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While perhaps surprising, emojis – a favorite of Gen Z – have been around for nearly 20 years. Shigetaka Kurita invented them in 1998 while working for DoCoMo, a large Japanese mobile communication company. His idea was to create a way for users to send pictures back and forth without using too much data. Simply, to create a one character “code” that would be displayed as an image or icon on the other device.

Fast forward to today; emojis are being sent at a rate of more than six billion per day! In 2015, emoji was Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for its popularity and extensive usage. From checking your Facebook feed, to scrolling through texts on your phone, to advertisements across channels – emojis are everywhere.

If you don’t yet see how this matters to marketing, consider this: 84 percent of all marketing communication is expected to be visual by this year, according to Cisco Systems, Inc. This isn’t limited to a particular medium, either. It will be across newspapers, emails, websites, social media and more. Graphics are not only simple and span language barriers with ease, they also offer a heightened level of creativity.

Yet, as emojis are in nature made to hold different meanings, it’s important for brands to tread lightly. Emojis are not always the best approach for every company or every public figure as it may come across as inauthentic or as “trying too hard” – consider the Hillary Clinton Twitter student debt faux pas.

But if you need inspiration, Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts are two brands using emojis the right way. Let’s take a look into their campaigns:

Who: Domino’s Pizza

What: The brand created a permanent feature allowing customers to place pizza orders by simply tweeting the pizza emoji at Domino’s.

How: The campaign works by accessing consumers’ Easy Order profile once they register their Twitter handle on Domino’s website. Once Domino’s receives the tweet, the customer receives a confirmation message for the order, and the pizza is made and sent to his or her home.

Impact: The pizza chain turned a mundane activity – ordering pizza – into something novel and innovative. Since Domino’s already receives half of its business through online orders, the option to “tweet a pizza” makes it even more convenient for those inclined to order digitally. The campaign received significant media coverage and won the Cannes Titanium Grand Prix for most breakthrough idea of the year in 2016.

———————-

Who: Dunkin’ Donuts

What: Dunkin’ Donuts became the first national coffee chain to allow gifting and payment within Apple’s iMessage.

How: Customers can send the gift of coffee more easily than ever using ApplePay on the Dunkin’ Donuts app. The app also boasted its own set of original Dunkin’ Donuts stickers that can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store. Fans can also create virtual greeting cards with their iMessage Card Builder.

Impact: By embracing iMessage, Dunkin’ Donuts committed to making its brand as accessible as possible. Apple Pay, already a popular in-store option, enabled customers to pay securely via mobile, while the stickers provided a new way for users to interact with the brand.

Want more on Gen Z? Get your copy of Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, here!

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There is a lot of confusion nowadays when it comes to defining who belongs to which generation and why. People that are well into their older years tend to criticize young groups of so-called “Millennials” for their vanity, lack of common sense and smartphone obsession. But who are they actually talking about, and more importantly, is what they’re saying true?

The Millennial generation’s oldest members were born all the way back in 1979, and its youngest in 1995. The youth of today is thus part of Generation Z – born between 1996 and 2010. And while politicians and self-declared experts tend to present them in a negative light, they will be the ones to revolutionize the world.

How Gen Z Will Change the Workplace

A 2014 article published by Psychology Today made a statement that sounded bold back then: By the coming of 2015, 75 percent of employees will be composed of Millennials. It’s 2018 now, and we can safely say that is true. Their novelty values and approaches challenged and reshaped the professional landscape entirely.

But Generation Z is growing up and soon enough they’ll join the workforce, too. However, just because they’re tweens and teens now, it doesn’t mean they don’t know what they want to do with their lives. And surprisingly enough, their career objectives are vastly different from those of Millennials. What are their career objectives?

A Propensity for Office Jobs

According to TIME Magazine, a global survey conducted by Future Workplace in partnership with Randstad has revealed that the youth of today can’t wait to work in an office. While their predecessors grew sick and tired of the concept and dreamed of having jobs that allow them to stay at home or be mobile, Gen Z is a lot more traditional about career options.

More than 36 percent of them expressed their desire to be employed in an office, which is a 20 percent increase from 2014. Meanwhile, the response among Millennials dwindled in the same timeframe, dropping from 47 percent to 37 percent in just two years. The number of Millennials who preferred working from home also nearly doubled.

Direct Approach to Goal Pursuit

Members of Gen Z will be far more likely to get what they want faster when they join the workforce. This is due to their renowned “pester power,” a compendium of verbal negotiation and bribing techniques they employ in relationship with their parents and peers to make sure their desires are always fulfilled. While older generations perceive them as manipulative because of this, imagine the kind of change this can bring to the job industry. By developing these skills while in their early teenage years, these kids will be much more direct in pursuing their careers once they begin.

Improved Corporate Communication

While Millennials are strongly adept when it comes to virtual communication, Forbes Magazine discloses a surprising fact about their successors: even though Gen Zers are true digital natives, they will, in fact, be much more prone to direct, face-to-face communication, especially on the job. There is a simple explanation for this: These kids grew up watching Millennials (some of them being their parents) get criticized by Gen X for relying on technology too much and forgetting how to live their lives. While they themselves understand the benefits of this, it is deeply ingrained in their minds that there are plenty of negative aspects to it as well.

More Independence in the Workplace

While Millennials are clearly obsessed with being mentored by their bosses, young people nowadays tend to be a lot more professionally independent. In complete accord with their notorious hands-on style, they want to do things their way and learn from their own experiences.

Every single person living today has something important to contribute, and that will soon include Generation Z. Although they are now often overlooked, soon they will be taking over the market – both as consumers and as employees. Thanks to their no-frills approach and propensity for office employment and direct communication, the youth of today will soon revolutionize the job industry and the world as we know it.

From time-to-time we have guest bloggers contribute to our site. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Millennial Marketing team. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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While we often refer to the Millennial generation as the first digital natives, today’s teens are truly the first generation of consumers to have grown up in an entirely “post-digital” era.

For Generation Z, which we’re dubbing the Pivotal Generation, digital is as important to their daily life as the very air they breath. Starting in early childhood, if they did not know an answer to a question, they were taught to “Google it” or “ask Siri.” This immediate availability of information and the ease with which it can be accessed has had a major influence on shaping the way Pivotals engage with brands, make purchase decisions and connect with their peer networks.

As a result, our market is now dependent on a two-way conversation – something that did not exist during the Baby Boomer years of mass marketing.

The advancement of social media has heightened the need for brands to have constant communication with consumers. Because if a brand doesn’t have a responsive online presence in today’s world, does it even exist?

At least, that’s what teens are thinking.

While all generations are active on at least one of today’s social platforms, Generation Z is by far the most voracious and complex in their use of all social media. Our research found that Pivotals lead when it comes to usage of YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Kik, Periscope and even Tinder. And according to the #Being13 Study conducted by CNN, some 13-year-olds check their social accounts as much as 100 times per day, making it evident that this generation has no concept of what daily activity is like without social media and the technology that fuels it.

“Constantly connected is their norm,” said Mia Dand, CEO of digital strategy and research advisory firm Lighthouse3. “They are growing up in an always-on, mobile-only world with messaging apps that allow them to instantly and effortlessly connect with anyone across the globe in real-time.”

And Pivotals aren’t just hyper-connected to their peers. They have the same expectation for brands.

“It’s a social norm for them to not only be connected with their family and friends, but also with brands and businesses – essentially the world – at all times,” said Ramsey Mohsen, CEO of social news and edutainment company Everhance.

Unlike the Millennial tendency to broadcast everything, however, we are seeing a shift by Pivotals to a mentality of only sharing specific stories, to specific people, on specific channels. This is evident when we look at the platforms that teens are most likely to use. Rather than frequenting the “over-sharing” platform of Facebook, they are top users of platforms that allow them to select who sees their content such as Snapchat and Instagram.

“These platforms are so popular because it’s only the people they choose to connect with that see what they share,” said Mohsen. “After all, the only way social networks work is to have the people who are relevant to you included and sharing content.”

This means that using social media is not a free-for-all for Pivotals.

In fact, our research found that there is a detailed ecosystem of rules and guidelines when it comes to the Big Four – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat:

Instagram is for conveying carefully manicured style. Snapchat is for in-the-moment messaging. Twitter is for real-time talk around trending events, and Facebook, well, that’s for Mom and Grandma. As social media becomes ever more ingrained in daily life, it’s critical for communicators to understand how young users interact across different media and to handcraft messages that abide by the rules of each platform.

This mixture of hyper-connectivity and selectivity when it comes to social media usage by Pivotals makes it necessary for brands to keep their finger on the pulse of constantly shifting expectations in order to market most effectively. If mass media died with Millennials, then members of the Pivotal Generation are digging the grave.

“Brands need to tread lightly – the same types of social tricks that Boomers and even Millennials found surprising will be completely see-through to Gen Z,” said Joe Cox, engagement director at Barkley Ad Agency. “Unless a brand knows their editorial authority – what they have permission to talk about based on the true beliefs of their brand – and the rules Gen Z has put in place for social networking, they won’t resonate with this consumer group.”

Want more on Gen Z? Order your copy of Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, available here!

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Depending on who you ask or what you read, you’ll likely notice slight variations in the birth years of Millennials and Gen Z. Confusing? Maybe, but generational analysis isn’t an exact science.

So, why do generational birth years matter? While generations are not homogenous cohorts, they are largely influenced by defining moments – typically the most impactful moments of their early lives. Generations develop strong emotional connections to these formative experiences which impact how they view themselves and the world around them. This is important for brands and marketers to understand when trying to reach and create relevance with generational cohorts. It is also equally important to realize that generations are diverse/multifaceted groups, made up of sub-segments.

In a recent post on Pew Research Center’s “Fact Tank” blog, Pew’s president, Michael Dimock, said, “…keep in mind that generations are a lens through which to understand societal change, rather than a label with which to oversimplify differences between groups.”

Recently, Pew Research Center outlined a cutoff point between Millennials and Generation Z. Pew defines Millennials as anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22-37 in 2018). Long before this announcement, we at FutureCast had already outlined our own birth-year parameters for Millennials and Gen Z to help our readers better understand the distinctions between these two modern consumer cohorts.

The chart below, from our book “Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching this Vast – and Very Different – Generation of Influencers,” shows our breakdown of the five living generations and a few of their most defining moments.

The defining moments of each generation

Want more on Gen Z? Get your copy of our new book, Marketing to Gen Z, here!

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Human civilization has always been averse to technological advances. Even Socrates opposed the development of writing, convinced that knowledge can only be gained through dialogue. The classical philosopher contended that writing something down causes one’s memory of the event to become distorted and one-dimensional. Regardless, writing became a staple of our civilization. Society progressed.

The internet, too, has spawned controversy in its time about its potential to “dumb” the world down. After the web became ingrained in everyday life, the rise of social media brought along similar concerns about its negative impact on humanity. And there are downsides. Social media directly impacts how individuals view themselves. With some 13-year-olds checking their social accounts as many as 100 times per day, researchers have warned of potential addiction issues. Other studies go even further, warning of self-esteem and depression issues.

Parents, educators and mental-health professionals alike continue to question whether social media is a positive or negative influence on Pivotals, especially as many are still teenagers (or younger) developing their personal identities. What is it about social media that has youth spending more time on it than sleeping or spending time with parents and teachers (even though most are in school full-time)?

“I think they’re addicted to the peer connection and affirmation they’re able to get via social media,” said child clinical psychologist Marion Underwood, co-author of the #Being13 study in an interview with CNN. “To know what each other are doing, where they stand, to know how many people like what they posted, to know how many people followed them today and unfollowed them..that, I think, is highly addictive.”

In other words, this is a generation riddled with not only FOMO – fear of missing out – but also FOLO – fear of living offline.

More than half of teens wanted to see if they were receiving likes and comments and more than a third wanted to see if their friends were getting together without them. Twenty-one percent wanted to confirm that nobody was saying hurtful things about them. While this may be a reflection of life stage, we tend to believe this is more revealing of a generation that has been guided by social media and digital technology their entire lives. As a result, they routinely fret about how their digital lives and identities impact their relationships with others IRL.

For brands, this means being aware of the anxieties they face and supporting Gen Z as they navigate the waters of growing up in an entirely new arena: the digital realm.

Want more on Gen Z? Stay tuned for Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, coming Spring 2018. Pre-order here!

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In case you missed the memo, today’s teens are a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, you heard us right. While some may define this group as inconsequential members of youth, too young to make a difference in the market, the truth is Generation Z is already a powerful cohort of consumers in their own right. In direct spending alone, they account for up to $143 billion in market spend. This number will only continue to grow as Gen Z ages, with predictions that Gen Z will comprise 40 percent of all consumers by 2020.

As such, the time to learn who they are and what they want is now.

Understanding this need, we wrote our latest book, Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast – and Very Different – Generation of Influencers. The book, released TODAY, offers dozens of examples and insights for connecting and conversing with this generation based on original quantitative research and interviews, including how to:

  • Get past Gen Z’s eight-second filter
  • Avoid advertising mistakes that land you on Gen Z’s blacklist
  • Speak Gen Z’s language through the adaptation of content and social strategies
  • Develop the ideal Gen Z consumer journey

It’s time to level up on these up-and-coming consumers before you make the mistake of treating Gen Z just as you did Millennials. As experts on both generations, trust us – they are not the same!

Get your copy of Marketing to Gen Z here!

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According to Scientific American, social connection is not only the most essential part of being human, it is also a key ingredient in happiness and health. This is particularly true when it comes to Generation Z and those within the Modern Consumer Mindset™. But when it comes to social media expectations, this generation is flipping the script. Based on our research, here are the key expectations marketers need to know:

On-Demand

Hungry? Get food delivered to your door in minutes through Deliveroo or Postmates. Need a lift somewhere? No worries – Uber or Lyft has your back. Want to veg out for a bit? Netflix enables your inner couch-potato, on your schedule.

With nearly everything available at the touch of a button, Pivotals aren’t the most patient people. Surveys show they are emerging as the heaviest users of on-demand services around the world. Brands beware – they’re likely to be the most demanding consumers of all. A 2017 study by IBM found that 60 percent of Gen Zers surveyed will not use an app or website that is too slow to load. Pivotals expect instant gratification, and marketers have no choice but to adapt to this expectation.

Authentic

Speed isn’t the only factor playing into Pivotals’ expectations. Gen Z’s desire for brand transparency extends to their social media preferences as well. They are a serious bunch who know the world is an imperfect, and sometimes scary, place. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is portraying idealistic or fake narratives on their channels. Pivotals are realistic and expect authentic stories shared by real people – content more in line with their day-to-day life. No longer do teens want content designed for the unattainable ideal.

Privacy & Anonymity

A few years ago, rumor had it that Gen Z would be making a mass exodus from social media. Celebrities like Lena Dunham and Jaden Smith deleted their social media accounts because of the emotional turmoil of online haters. But instead of leaving, Pivotals simply transitioned to more private, anonymous and temporary options like Snapchat and Whisper. They also began to flock to “dark social” – messenger apps.

Privacy is one of the main reasons Snapchat is so popular among this group. First, it allows users to share messages and images, then deletes them within seconds. Also, it more closely resembles face-to-face interaction, which remains important to Pivotals. Whisper is similar, allowing users to send messages anonymously and receive anonymous replies. Posts, known as “whispers,” contain text overlaid on images. Users don’t have to publicly identify themselves, which gives them more freedom to express their thoughts and opinions on topics they might not otherwise feel comfortable talking about with people they know.

Both platforms offer advertising opportunities, but connecting with Pivotals through incognito apps is tricky and will continue to be a learning process for marketers. That’s why now is the time for marketers to begin learning the rules of Gen Z.

Want more on Gen Z? Stay tuned for Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, coming Spring 2018. Pre-order here!

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Fun is one thing, funny another. Spend five minutes with a Gen Zer and ask them to show you some funny videos, memes or GIFs. While you’ll get a chuckle from the more predictable cat videos, you’ll most likely see something so quirky and off-the-wall that you’ll end up raising an eyebrow or scratching your head.

Where did Gen Z’s unique social humor come from?

Scott Fogel, Senior Strategist at Firstborn (a design and tech company), told Fast Company that a lot of Pivotals’ humor stems from a “weird, unhinged sensibility.” They love self-deprecating Snapchats and memes, or videos that make them appear offbeat or quirky. And that’s what is on trend.

And Fogel points out this is not a Millennial behavior.

“It’s rare for a Millennial to post anything on social that makes them look strange,” he said. “But for a generation that’s spent their entire lives online – mostly in the unfiltered lens of Skype, webcams, lives streams and vlogs – an intimate exhibitionism has emerged in a way that older generations simply don’t have.”

Brands that infuse humor and self-deprecation into their personalities will appeal more to Pivotals – but they should still take caution. Trying to pander to this generation by using too many popular acronyms or teen slang will instantly get you pegged as trying too hard. Amanda Gutterman, VP of Growth at digital media company Dose, shared a great analogy with Contently:

“You don’t want to come onto a platform like Snapchat and be perceived as someone’s weird uncle trying to be cool.”

Want more on Gen Z? Stay tuned for Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, coming Spring 2018. Pre-order here!

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Contrary to popular belief, Gen Zers don’t always have their eyes glued to their phones.

“I definitely prefer seeing my friends in person rather than over social media because I feel closer to them when I really see them,” explains 15-year-old Greta J. “I love to laugh with them and be able to see a genuine reaction rather than an “LOL” over text. How am I supposed to know if they are really laughing or if they just don’t know what else to say?”

Uniquely Gen Z,” a 2017 IBM Institute for Business Value report, found that socializing offline is just as important to socializing online.

From “Marketing to Gen Z” by Angie Read and Jeff Fromm

Can this be true of a generation that has never known a world without the power of digital technology? Yes, and the reason is their craving for authenticity. As Greta alluded, isn’t it so much easier to understand intent when that interaction is physically tangible?

And when it comes to Gen Z, it’s time to get real. Pivotals are not only prioritizing real-life social interactions (perhaps more so than Millennials before them), they are also creating an influx of social platforms that encourage and celebrate such authenticity.

As Greg Witt, Executive Vice President of Youth Marketing at Motivate Youth, told Fortune, “The first and most prominent mistake I see brands make via their social media strategies is that they create an ingenious character to represent their image. Gen Z wants real. Gen Z wants transparency. Gen Z wants originality.”

Witt encourages brands to take cues from Levi’s. While Levi’s gained its reputation with Gen Z’s parents, it is not having a problem keeping up with the times. The brand is strategic about who it selects as brand ambassadors. Instead of looking for the most popular influencers or the ones with the greatest number of followers, Levi’s instead tries to find individuals who fit its brand DNA.

Another factor paving the way for increased importance on IRL interactions and new platforms? Privacy and anonymity.

Pivotals learned from an early age, thanks to rapid advancements in technology and the mistakes of Millennials, the importance of online privacy. As a result, they are acutely aware of what is and isn’t acceptable to share online. One of the first things they do when turning on their phone or logging into a social app is enable their privacy settings. They’re also very good at policing themselves online. They know embarrassing photos or rants can live forever online, potentially hurting their chances at that dream college down the road.

Aside from saving certain topics for face-to-face, Pivotals have also increased the popularity of more anonymous and temporary platforms, such as Snapchat and Whisper. They are also flocking toward “dark social,” or as you might know of it, messaging apps. Didn’t you ever wonder why the Facebooks and Instagrams of the world started placing big bets on these apps?

While both Snapchat and Whisper offer advertising opportunities, connecting with Gen Z through incognito apps is tricky and will continue to be a learning process for marketers. The key for brands, however, is to appeal to users, who want to feel like people rather than marketing targets, in a way that doesn’t appear as an intrusion or “selling.” Only time will tell the winners (and losers) of this endeavor.

Want more on Gen Z? Stay tuned for Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, coming Spring 2018. Pre-order here!

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