Summary: InstaBrain By Weise Sarah
Summary: InstaBrain By Weise Sarah

Summary: InstaBrain By Weise Sarah

The New Rules

Trends about Generation Z are just that—trends. Like all generations, Generation Z has a unique set of defining characteristics. Marketers need to understand how these traits impact their preferences for connecting, communicating, learning, and transacting.

This is where you get to explore not just the trends but the rules of marketing to this generation. You know your customer best, and by working through and critically thinking about and answering the questions outlined by each rule, you will create the basis for your fresh, new marketing strategy.


Rule #1: Spark Inspiration

For Generation Z, the perception of control and personalization is one of the most compelling attributes of Instagram. Setting what topics or personalities to follow on feeds like Instagram or Google News or any other feed is a favorite feature of this generation, though surprises outside of those parameters can be delightful and engaging.

Inspiration is Generation Z’s single-most communicated reason for going to feeds like Instagram and Pinterest, but this is true for other feeds as well. As a whole, Generation Z derives inspiration from personalized feeds. The question has shifted from “What do I want” to “What should I want”, and this generational cohort relies on recommendations engines to feed them suggestions on what to be interested in.

If you want to be top of mind, you need to be noticed. And to be noticed, you need to show up on their social feeds


  • For the content we have published today, what is most inspiring?
  • For the content we have published today, what is most engaging?
  • For the content we have published today, what stands out from the noise? What falls flat?
  • Of the people who are engaging with my content, are they the right audiences?
  • What is my brand missing in its content?
  • How could I make my content zing?
  • How can we give our users more choice or control over what they see?
  • What new types of content should I be thinking about when planning?
  • Who are my top customers, and what are they interested in, aside from my brand?
  • If I’m not sure, what kind of research will I need to do to find out? When will I start?


Rule #2: Incorporate Learning

Do you want to associate your brand with feelings of guilt for time wasted on entertainment or with feelings of accomplishment as something is learned?

This is one of those strategies that could be readily adopted by B2B companies. If a buyer is watching a video on YouTube related to learning a work skill, it could be effective to advertise your service.

Another strategy is to not go with ads at all, and instead create and advertise a series of learning videos or podcasts as a part of your integrated marketing strategy. Let’s go with the

example of a project management software company. They could do a vlog series on YouTube or LinkedIn (which does not have a high percentage of Generation Z using it right now but likely will in a few years once more of them have entered the workforce).

Generation Z loves learning and feels that time invested in learning a new skill is worth it. Make sure they are aware that: (a) they are learning; (b) the skill is or will be useful to them; (c) specifically what brand is teaching them the skill (their multitasking brain may need a reminder—don’t be subtle).


  • How much of my brand’s marketing is associated with entertainment? Learning?
  • Do I want my brandmore associated with guilt or accomplishment? (Not a trick question! It is a decision you should make)
  • What types of learning-based marketing should we consider?
  • Which learning content creators could/should my brand pair with?
  • What learning content could/should we create?
  • Learning content takes time to develop: what can I do today to move this idea forward?
  • What else do I need to know about my customers before moving forward? How could I do that research?
  • What is my next step?


Rule #3: Connect with People

User-generated content (UGC) is quickly seeping into other types of marketing content including emails, product-display pages, and other ad campaigns. Brands have started to use a mix of professional photos and user-generated ones on these different channels to blend professional with authentic

User-generated content does not have to come from influencers. Garmin is a great example of a brand that incorporates its customer stories into its Instagram posts, and it garners goodwill and engagement every time it does. It recently even put up a Story Highlight for customer stories labeled “From You.” It takes very little effort to showcase customer stories on Instagram, and it typically results in high engagement and organic social media growth every time. Don’t forget to tag your customer in the post!


  • How do I communicate my brand’s promise through people?
  • How should we involve influencers in our marketing?
  • Which influencers is our audience following? Which align to our brand?
  • How should we use customer stories? How would we find them? Where would we feature them?
  • How can I highlight my employees as a part of the brand?
  • How can I make customer service a differentiator?


Rule #4: Build Communities Online and Offline

Human beings are social creatures, and it is important for the future health of this generation that in-person communities are not replaced entirely by social media.

As a marketer, we often think about building and growing online communities—and that is still a good strategy. Invest in creating communities for your customers who share specific interests related to your brand, or who are interested in learning a particular skill. This will not only build brand engagement, but also help to connect these teens with a tribe, as they are not getting as much social connection elsewhere in their lives.

But what we can do alongside these digital communities is offer in-person events to maximize your impact. Even knowing that an in-person group is nearby might be enough for a Generation Z youth to know that they are not alone.

in-person events like networking breakfasts, conferences, and trade shows have always been popular. Yet in this climate of less frequent in-person experiences, they are apt to be even more critical to make your brand stand out. Go to these events with the goal of making genuine connections. So forget the online conference and plan an in-person version. The long-lasting success of your business will be a function of relationship building, in a world that often fails to support this


  • How can I improve or grow my company’s digital communities?
  • How can we make real, in-person connections?
  • What will we get out of better relationships?
  • What has stopped us in the past from doing this?
  • What research do I need?
  • What events could I plan? Who would be there? What would they get out of it?
  • What is this dependent on?
  • What can I do today to move this forward?


Rule #5: Quality Content… Pretty, with Video

Quality content is still the name of the game for Generation Z. As marketers continue to blast noise on social media, today’s youth are growing weary of the surface-level nonsense. Bad content, however, can have pronounced negative consequences for brands. According to research by Adobe, 71 percent of consumers reported that they would not buy from a brand that pushes content that is poorly written, irrelevant, or poorly designed.133

Generation Z prioritizes true and authentic messaging as much as they do articulate and well-designed copy. They rely on content creators to provide quality content that inspires, educates, and brings people together as a community.

But get this: your content does not always have to be fresh. B2B managers, look alive! Because for skill-based learning, Generation Z is just as interested in evergreen articles, as long as they are still relevant to the task at hand. They certainly like to follow YouTubers and watch their videos, often in order (similar to binge-watching multiple seasons of your favorite show). But as long as the content is not outdated nor the products old, Generation Z will soak in the content.


  • Do I have enough content? Is it in the right places?
  • How organized is my content on YouTube and Instagram?
  • What categories should we create in Instagram story highlights?
  • How will you humor your customers?
  • What research do I need?
  • What research can I pull from already?
  • What is the first step?
  • What is this dependent on?
  • What can I do today to move this forward?


Rule #6: Be the Hustle

Red Bull is an example of a brand doing original content creation that taps into this mindset. They do an unbelievable job producing their video series, and its 8 million YouTube subscribers seem to agree! Instead of showing products, it entertains and engages Generation Z consumers with beautifully-produced video that captures attention, keeps them watching, and develops a relationship between brand and customer. Instead of sponsoring an influencer to showcase their drink, they have chosen to go bigger: original content with larger-than-life production and themes. This creative aligns with the carefully crafted and curated lifestyle brand they want to portray.

Marketers, whatever your product or service, whatever your industry, one thing is certain: be clear and focused in your message, and connect it to the advancement of your Generation Z customers.


  • How can I incorporate people at the top of their games to my brand and in my content?
  • How can I talk about growing wealth or saving?
  • Which brands can I partner with?
  • What can I do today to move this forward?
  • How can my brand bring relief to their chaotic lives?
  • How can I feature hacks in my content?


Rule #7: Stand for Something

While this is a no-brainer for Fortune 500 companies, many mid-sized or small companies wonder if the benefits are worth it. Where Generation Z is involved, the answer is categorically YES. The dollar amount is less important than the fact that your company stands for something. It is always a positive story when people are helping others, even if your financial contribution is less than large companies, you can still benefit from the exposure.

Be strategic with the cause(s) you support. Either choose a cause that is in some way related to your line of business (e.g., WW choosing childhood obesity as their social focus) or a cause that is close to home for your employees.


  • What does my brand stand for?
  • What should my brand stand for?
  • If we were to pick one cause, what would it be?
  • How does that cause relate to my industry or employees?
  • What research do I need?
  • What can I do today to move this forward?


Rule #8: Create Seamless, Personalized Experiences

if Generation Z notices even the slightest slowdown or inconvenience—even if it was due to their device switching—it is all over and any loyalty you had built up will be gone in an instant. With this generation, perfectly executed, seamless transitions are a must. Of course, everything needs to work flawlessly on mobile as well, preferably in an app over a mobile website. If Generation Z notices the technology, you are doing something wrong.

Generation Z has grown up with constant connection. This has fundamentally changed their perception of convenience, and they expect a lot more from you. Everything is about speed, and time is directly linked to customer experience. While they may be more demanding, compared to other generations, they are actually willing to pay for convenience. How Generation Z expects products and services to be delivered creates new opportunities for marketers to explore various channels. Same-day delivery and mobile self-checkouts in stores may be the key to loyalty for this generation.


  • How much friction occurs in our customer experiences?
  • What is the ultimate goal?
  • What does success look like?
  • What has stopped you in the past?
  • What research do I need?
  • What research can I pull from already?
  • What is the first step?
  • What is this dependent on?
  • What can I do today to move this forward?


Rule #9: Support Buying in The Research Phase

Now we get to talk about the research phase, and how marketers can support buying decisions at this time. Generation Z demands more value for their money, and is willing to spend time conducting voluminous research on any potential purchase. As marketers, we can help them along in this endeavor in a few key ways.

First, we can provide them with easily scannable details they need in quick visual formats—for instance, a list of the services or features you offer and how top competitors stack up. Just make sure this type of matrix is able to be readily viewed on mobile, as Generation Z is twice as likely to convert on mobile over any other demographic.


  • How do my customers find me?
  • What research do they do pre-purchase?
  • What research is required for re-ordering?
  • Where in the research stage can I encourage sharing?
  • What would make my pricing more transparent?
  • What is this all dependent on?
  • What can I do today to move this forward?


Rule #10: Manufacture Delight Within the Journey

When was the last time you were truly delighted by a product or service?

Go ahead, think about it. It’s hard, right? Past marketers have described delight as being “pleasure” above functionality: more than reliability and usability, that something extra that brings an added degree of pleasure to a customer. But that seems so flat. Just because something pleases you doesn’t mean it really delights you.


You got it: that elusive feeling of delight can actually be re-created time and again for your customers by just adding unexpected surprises that offer relief: saving time, money, or offering something that seems personal to that customer.


  • Do I have personas for my key target audiences?
  • Do I have a map for these audiences’ journeys?
  • Am I able to pinpoint the key points of anxiety throughout their journeys?
  • For each point of anxiety, what could I do to provide my customer relief? Surprise? Both?
  • What could I do to save my customer time?
  • At what points would added customer service make things feel easier for my customer?
  • How can I personalize the experience for each of my target customers?


Rule #11: Research Your Specific Customers

Of course, to provide your customers with the most targeted approach, you will need to continue your research. You will want to know specifically what makes your customers tick. You will want to know what differentiators cause them to choose you, and which cause them to choose a competitor. You will want to know what inspires them so you can create more targeted content and campaigns. You will want to know what skills they want or need to learn so you can provide them. You will want to know related interests and personalities they follow so you can more effectively cut through the noise and capture attention. You will want to know what specifically flips the switch and motivates them to move past the research stage into a purchase so you can catapult them there faster.

There is always more to learn, more to know.


  • What is the big-picture goal: identify market opportunities, launch the right product, or optimize an existing customer experience?
  • What do I want to know about my customer that I currently do not know?
  • What questions about my customer would help me more effectively capture attention, educate consumers, or boost conversions?
  • Which questions are of highest priority to me and my stakeholders?
  • What gaps exist between my existing research and what I want to know?
  • What research methods might be best for this study, based on my goal?
  • Do I have enough information to create a research plan?
  • Are my stakeholders aligned?
  • When do I need the research by?
  • What is my budget?
  • Should I do the research in-house or outsource to a customer research studio?