If your brand or client is trying to catch the fleeting attention of Generation Z, you’re going to need more than a static, old-school approach with your creative marketing. The immediacy of imagery and the compulsion of content are good focus points for creating the right kind of engagement, and new research from content solutions marketing firm Fuse outlines a set of guiding creative principles to lead your efforts.

Developing and implementing these principles is an important step to ensuring the strength of a brand’s visual and written content. Based on Fuse’s 20+ years of experience with helping brands reach Gen Z, here are five recommendations for developing creative that appeals to this audience:

Be both aspirational and relatable

Find a creative “sweet spot” that’s both aspirational and relatable to Gen Z. Visuals that inspire can create positive connections but shouldn’t sacrifice relatability. Brands should be willing to take risks—content that is overly generalized or without a sense of purpose is likely to be ignored or dismissed.

5 tips for developing brand creative that resonates with—and appeals to—Gen Z

Mountain Dew’s “We Are Blood” creative combined the aspiration of skate locations from around the world with relatable shots of skating with friends.

Balance consistency with flexibility

Gen Z values a cohesive visual identity system which becomes familiar and reliable over time. However, as mediums and platforms continue to broaden and change the way we communicate, it’s important for a brand’s visual and written tone of voice to have flexibility when needed.

Amazon’s creative is designed for flexibility and adaptability across its social channels

Put brand values to work

Creative that capitalizes on the latest design trends can comes across as forced. Instead, build authentic connections with Gen Z by creating content that puts unique and ownable brand values first, in a way that is succinct, honest and relatable.

Through its philanthropic initiative, Adobe Youth Voices illustrated the brand’s values and empowered youth with multimedia and digital tools.

Mix it up

In the over-saturated world of social media, it’s important for a brand to have a variety of content to pique the interest of Gen Z. Content can range from brand communications to user-generated content crafted by brand ambassadors. Themes that are connected to Gen Z’s life stages or trends can help ensure that content avoids becoming predictable or stale.

5 tips for developing brand creative that resonates with—and appeals to—Gen Z

Second Skin used a mix of brand communications and content from their team of fitness ambassadors.

Perfect imperfection

A brand’s messaging and imagery should have broad Gen Z appeal, without being cliché. And they shouldn’t fear imperfection, especially on social media, where teens and young adults are accustomed to seeing moments captured in “real life.”

5 tips for developing brand creative that resonates with—and appeals to—Gen Z

Starbuck’s experiential campus programs create engagement during the real life moments of college students.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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