THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION STARTS BY RETHINKING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A ‘BRAND’.
Gen Zer’s don’t differentiate between people and brands. This is a two-way street: brands are becoming human and humans are becoming brands.
Because Gen Zer’s live so much of their lives in digital feeds, brands, friends, influencers-- they all mix together. So Gen Zer’s see influencers as brands––and brands that they can trust and feel like they have personal relationships with.
Brands need to understand how nonlinear Gen Zer’s are as consumers. The path to consuming a product starts with consuming content, building trust, creating a relationship.
The path from following to inspiration to sharing to purchasing is a process that to partner with influencers to connect with Gen Z consumers who have brand loyalty to influencers.
Below are a few of the brands (traditional and otherwise) mentioned in our discussion:
The street-style fashion blog connects with Gen Z across many interests. It connects with them on fashion, art, music, and culture. They split their channels (@hypebeastmusic, @hypebeaststyle, @hypebeastkicks) to keep content focused and engagement high.
The online publisher builds engagement across digital channels. Gen Zer’s love their IG stories–– how artistic they are and that they drive to deeper stories.
Vibes is a curated Instagram feed that our Gen Zer’s love. They come here for fashion, design, art inspiration.
Something Navy is a fashion influencer with 1m followers. She is seen as a brand by Gen Zer’s. They trust her for her style, fashion sense. They are following, liking, and shopping for her lifestyle.
Liza Koshy is a YouTuber with an enormous audience across platforms (13.2m followers on Instagram alone). In her YouTube videos she is playful and funny. On Instagram she is curated and filtered. To Gen Zer’s she is relatable but still aspirational.