The YMCrew continues to grow, and we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to meet our fantastic team members. Thanks to our permanent remote work structure, our wonderful team of talented individuals is based all across the country. Today, let’s meet Delaney Mills!

Introduce yourself! Who are you, and what do you do at YMC?

Hi, I’m Delaney. I’m a Program Strategist at YMC.

How long have you been at YMC?

I have been at YMC for almost two months now. I started in March 2022.

What programs have you worked on during your time at YMC?

I’m currently working on the Samsung College Program for the Fall semester.

What school did you attend?

I graduated from Temple University in May 2021. I loved it so much and hope to move back to Philadelphia one day!

How do you like spending your free time?

I love spending my free time just unwinding from the week. Usually, on the weekends, I’m just driving around, listening to Taylor Swift, going shopping, and eating good food!

What experiences in your life have set you up for success in your career?

The experience that I will always be the most appreciative of is my time as President at Her Campus at Temple. Through that experience, I learned how to build genuine connections with my peers, which has helped a lot in recruiting at YMC!

Any tips for aspiring #YMCrew members?

The best advice I would give to anyone is to be a good person and love what you do. If you go into experiences with a good attitude, good things will come back to you!

What about you might surprise people?

I’m pretty introverted. You might not get that just from speaking to me because I’m outgoing when I’m around people, but I love my alone time!

YMC’s interns work closely with our team, learning about marketing to Gen-Z and Millenials from many different angles. Our Summer 2021 intern, Kelsey Thorpe, is a rising senior at American University, majoring in French Studies. Check out Kelsey’s take on making your next campaign on campus a total success!

Potential for Campus Events

As college students prepare to return to campus after over a year of virtual classes, there will be many opportunities for brands and organizations to promote themselves to a broad audience and spread brand awareness. Most college students are tired of learning and socializing in an online environment, so their return to campus presents an opportunity to harness the college students’ excitement for in-person experiences.

Engagement is Essential

Events are one of the most engaging and fun ways to spread brand awareness. A perfect example of this is Maybelline’s College Campus Pop-Up Tour. YMC worked directly with its campus partners to host a Maybelline experience in high traffic areas of campus that allowed students to experience and sample their products. They were able to distribute retail coupons and hand out over 23,000 free samples to students.

It’s also important to consider that students are more likely to stop and chat or even engage on social media if they hear about your brand through other students. This is where campus ambassadors come in. Having students help promote and market your brand will help you gain more traction, as they have the best insight into what’s happening on campus and can easily tap into different student groups. You can also build out gifting campaigns utilizing college student ambassadors and influencers to boost UGC. Makeup brands, like e.l.f. Cosmetics use this strategy to showcase their products by giving TikTok and Instagram influencers products to use on their social media channels. Word-of-mouth is one of the easiest ways to tell students about your brand, so creating fans is much more efficient and impactful with their help.  

Instagram and TikTok Takeover

Instagram has been and will continue to be one of the most popular social media platforms for college students, but now TikTok has proven to be just as influential. It’s no surprise that social media use has increased significantly over the past year—it’s the easiest way to stay connected to your peers during the pandemic. 

Insta-graphics that are cute, eye-catching, and shareable are an easy way to promote your brand. Posting stories is easy, and students are much more likely to share a story than a post in-feed. Another great option for utilizing social media is a TikTok challenge. TikTok is continuing to gain popularity, and many of its users participate in TikTok challenges. We’ve seen brands like Kate Spade New York succeed on TikTok by creating the #katespadenyhappydance challenge, in which they used ambassadors to promote their brand and, in turn, increased engagement from Tiktok users.  

Make Your Mark on Campus

Experiential events and campus ambassadors are a very effective way of grabbing the attention of college students, showcasing your brand, and making a lasting impression on a college campus! Gen-Z students are craving experiences, and holding a memorable event on college campuses will be guaranteed to make an impression. Google embarked on a pop-up tour to showcase their Chromebooks and Chrome browser. Students and faculty were able to check out Chromebooks for multi-day trials, which created a lot of buzz around their product and brand. Leaving a lasting impression will keep students talking about your brand for years to come and give your company the chance to cultivate loyal fans. 

How Can YMC Help?

If you’re interested in developing a campus ambassador program, creating brand experiences and events on college campuses, or optimizing your social media presence to reach new customers, we’re here to help. At YMC, we specialize in connecting brands with Gen-Z and Millennial consumers, and we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!

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!