Marketing to the Most Influential Consumers

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“Who is Gen Z?” a highly debated question among marketers yet no one can not define just yet. For Michelle Crossan, Vice President, Strategy and Transformation of Samsung Electronics America, Gen Z is the “generation that is going to save us.”

Gen Z is the generation calling on society to be their best self, more than any other generation ever has. It is the generation empowering each other, achieved through technology and social media, according to Experiential Marketing Lead of Instagram, Damien Baines. Gen Z is different than its predecessors but has so much buying power in the marketplace, $44 billion to be exact.

Both Instagram and Samsung have partnered with We’re Magnetic to execute experience-first marketing strategies to cater to their biggest, most authentic group of consumers.

“Gen Z has values they stand by,” said Crossan to Jessica Reznik, President of We’re Magnetic. This generation is digitally native, has a strong entrepreneurial sense and is collaborating with the world around them. Due to the way they grew up, they are not storytelling, they are “storyliving.”

“We have to live with them and learn with them so we can do our job better,” said Crossan.

Gen Z spends roughly two hours a day on YouTube yet much of the use is to educate themselves online and Samsung is tapping into this.

According to Crossan, there has been a big shift on Samsung’s marketing strategy due to their new, highly authentic and individualized consumers of Gen Z. Samsung has shifted from product economy to consumer economy, from electronics giant to the number one experience innovator. “We have to go to the next level with this new generation,” said Crossan.

Samsung’s brand purpose has always been defined by the people they serve. Their mission is “We make what others can’t, so you can do what you can.” Since the creation of the company 50 years ago, Samsung has consistently stayed aligned with their mission and created initiatives to get children, especially in underserved communities, into technology early on. “5G is the answer to the underserved community that we have today. We are going to be able to put technology in their hands,” said Crossan. 5G is transforming learning and creating content for upcoming innovators and entrepreneurs.

It is no surprise that Instagram is the most popular platform for Gen Z. “Instagram stands for expression, culture and community,” said Baines. From moments small to big, culture happens on Instagram. Still life comes to real life, especially with Instagram’s Experiential Marketing. In 2018, Instagram partnered with Es Devlin, a famous artist and set designer, to produce a piece about the history of storytelling, specifically on Instagram, called “Storyscape.”  Starting with cave drawings and then to overlapping Instagram Stories, the piece showed the power of humanity catered directly to the new generation of consumers.

With the help of We’re Magnetic, both Instagram and Samsung are leading the pack in catering to the most influential consumers, with the same objective: authenticity. Authenticity is the number one characteristic a brand could have when marketing to Gen Z. Due to the individual identity in this generation, a brand has to constantly evolve, stay authentic, and listen to what Gen Z has to say because “you can’t fake it.” To be the brand of the future is to really understand Gen Z.

Click to watch the whole presentation on the Advertising Week New York 2019 event site.

Photos: Shutterstock / Advertising Week

Madeleine Beck

Writer at Advertising Week
Madeleine is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, majoring in Strategic Communications with minors in Business and Digital Studies. After college, she hopes to start a career in advertising. Madeleine is very excited for the opportunity at Advertising Week New York!
Madeleine Beck

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