The power of public relations is not lost on Generation Z. It does, however, work differently. According to Forbes, this generation’s understanding of public relations is far more consumer-based and authenticity-focused.

When a member of Gen Z hears the term PR, they think of product samples and brand merchandise rather than more traditional PR tools like earned media, storytelling and reputation management. Gen Z’s media diet began with YouTuber relationships and other types of influencers, as opposed to mainstream celebrities.

Gen Z, also known as iGen, are the first true digital natives. They were born into a fully formed digital world and are experiencing adolescence amidst the pandemic. This sets them apart from older generations. For instance, there’s little to no distinction between the online and offline worlds for Gen Z, so omnichannel marketing becomes more important. Raised on social media like YouTube, Gen Z relies more on extended social networks to research purchases and less on top-down marketing strategies like celebrity endorsements.

To better align your PR with Gen Z’s beliefs and interests, consider the following:

  • Prioritize SEO. Gen Z relies heavily on internet research, so they are more likely to find your brand through searches. If your company has strong SEO and ranks high on search engines like Google and Bing, you’ll likely be more visible to Gen Z. You can boost exposure by creating a list of keywords you want to be affiliated with your brand, and then look at differentiating your brand from others that have high SEO standing. Then, include links to credible websites in your content. Positioning yourself higher than your competitors on search engines leads to more visibility to your target audiences. 
  • Make social and environmental consciousness a priority. Generation Z makes socially conscious decisions when evaluating products. They often support a business based on its level of social and environmental commitment, or corporate social responsibility. In fact, members of Gen Z see their position as a customer as a way to get engaged in CSR efforts, with 90% saying they would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit. It is vital to show support for initiatives that align with your company values. Celebrating things like International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and Earth Day is a great start, but taking action will show your audience that your company puts resources behind its core values. For example, T-Mobile paid $10 million for a Superbowl ad in 2018 that advocated for equal pay across all genders and ethnicities. This ad received great feedback from consumers and showed T-Mobile’s audience that the company prioritized social justice and equality. 
  • Secure diverse perspectives. Brands like Nike, Pepsi and Equinox have faced damage to reputations from ill-considered messaging, the effects of which will linger on social media. The best way to combat this is to make sure your team is filled with diverse perspectives before commenting on potentially controversial subjects. Seeking out perspectives from a diverse pool of backgrounds decreases your company’s chances of speaking out of place.
  • Use the creator economy to your advantage. Investing in micro and macro-influencers will take your social media to the next level. Eighty-five percent of Gen Z use social media to learn about new products, and 45% of Gen Z currently follow more than 10 influencers on social media. Identify influencers with followings that align with your target audience to maximize your ROI.
  • Remember that Gen Z has been trained to learn digitally. The oldest members of Gen Z graduated college in 2018; the youngest are currently in fourth grade. The COVID-19 pandemic started in the middle of this generation’s educational experience. Taking classes through Zoom and other online platforms taught Gen Z-ers how to teach themselves. This age group was also raised with smartphones, tablets and computers. Tools like webinars and infographics are a great way to get your message across to an online audience. Online content like this has many benefits, including increases in exposure, shareability and credibility.
  • Create an appealing aesthetic. Gen Z isn’t called the “Aesthetic Generation” for nothing. They are far more likely to gravitate to products and services with visually appealing brands. Dedicate time and resources to creating strong branding collateral that is easy on the eyes and aware of trends. This includes anything from logos and color palettes to fonts and packaging.

As Generation Z enters the workforce and gains purchasing power, they become a part of your target audience. Knowing how to appeal to them by using strategic and thoughtful public relations tactics will help reach this audience.

The post Using PR to Appeal to Gen Z first appeared on Communiqué PR.