Page 15 - Winter 2019
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        Winter 2018/19
 influencers and that 10 percent of them follow 50 or more. Nessel, who previously worked in brand management and marketing for leading consumer brands and now writes about Gen Z on her website, says that this popularity of influencer marketing has already flipped advertising on its head.
“Many brands are chasing consumers from channel to channel,” she says. “Other brands are repositioning themselves to have stronger appeal to young consumers.”
Nessel believes the latter is the wiser strategy, adding that a brand’s positioning needs to be solid yet clearly segmented among the very different-aged consumers. She points to Ralph Lauren’s recent clothing collaboration with London-based skate brand Palace as a prime example of reaching younger consumers without diluting the iconic brand
of Ralph Lauren. While the collaboration
gave Palace access to Ralph Lauren’s huge audience, it also brought Ralph closer to the
The good news for brands learning new ways to connect with a younger audience is that this audience is more interested in them than the millennial generation just ahead of them is.
youthful street-wear segment.
Nessel has worked with clients ranging
from the Chicago White Sox to Aldo shoes to Nissan. No matter the client or the industry, all want to know what their future consumers look like—what they will wear and drive, where they will work, and how they want to communicate with a brand and with each other.
“A frequent question I ask Gen Z in focus groups is, How would you like to interact with this product?” Nessel
explains. “Often brands are surprised to hear that Gen Z demonstrates some more traditional qualities than we’d expect. For example, many want some face-to-face communication in a work or school setting, and many express the need to have control over information that is fed to them.”
The good news for brands learning new ways to connect with a younger audience
is that this audience is more interested in them than the millennial generation just ahead of them is. The study by the Center for Generational Kinetics uncovered that 73 percent of Gen Zers follow at least one brand on social media, compared to 64 percent of millennials. In fact, 52 percent follow three brands or more. On the other hand, Nessel reports that Gen Z has caught on to the dangers of sharing too much information, and they are thus more concerned about data privacy, meaning brands must strike a balance between overtness and subtlety.
Supreme — The American skateboarding shop and countercultural clothing brand started in New York City in 1994. Nessel says they do a solid job positioning themselves as unattainable and high-end with their “drop strategy,” which involves releasing their
latest offerings on a given Thursday in very limited quantities. Lines for the store stretch around the block.
Lululemon — Viewed for many years as a women’s- only yoga brand, Nessel says Lulu has bolstered its following with young male followers in recent years, while remaining strong with young women. Gen Z’s affinity for living a fit lifestyle and eating right also aligns well with Lululemon’s athleisure attitude.
Gucci – Off the back of its popularity with rappers, Nessel says Gucci has regained popularity with Generation Z, who likes old-school logos. The brand also aligns with celebrities from modest backgrounds to identify with young people, despite the fact they need to save mightily to afford it.
Patagonia — Teens make purchase decisions based on company ethics, which is a major reason Gen Z likes this maker
of outdoor clothing and gear. Patagonia donates
1 percent of its sales to
the preservation of the environment. “It’s admired for being altruistic and of high quality, if you’re willing to pay for it,” Nessel says.
Looking for a few examples of brands that are communicating effectively with the youngsters? We asked Nancy Nessel to share four brands that she believes
“get” Generation Z. Here’s her list.

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