5 Creative Principles to Connect with Gen Z

Matt Hay

August 2019
4 Minute Read

5 Creative Principles to Connect with Gen Z

Developing and implementing a set of guiding creative principles is an important step to ensuring the strength of a brand’s visual and written content. Based on our 20+ years of developing creative that resonates with youth culture, here are five recommendations for developing creative that appeals to Gen Z: 

 

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Be Both Aspirational and Relatable

Find your brand’s creative “sweet spot that’s both aspirational and relatable to Gen Z. Visuals that inspire can create positive connections but shouldn’t sacrifice relatability. Brands should be willing to take risks; content that is overly generalized or without a sense of purpose is likely to be ignored or dismissed.

skateboarders on a sand dune holding boards in the air

Mountain Dew’s “We Are Blood” creative combined the aspiration of skate locations from around the world with relatable shots of skating with friends.

 

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Balance Consistency with Flexibility

Gen Z values a cohesive visual identity system which becomes familiar and reliable over time. However, as mediums and platforms continue to broaden and change the way we communicate, it’s important for a brand’s visual and written tone of voice to have flexibility when needed.

Desk image showcasing a range of Amazon Teen products including a panda shaped planter, coffee mug, notebook and pen.

Amazon’s creative is designed for flexibility and adaptability across its social channels.

 

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Put Brand Values to Work

Creative that capitalizes on the latest design trends can comes across as forced. Instead, build authentic connections with Gen Z by creating content that puts unique and ownable brand values first, in a way that is succinct, honest and relatable.

Through its philanthropic initiative, Adobe Youth Voices illustrated the brand’s values and empowered youth with multimedia and digital tools.

 

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Mix It Up

In the over-saturated world of social media, it’s important for a brand to have a variety of content to pique the interest of Gen Z. Content can range from brand communications to user-generated content crafted by brand ambassadors. Themes that are connected to Gen Z’s life stages or trends can help ensure that content avoids becoming predictable or stale.

Athlete doiong rope workout, Dick's Sporting Goods
Athletes stretching in gym
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Back view of a runner athlete in tank top

Second Skin used a mix of brand communications and content from their team of fitness ambassadors.

 

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Perfect Imperfection

A brand’s messaging and imagery should have broad Gen Z appeal, without being cliché. And brands shouldn’t fear imperfection, especially on social media, where teens and young adults are accustomed to seeing moments captured in “real life.”

young man drinking coffee, laughing
woman drinking starbucks at event and cups of samples

Starbuck’s experiential campus programs create engagement during the real life moments of college students.

 

Please contact us for more information on how to use these and other creative principles to connect with Gen Z.