A lot has been said about capturing the attention of Gen Z, and the theory behind their behavior as consumers. Particularly for financial services, we’ve covered how to win their trust and how to help them build their financial knowledge, all with authenticity at the forefront. We’ve learned that we need to focus on the content that matters most to our audience, that transparency is key and that we have to speak a consistent language that’s also the language of Gen Z. So far so good, but how do you translate those learnings into execution?
When it comes to creating work that works, the key is in the details. We need a strategic process that allows brands to optimize for performance and apply learnings to future projects. But generic approaches only produce generic results, so while we require a systematic process to guide us, it’s important to open ourselves up to new opportunities. Sounds challenging, but the results can be impressive: Klarna, for example, garnered 4+ million views in the Playing for Keeps livestream partnership with Snoop Dogg and Twitch streamers. Here’s how you too can turn needs into actionable strategies, split into three digestible phases.
Phase 1: Discovery
First, we need to lay the groundwork: understanding the performance of your brand’s existing social media content, competitor mapping and social listening on topics that are relevant to the brand. This will provide your team with a better grasp of how the brand is truly doing on social media compared to the market and industry benchmark.
We apply the discovery methodology not only for client work but for a number of trends and culture reports too, such as The Power Of Fandom Is Not Random, in which we dive into the rise of fandom culture and how brands can act on its potential. In the discovery phase, it’s crucial to define the brand’s problems and business objectives regarding social media, to then establish goals and target metrics.
Phase 2: Brainstorming
Armed with a baseline understanding of where your brand stands and where you want to take it, it’s time to think about your target audience. No industry, market or brand is the same, so this analysis should be tailored to yours. For example, you could start by asking your partners, the team and yourself the following questions:
- Who are we talking to, and how do we define them? What do we know about them?
- Are we targeting the audience demographic in specific markets and/or regions?
- What are the audience's pain points and motivations?
- What should our persona and voice be like on social media?
- How does this ladder up to our brand and vision?
With the answers to these questions, you can then determine a strategic proposition and creative platform to address Gen Zs in their specific contexts.
Phase 3: Creation
You now have all the building blocks in place to create content that Gen Zs can’t resist. The final phase is where the magic happens. What you will be producing at this stage are conceptual proposals, mock-ups and communication plans that string all the pieces together to reach your audience across various touchpoints. The best briefs are co-created, so brand-agency alignment is crucial to the success of each campaign or strategy.
Through the three-phase process, our team created Ally Island, a branded space within the game Animal Crossing, which peaked during the pandemic. Packed with minigames showcasing different aspects of Ally, the space educated visitors on money management while helping to promote the bank’s services amongst youths. The cherry on top? The participation of a popular Animal Crossing streamer, Kang, who taught gamers how to make money work smarter. In the end, the activation was featured on the front page of Twitch for three weeks, won The FWA of the Day and even bagged an Effie Award. But most importantly, it achieved 1.38+ million individual viewers and 112+ hours spent with the brand by the target audience.
Similarly, the German fintech company N26 teamed up with us to bring their YouTube content strategy to life. To show you how the three-phase approach played out in that case, here are the outcomes of the workshop and brainstorming sessions:
- Audience pain point: There’s a huge disconnect between the values of our consumers and the financial system as a whole.
- Audience insight: Our audience has new lifestyles and changed expectations towards banking, asking for solutions that fit their life versus the other way around.
- Audience motivation: Confidence, relevance.
- Point of entry: Show N26 as a way to achieve our goals, instead of a barrier that keeps us from our goals.
- Role of brand: Be the finance partner for an entire generation.
- Strategic springboard: Making you the expert. We’ll leverage Gen Z’s desire for personalization by building talking tracks around N26 being the financial partner that caters to this generation’s values.
After the brainstorming sessions, we moved into the creation stage. The result? A YouTube content strategy that was introduced in five markets and featured content series like “Talking to friends about money,” which resulted in a 289k average view rate for the fintech company.
It all boils down to the idea that crystallizing everything into a single brief allows teams to address the heart of the matter and inspire creatives. A lot can be achieved with purpose and intention, especially when it comes to winning with Gen Zs. Trust building shouldn’t be hard—at least not if brands are staying true to their mission. So follow these steps with confidence and remember: generic approaches breed generic work. A willingness to embrace new opportunities can lead to impressive results.
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