4 Ways to Reach Gen-Z IRL: The Power of Experiences

BY Darwin Apps

4 Ways to Reach Gen-Z IRL: The Power of Experiences

The newest generation of consumers isn’t messing around when it comes to making purchases. Gen-Z currently holds up to $143 billion in direct buying power, and they’re spending their money where it counts—on brands they love, trust, and want to share with others. 

So, how can brands capture the attention (and dig into the pockets) of Gen-Z? It’s easier than it seems. Simply do something different from the norm. Instead of targeting them with just another social media ad campaign, grab their attention in the real, physical world. 

Here are a few of the ways your brand can capitalize on IRL experiences…

Grab Gen-Z’s attention in an authentic way

During a typical day, the average American is exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads. As you can probably imagine, these ads eventually start to blur together. The constant influx of paid advertisements leaves Gen-Zers desiring real experiences and content that allows them to interact, engage, and come away with the feeling that they’ve bettered themselves and others. 

Brands can fulfill these desires with real-world experiences that grab Gen-Z’s attention in a way that feels unique and authentic when compared to the norm.

Create an experience that can be shared

Despite being the first generation born into a world where the internet already existed, Gen-Z tends to gravitate towards brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. But, they aren’t looking for the standard retail experience. Gen-Z wants brands to create collaborative and engaging moments that blur the lines between physical and digital. 

Your brand can meet these needs by crafting physical experiences that bring like-minded communities together. And, don’t forget to encourage the sharing of these physical experiences on digital platforms like social media. 

Aerie’s recent Camp Aerie mobile pop-up shop is a great example of a successful marriage between a physical experience and digitally-shareable moments. The popular clothing brand popped-up on select college campuses to give students the opportunity to shop their favorite Aerie pieces in person. At each pop-up event, students were encouraged to share their experiences on social media, which created a digital buzz.

Generate a feeling of exclusivity

Experiential marketing tactics, such as pop-up shops or interactive events, have proven to be very successful among the Gen-Z demographic. This is thanks, in part, to a specific feeling that many of these events elicit—exclusivity.

Pop-up shops and other physical brand activations are often designed to be temporary. The limited nature of an experiential event can create buzz and a sense of urgency among consumers. 

In other words, physical events have the power to make targeted consumers feel special. That exclusive feeling helps to foster trust, which creates brand advocates.

Create traditional, face-to-face relationships

Gen-Z is overwhelmed by choices. And why wouldn’t they be? With a plethora of brands and products to choose from, this generation tends to approach decisions in their own unique way. They lead with their emotions.

Research shows that 82% of consumers (Gen-Z included) buy from brands they feel emotionally connected to. And, people are equally as likely to share brands with their friends and family if they feel and emotional connection. This data demonstrates that brand/consumer relationships and trust are crucial to building brand loyalty and making sales. 

But, how exactly does a brand go about building strong connections and gaining trust from Gen-Z consumers? The answer lies in physical, authentic experiences.

Physical events provide brands with the opportunity to highlight how they align with their consumers’ lifestyles and values face-to-face. These real-world experiences feelings and behavioral responses that promote trust.

The takeaway

Gen-Z consumers crave authenticity and relationships—even from brands.

So, it’s important for brands to step outside the digital space to meet young consumers in person through immersive experiences.

To find success in the world of experiences, brands should give Gen-Z the opportunity to experience a pause from the everyday advertising norm they’re used to, encourage their participation and engagement in events, and make them feel special. Chances are, they’ll become loyal brand advocates. 

How can YMC help?

Want to step into the experiential marketing game? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!

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