Advocacy has become a fundamental part of the consumer buying journey. This shift has changed the way agencies advise brands on communicating and engaging with modern audiences. Carola Bracci, Head of Social at Ogilvy Italy, weighs in on their integrated framework for resonating with younger generations.
In what ways are you leveraging new platforms and technologies to engage and resonate with the digital-native nature of Generation Z and younger consumers? Further, what channels and formats are you prioritizing and how are you adapting your content for these platforms?
First of all, the consumer's path to purchase is no longer linear: they move fluidly through messages and channels. Within this new framework, social media have the fundamental role of building and fueling an authentic relation with the brands’ target audiences. We need to understand who we are talking to: what are their interests? How can we entertain them? Where do they spend their time online? Looking at the platforms data, Generation Z spend most of their time on TikTok, Spotify and Twitch, all platforms that require high levels of attention. Indeed, data show that GenZers are willing to spend their time watching increasingly longer videos (93% of Generation Z watch over 20 minutes long videos according to a GWI study of 2022). These platforms are building their algorithm to prioritize longer and more immersive content – TikTok has recently increased the maximum length of its videos to 10 minutes to meet its audience expectation.
Adding it all up, today contents should be tailored for each target, aiming to entertain them also with longer format if it is to touch topics they care about, prioritizing first-screen and high level of attention social media.
How are you tailoring your messaging to align with the values and interests of modern consumers, and how does this differ from your approach with previous generations?
Younger generations are different: if Millennials follow social trends, GenZers set them, being creators themselves. TikTok has shifted the social media paradigm: its algorithm allows everyone to go viral purely thanks to the value of the contents they create, instead of media spending. This should be considered while tailoring messages for them, trying to understand what they like, what they believe in, and what can drive them to tie a deeper connection with a brand rather than just jumping onto trends or cultural moments that don’t fit with the brand personality or the target’s interest. They are no longer interested in following a brand just because all their peers do. They want to feel part of something bigger; they want to be heard for their unique point of view and want brands to deliver contents that resonate with it.
What role does culture, sustainability and social responsibility play in your brand's communications strategy for engaging with younger demographics?
Today’s consumers are interested in the added value a brand can give to their lives. Our brands’ communication strategies are shaped to understand which are the cultural references of the target audience and which are the brand’s affinity territories. A good comms strategy matches these two factors, developing messages that resonate with the target but are true to the brand. To make them buy a product we need to make them feel attracted by the brand itself; with younger demographics this means to feel understood; to feel that the brand is giving something back, something that enriches their knowledge and their point of view on life.
In what ways are do you utilize user-generated content and interactive experiences to connect with younger consumers on a more personal level?
Sharing UGCs and stimulating their creation is an important part of our brand strategies: the consideration phase is not linear anymore; users not only need to adhere to the same values framework of the brand they are about to purchase, but they also need to know the products they are buying work as expected. They need to form an opinion about the product before converting. An opinion that is influenced by other users or people they trust, such as influencers, and creators. This way, advocacy becomes an even more fundamental phase of the consumer journey: asking users to leave a review or share an experience on social media not only enhances the relation they have with the brand, but also fuels the decision making process of other users that are looking for true product reviews and experiences.
Can you share any examples of successful campaigns or collaborations with young influencers, organizations, or platforms that have helped shape your brand's communication approach for Generation Z and beyond?
We recently developed a Twitch social media campaign with Nutella Italia for an important celebration here in Italy: the Befana. In Italian folklore, the Befana is an old crone who delivers gifts to children on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5th), quite similarly to Santa Claus. Good kids receive a stocking full of candies, bad ones get only coal.
As Ogilvy Italy our starting point is that you are never too old for the things you love, being it to claim for a Befana stocking despite you’re no longer a teen, or becoming a streamer as a middle-aged mom.
The operation brought in the moms of three Twitch creators (JTaz, Dario Moccia and Pow3r) and challenged them to become streamers for a day. We wanted them to use GenZ language and thus giving rise to a fun live streaming with their sons. For the occasion, we also launched the first tailored Nutella Twitch emote, which the streamers and their moms asked the community to spam to unlock the Befana branded stocking.