March 20, 2018

Cheap Cause Marketing: Gen Z Aren’t Buying It

Kendall Jenner endorses Pepsi in their brand communication strategy.

#bringthemhere. #blacklivesmatter. #lovewins. #fairtrade. #changetheratio. #neveragain.


All of these movements have gained incredible momentum in our hyper-connected world – spearheaded by a new generation of youth activists, Generation Z.


Recent events have shown brands of all sizes and sectors boarding the cause marketing train. From their brand communication strategies to their supply chains, there’s increasing pressure on brands to use their power and influence for social good.


The challenge is how this expectation should be executed.


As we discovered in our Gen Z Futures_ Report, trust and transparency are vital to this media-sceptical generation. So before brands align themselves with a social cause, they should consider how their mission, vision, values and category relates to the cause – and how they can realistically and meaningfully contribute.


Simply hijacking a social movement with no clear understanding or commitment to change smacks of opportunism (read Pepsi).


A better example to follow is Lacoste’s viral Save our Species campaign.


Lacoste cleverly turned their iconic alligator logo into a practical device for raising awareness and money towards saving endangered animal species.


Is there a relevant association between the brand’s communication strategy and the cause? Yes.


Have they committed something for change? Yes – donating profits from their limited-edition collection.


Does it enhance the brand’s positioning? Absolutely.


Gen Zers believe they can effect positive change by supporting responsible brands, helping to fuel the social good movement. They vigilantly hold brands accountable, using social media to call them out on broken commitments and shifty behaviour.


Planned with sensitivity and intelligence, a cause marketing campaign can build authentic engagement with Gen Z consumers. Doing it well takes time and consideration.


After all, you’re doing it for a good cause.

Want more insights on Generation Z? Get a free copy of our Gen Z Futures_ Report here!

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