a time capsule, an Instagram story and an identity marker all rolled into one. A new feature in 2020 showed if the listener fell within the top 1%, 0.5% or even 0.05% of an artist’s listeners, showing them as an authentic super fan.
NPB Invites Gen Z to the Table
In FY21, the National Peanut Board (NPB) created their first marketing campaign targeting Gen Z, as well as young millennials. The campaign used influencers and media partners with a Gen Z audience to be an authentic voice. In addition, the campaign was hosted on mobile, where Gen Z lives, within the social media platforms of Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. The messaging—“Grow It Yourself”—resonated with the fiercely independent generation, as they could choose how and where to engage. They could grow peanuts in real life with a beloved ‘plantfluencer’ through our sharable greetings or grow a virtual peanut on TikTok. For Gen Z’s who are passionate gamers or watch game streaming, our third activation showcases the differences between real farming and virtual farming games in a ‘flip’ with a trusted YouTube creator team.
Today more than ever marketing tactics are changing quickly. Each year, NPB creates a platform and develops several activations within that platform to drive our messaging home while staying flexible enough to take advantage of current trends.
Engaging Gen Z with “Peanut Better Together”
Young generations at this stage are always giving older generataions the side eye. In FY22, NPB will continue to make inroads with Gen Z by tapping into their independent natures and authentically showing how much they need to learn from—and teach—their elders. We’ll introduce the new generation to some old favorite peanut and peanut butter combos, and the older generation to some new favorites. 

Titled "Peanut Better Together," the ‘22 platform shows that ‘weird’ peanut and peanut-butter combos aren’t weird at all. Sweet, salty, nutty and savory, peanuts and peanut butter enhance everything no matter your age. Peanuts and peanut butter are America’s worst-kept secret ingredients to keeping it interesting. And everything can be better together, especially when it includes peanuts and peanut butter. 
Mitnick, K. (2021, March 3). 3 brands getting Gen Z marketing right. Total Retail.
Parker, K., & Igielnik, R. (2021, July 14). What we know about Gen Z so far. Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project. 
Young, H. (2021, May 14). Millennials vs. Gen Z: How are they different? The 360 Blog from Salesforce. 

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