Over 5 years ago in May 2016, Real Agency was founded (the world has evolved so much since then it feels like a lifetime ago!), however, since then our company bio has described who we are, as a company who
“emphasise the real elements of brands and their customer experiences by focusing on real people and real life”
So, we weren’t too surprised to join in a variety of conversations at this year’s Youth Marketing Strategy conference on the sub-topic of authenticity – particularly the importance of brand authenticity and the appreciation and effectiveness of purposeful marketing.
As our first real-world event since 2019 our expectations weren’t set in stone and needless to say the event was brilliant – congratulations to Richard Jackson, Voxburner and the whole Student Beans team for curating a truly inventive few day’s. We’ll summarise our key takeaways in the next part of this blog series and so for now, let’s start with the basics… youth!
As many of our clients know, a youth targeted campaign, or a Gen Z demographic in general can be exhilarating due to the constant evolution of trends, but for the same reason it can also be a bit nerve-wracking! It seems the easy assumption is that a popular marketing message focused on a brands product or service is the key to success, when in fact a strategy that’s aligned to a brands purpose is key to that brand’s success in 2021 and beyond. In fact even campaign fails (you know the ones, where brands identify with a cause, don’t quite hit the mark and then trying hard to hide the near miss under a well-timed offer or incentive ‘rug’) can work for a brand if the fallout response is well managed. And by well, we mean managed with transparency.
According to data shared by Attest in their session “Wake up to the woke generation: How brands can win the trust of Gen Z” we heard that whilst the misconception that 18 – 24-year-olds have lower spending power and therefore look for low-cost brands, this isn’t strictly true (the part about low spending power anyway). A sizeable portion of this age demographic think they would be willing to spend more money with an ethical brand or a brand with a strong cause at its core, and that’s where things become a bit complicated as data shows that low cost and convenience often do actually secure the sale begging the question, if your potential customers aren’t certain of their own brand loyalty habits then how can brands possibly know? Luckily, that’s not really the point – the question really should be “what are your social brand values?” … the rest will look after itself in time.
So now we know that purposeful marketing isn’t a new concept and more brands are beginning to lead with this strategy over simply jumping on a cause bandwagon (we’re thinking pride month logo changes here with no meaningful support of the LGBTQ+ community as an example), it’s easy to see the winners and losers of big brand campaigns. Check out this powerful Channel 4 advert where humour is used beautifully to highlight comments and concerns of real people – an exceptional example of a transparent response to a culmination of what some may consider being brand misses and turning matters that mean something to an audience into something meaningful that works for the brand.
So be encouraged to look back over the last few years taking note of how well represented your brand values are – ask somebody unfamiliar with your brand what they think of the things your brand stands for, you may be surprised that your product/service marketing messages still stand front and centre. Ask yourself, are you making the easy assumption that ROI is as simple now as it once was?