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!

6 Tips for Planning a Pop Up Shop Tour

You’ve read up on the latest trends, received budget approval, and decided that a pop up shop tour will be a key part of your brand’s consumer marketing strategy. Step 1: DONE (congrats!)

Experiential marketing is an excellent way to develop a deeper connection with both new and existing customers. Pop-up tours allow you to take that brand experience on the road, vastly increasing the reach, engagement, and impact of your campaign. Like any large-scale marketing initiative, pop up shops require time, energy, and buy in, so it’s important to consider the following when kicking off a project:

Start planning now

From idea to execution, pop-up tours usually take 3 – 6 months to come to life (and that’s if you have the help of experienced partners and vendors). The size and scope of the tour is a key component to timeline. Other factors that impact timing include vehicle fabrication, experience development and production, stop selection, product sourcing, staffing, and promotion.

Choose the right type of pop-up vehicle

Pop-up structures come in all shapes and sizes. Vehicles can be loaned, leased or created from scratch based on available budget and intended length of use. The most popular styles include shipping containers, buses/vans, retro-fitted trailers or RVs, and custom structures.

Existing vehicles can save a lot of money upfront, but often come with large renovation budgets and ongoing maintenance costs. Custom fabrication builds allows the brand 100% control over the structure’s look, feel, finishes, and environment. If going in this direction, think about the cost of the pop-up vehicle as an investment that can be amortized over the length of the pop-up tour and beyond.

Google Chrome pop-up shop

Develop a cross-functional brand team

Like any experiential event, pop-up tours are a public representation of your brand. YMC’s most successful partners treat the pop-up as a “new store opening,” incorporating various department team members including store operations, visual, merchandising, product supply, marketing, and social. This cross-functional task force works together to align on strategy, development, and execution.

Select strategic locations

Cities, colleges, or, beach towns? When narrowing in on locations to pop up, think strategically about where your brand has a brick-and-mortar retail presence, the demographics of your target consumer, the time of year, and potentially weather impacts on your event experience.

Each type of location has a different process for contracting space, regulations around activation footprint size, and fees ranging from $500 to $10,000+ per day. Agency partners, like YMC, can help to navigate these waters based on years of experience and existing relationships with venues and colleges.

It’s also important to understand that the type of vehicle you build will impact the speed, mobility, and possible locations for the tour. Self-propelled or easily towed vehicles are the most flexible, while shipping containers are both costly and complicated to move around the country.

Design a memorable experience

The consumer experience is integral to the pop-up tour’s success. Beyond the environment inside the mobile vehicle, the outdoor event footprint needs to be designed and optimized for traffic flow, engagement, and most importantly, fun! Photo opp areas, music, food, lounge space, and DIY activities are key. Encourage user generated content by communicating a clear campaign message and utilizing on-site branding and signage with social calls-to-action and a hashtag.

Promote the pop up shop

It’s one thing to build the ultimate pop-up experience, but it’s another to promote and put a spotlight on your brand’s efforts! Build a comprehensive pre- and post-event media, promotion, and PR plan. Use this opportunity to show off what your brand team is up to by leveraging real-time social channels like Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Professional photographers and videographers are also key to capturing high quality content which can then be repurposed for future social, website, blog, or advertising needs.

Campus reps and street teams are incredibly effective at driving pre-event buzz and leveraging personal and local community networks. This on-site team also helps to drive walk by traffic to your pop-up experience on the day of the activation and engage consumers in a peer-to-peer manner.

Want more? Check out these blogs:

How can YMC help?

Looking to hit the road with a pop up shop but aren’t sure how to get started? 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!

Making Your Brand’s Pop-Up Shop a Success

Over the past few years, pop-up shop retail has become an increasingly popular trend among brands. These short-term spaces range from seasonal markets to consumer expos to event-specific stands. Temporary pop-ups can have a big impact—building interest in a product or service, increasing customer engagement, and generating impressive sales. But how exactly does one build the perfect pop-up experience?

Let the brand shine through.

Companies put a lot of time, thought, and energy into their branding—and with good reason! Having an instantly recognizable and attractive logo is key to strengthening brand awareness and enhancing brand loyalty. Use this to your advantage when creating your pop-up shop. Take the Adidas pop-up below as an example. There’s really no question as to what this installation is, and people can easily tell from far away who is hosting the pop-up shop. Job well done, Adidas!

Set up the perfect photo opp.

Millennials are all about “doin’ it for the gram.” Fulfill this desire by incorporating a totally photo-worthy spot in your pop-up. Recent crowd-pleaser The Museum of Ice Cream has room after room of photo ops, from a giant tub of sprinkles to a banana room complete with reflective wallpaper and swings. Take note!

Make it mobile.

While certain areas will attract traffic no matter the date/time (think L.A. or Times Square), a surefire way to spread the love with your pop-up is to turn it into a tour. Whether you decide to roll through different cities, set up shop on college campuses, or travel mall-to-mall, hitting the road will bring excited customers from around the country. A great example of such a pop-up is the Aerie Mobile Tour, which hits both cities and universities throughout the fall, winter, and spring. 

Include customization + exclusive deals.

One question customers ask themselves when considering attending a pop-up is, “Why should I go out of my way to come to this when I could just drive to my local store?” The answer: exclusivity. Feature limited edition items, offer product customization, or include exclusive deals/discounts to make the experience one-of-a-kind. YSL’s 2017 Lip Showroom boasted free engraving with any purchase. Who wouldn’t want to walk away with a custom lipstick that has their name on it?!

Give people something fun to do.

Browsing for clothes, looking at art installations, and listening to speakers or panelists are all great in their own way—but they can also get monotonous. Including games and DIY activities as part of the pop-up experience provides customers with a way to relax and unwind. At Brit + Co.’s 2017 #CreateGood Pop-Up, an arcade (sponsored by Lyft) featured skeeball, pop-a-shot, Pac-Man, and prizes. Everyone walked away feeling like a winner!

Want more? Check out these blogs.

How can YMC Help?

Want to open a pop-up shop on campus but aren’t sure how to get started? 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!