Industry Insights

Gen Z Experiential Marketing: Revolutionising Brand Engagement

Gen Z’s Influence on Experiential Marketing in the Modern Era

In an ever-evolving modern world, marketeers are compelled to remain innovative, adaptable and responsive. A key reason for this, is the emergence of Gen Z: a demographic of young adults urging brands to align with upcoming trends, values, and audiences. For professionals in experiential marketing, the challenge lies in engaging, nurturing, and retaining this digitally-inclined age bracket.

Understanding Generation Z

Termed the ‘millennials’ kin’, Gen Z surpasses previous generations in media consumption and technological expertise. Born between 1997 and 2012, this group has never experienced a world devoid of constant internet connectivity.

The generation’s constant digital engagement has shaped a demographic that is self-sufficient, intellectually curious, and unique; they champion individuality, embrace diversity, and possess entrepreneurial traits. In addition, their social interactions seamlessly blend on and offline worlds, underscoring their appreciation for diverse cultures and communities.

Contrary to the belief that Gen Z is always tethered to their smartphones, recent insights suggest that they instead crave genuine brand interactions and intimate digital communities. Crystal Malachias, of marketing authority The Drum had the following to say on the matter:

“With an overall lack of trust in digital platforms and data privacy concerns, the Gen Z cohort is turning towards more tight-knit communities as they seek safer social spaces online in pursuit of becoming world builders, in spaces where they can celebrate their individuality.

This emphasis on community is a bid for the Gen Z audience to find meaningful connections in a divisive world filled with so much noise. There’s a strong desire for a sense of belonging in the pursuit of social validation and the desire to become change makers, especially those from marginalised communities who feel a threat from voicing their opinions.”

From this insight, it’s clear that while Gen Z are indeed avid technology users, their preference often leans towards impactful, inclusive and honest experiences rather than material possessions.

The Pandemic’s Effect & Aspirations

Post-pandemic, Gen Z have emerged with a hunger for novel and meaningful experiences. Highlighting this, a 2022 special report by Edelman reveals that 73% of Gen Z actively enjoy participating in shaping company narratives, and are ready to advocate for brands they connect with.

On top of that, the pandemic has reinforced the irreplaceable nature of face-to-face interactions for this generation; it’s apparent that they still value sensory experiences when learning about brands, as opposed to traditional marketing approaches that fail to fully encapsulate their needs. With Worldwide Technology reporting on a recent study that saw 74% of Gen Z preferring to interact with colleagues ‘face to face’, the common misconception about their digital-only preferences can be safely debunked.

It’s also worth noting that Gen Z actively participate in large-scale events like festivals and concerts, demonstrating their affinity for investing in real life experiences that create lasting memories. Evidence for this shift comes from Voxburner, who reveal that 44% of UK Gen Z’ers expect to spend money on entertainment this summer, while 25% plan on attending a music festival.

Unique Consumer Behaviour

With 45% of Gen Z naming TikTok and Instagram as the top platforms influencing their purchasing decisions, it’s evident the personalised nature of these platforms reflects their expectation from brand interactions. So as this fresh generation steps into the workforce (especially in fields like data, marketing, and IT), it’s plain to see that their awareness and interest in experiential marketing is constantly-growing.

Engaging Gen Z in Experiential Marketing

Now that we’ve established experiential marketing is an effective approach when dealing with Gen Z, it’s important to integrate additional elements into campaigns that can further strengthen brand relationships. Seek to leverage platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat to lead campaigns, and encourage Gen Z to share their experiences using unique hashtags. This strategy aligns with the Gen Z-driven trend of user-generated content (UGC) too.

Partnering with relatable influencers can also be effective, as 63% of Gen Z tend to trust influencers more than traditional celebrities. Although, selecting brand ambassadors who reflect Gen Z’s ethos is vital. Experiencing a brand in-person helps build trust and authenticity: crucial values when it comes to getting Gen Z onside. Furthermore, incorporating digital components like apps and landing pages can complement experiential activities that cater to Gen Z’s connected lifestyle.

Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately, Gen Z’s preferences indicate a fondness for brands striving for a positive global impact. With so many choices available, standing out requires experiential marketing strategies that focus on memorable experiences, UGC, and savvy online campaigns. Embracing these tactics can transform Gen Z into loyal brand advocates, favouring authenticity and memorable interactions.

Working alongside weIMPLEMENT offers a unique opportunity to tailor your campaigns to this dynamic demographic. Our skilled Implementors (many of which are Gen Z’ers themselves), are specially attuned with this generations values and expectations, bridging the gap between digital engagement and tangible experiences seamlessly.

Through collaborating with us, you gain access to innovative, Gen Z-focused experiential marketing solutions that prioritise authenticity, community, and impactful interactions. So whether it’s creating immersive brand experiences, leveraging UGC, or deploying experiential strategies in alignment with Gen Z trends, weIMPLEMENT is dedicated to elevating your brand in the eyes of the next generation of consumers. Don’t miss out on this opportunity — reach out to us today and let’s actualise your experiential marketing initiatives, capitalising on this vital consumer base!