Love it or hate it, fashion, beauty and shopping trends have completely changed how the youth connect to a brand, how they shop and what inspires their loyalty.
Research has shown that although most of SA’s youth are digitally inclined, they want real-life connections. The question then is how do brands balance their digital marketing with meaningful experiences that make a lasting impact and connect with young people?
A recent Sunday Times GenNext online discussion, in partnership with Yellowwood, focused on some of the latest marketing trends impacting the youth and the brands they love, the standards that influence these trends and marketing strategies that allow brands to survive and thrive in what is becoming an increasingly tumultuous sea of e-commerce and digital opportunities.
Musabbiha Jagot, a member of the junior board of directors and an account manager at APO group, explained that SA’s youth has moved past focusing on cheap and trendy products, and are instead looking at how socially conscious a brand is, whether it gives back to society and the environment, and how it makes them feel.
She said the experiences of others are also relevant and that marketers value the opinions of influencers, who often understand the brand’s customers best.
The youth want to see honesty in visual marketing: all sizes, all races and including imperfections, said Jagot.
Angel Ndlela, an influencer, content creator and artist, said marketers have realised that social media is the quickest way to get their brands noticed and that influencers can be the best way of doing it, in terms of relatability.
While fashion and beauty trends are continually changing, Sahil Harilal, the group fashion editor at Arena Holdings, said gender fluidity is the most important lifestyle trend to impact modern youth, with luxury brands increasingly willing to offer non-binary products. In a digital world, transparency has become vital and the ethos of the brand has become as important as the brand itself. In the tech world, young consumers are looking for brands that give more, such as fabric that can change temperature, while minimising their impact on the environment.
Precilla Kalogeropoulos, head of creative and productions at Avon SA, commented that it was not e-commerce that worked to draw the youth in, but rather being part of an eco-system. Marketing should be targeted to individual consumers, with the message that they wanted to hear, she said.
Young consumers are products of the virtual world, said Harilal, adding that they are trailblazers and rule-breakers and want their clothing brands to reflect these facts. Kalogeropoulos added that a brand had to resonate and be relevant to the young, as well as being available online.
Asked how marketers could better connect to the youth, Jagot said they should listen to the youth and speak with them, not for them. Ndlela considered relatability and relevance to be important, as well as using the right influencer for the correct audience. Kalogeropoulos stressed micro-influencers for more authenticity.
Looking to the future, Kalogeropoulos predicted that the Metaverse would become more and more relevant, and brands would have to adapt. Jagot agreed, saying that all content was now online and that authenticity and transparency with value would inspire loyalty.
Jagot summed it up saying, “Listen to us. Invest in us. Understand us.”
To view the full recording from the day, click here
The next online event, ‘What quality millennial talent can do for your brand’, will be taking place on May 17 2022 at 9am. For more information, or to register, click here.
For partnership opportunities please contact Cortney Hoyland on email@example.com. To advertise in the 2022 GenNext supplement please contact Debbie Montanari on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the youth behaviour study contact Kananelo Tlanya on email@example.com.