How automotive marketers can excite Gen Z: 5 must-learn lessons from the generations’ favorite brands


Jan 08 2020

A key topic at MediaPost’s Marketing Automotive Conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show: the desire to target the youngest generation of car buyers – Gen Z. And rightfully so; it is estimated that in 2020, Gen Z will surpass millennials as the largest U.S. generation. While this generation started as an anomaly to marketers, there are retail and consumer brands are getting it right when it comes to targeting this demographic.

A 2019 survey* announced the top companies favored by Gen Z, with the majority of these brands falling in the categories of technology, entertainment and food. Following Google, the most popular companies included Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, and Oreo. What can automotive brands learn from Gen Z fan favorites?

“We know Gen Z to be socially conscious and cost conscious,” explains Jon Genese, VP Client Engagement at Tag. “They are looking for brands that add value to their daily lives. We also know that this is a generation of experiences and moments brought to life by technology each and every day. For the automotive industry, this works when the story is told correctly.”

Here are 5 lessons learned from 5 of the leading Gen Z favored brands:

1. Be unapologetically authentic. A Brand Insider article identifies the retail brand aerie, a sub brand for the popular American Eagle as a favorite of Gen Z. Aerie climbed the ranks of Gen Z by making a bold commitment to authenticity – they refused to airbrush models, portraying real life faces and figures. A article states that the brand saw “18 consecutive quarters of double-digit revenue growth as a result.”

The ability for this generation to find answers and truth is one touch away and marketers must communicate in a way that is real and gritty. Gen Z is an “ad-adverse” generation (according to Hubspot, 65% of Gen Z have downloaded some type of ad-blocker on their mobile devices).

“For automotive marketers, this means popping open the hood and giving Gen Z an inside look at where the car is made, who is involved in the process and what is delivered,” states Jon Genese. “Brands can express authenticity through creating authentic and genuine conversations with the consumer via social media content marketing. The organic reach potential of a compelling story cannot be underestimated. You never know where or when you’ll unearth your next influencers.”

 2. Create an experience. The concept of storytelling and experiential marketing will never go away. In fact, it is easier now to tell a story than ever before, just make sure it is a haiku and not a fairy tale. According to HubSpot, Gen Z spends about 8 seconds consuming information. Automotive marketers should consider placing their target demographic in the story and even better, allowing their target demographic to tell the story.

A 2019 Media Dive article explains: “For its “Another Level” campaign, Doritos created a Snapchat Lens that let users turn their faces into chip-like triangles, encouraging Snapchatters to produce user-generated content.” This brand was ranked the No. 7 favorite brand by male Gen Z-ers (according to Morning Consult Brand Intelligence).

“The ability for automotive marketers to virtually put Gen Z in the car is easier than ever before,” explains Jon Genese. “A virtual reality car driving experience gives the buyer the real-life thrill of creating and driving the car with the ability to share the experience across social channels. Tag’s Realtime Car-Go configurator was built with the automotive marketer and the next generation of shopper in mind.”

 3. Put Mobile first. While Google comes in as the number one brand favored by Gen Z, Instagram is not far behind, especially when it comes to building brand loyalty and the path to purchase. Instagram allows for social learning, influencer marketing and virtual brand activations or experiences. “For automotive marketers, this means creating a digital first, user-friendly approach that brings the full experience of buying a car to the screen of a mobile phone,” continues Jon Genese. “Automotive marketers can set themselves up for success by creating master assets using CGI. This allows for lifelike digital assets that can be leveraged above and beyond the traditional scale.”

4. Define your value. In a 2019 Business Insider survey titled “The State of Gen Z,” survey respondents gave credit to the brand Patagonia, making it one of the top Gen Z apparel brands. While the upwards of $200 price tag for a jacket may seem to go against the call-to-action for the cost-conscious generation, the brand holds its own because of its rugged durability and usefulness. “This is a generation that has their own definition of value. While safety and fuel economy is important, Gen Z wants to know how their purchases impact the world. Think: fewer emissions, vegan leathers and ethical and sustainable production practices. This is a great story for an automotive marketer to tell, especially as brands continue to expand sustainability efforts,” explains Jon Genese.

5. Make communication consistent, frequent and most of all personal. Media Dive’s 2019 Dive Awards named PepsiCo “Marketer of the Year.” One of the reasons: the company increased their marketing spend by 12% and released new marketing campaigns weekly. “The important thing to realize is that automotive marketers don’t need to reinvent the wheel, they may just need to tell the story differently for each generation,” continues Jon Genese. “We know from working with retail, CPG and automotive brands that expanding to new markets and target demographics is most successful when the shopper’s experience is personalized and marketing assets are created at the scale expected. Content production experts, such as Tag bring the skills, experience and tools to make this happen.

At Tag, we work alongside brands and agencies to create a true end-to-end solution that leverages creative assets and improves internal marketing production to allow marketers to do make more. Find out how we work with automotive marketing teams and their agencies of record to bring digital, social media, AR/VR, experiential activations and content creation to life.

Read here to see how we helped a leading automotive brand create a seamless online to showroom floor experience using CGI and VR technology.

Schedule a call today to find out how Tag can support your brand’s creative production and sourcing needs.

Related articles:

Source: * Morning Consult Brand Intelligence Most Loved Brands in America 2019





Get in touch

Interested in working with us?

Contact us