How Brands Can Reach Gen Z Every Holiday

The holiday season presents a great opportunity, albeit a competitive one, for communications professionals and the brands they represent to switch up their promotional strategies and explore some different social media tactics. As members of Gen Z, we represent the potential spending power of approximately $323 billion, but you need to know where to find us and what we’re looking for, and not just when it comes to our Christmas lists. As a public relations student, and a proud Zoomer, I’d like to offer a few tips to help you and your clients to stand out from the crowd.

We are constantly consuming content, as 55% of us spend five or more hours on social media per day, so where do you start? By scrolling through just a couple of videos on Tik Tok, you can get a pretty good look at what Gen Z is paying attention to, as more than half of us are active on this platform. Charli Damelio, Addison Rae and others of my generation have become some of the most talked-about celebrities today because of collaborations with brands like Dunkin, Bang energy and Morphe beauty. Your goal through Tik Tok is to get your brand talked about and featured among these overnight celebrities.

A 2019 Kearny survey found that 77 percent of Gen Z said that personalized recommendations were extremely important to them when shopping online. Depending on what your brand is selling, you can strategically partner with someone who seamlessly fits into your image. Do a deep dive into your brand’s earned media and find who is already talking about it. After you have identified the talent, reach out to establish a relationship and start brainstorming tactics to integrate your brand into their content. 

Ninety percent of consumers factor in authenticity when choosing brands, which is why Tik Tok thrives in the face of Gen Z. Tik Tok provides real, unfiltered content. Typical commercial advertisements don’t persuade us as much as seeing someone we know and love using a product.

To successfully appeal to our generation, stay on top of our shopping habits. We spend frugally — partly because well, we’re broke — but because we are cost-conscious. How much does this cost me? How much did it cost to make? Use the research component of PR to monitor spending trends before crafting your strategy. Constantly watch the environment and act fast. 

Now head over to Instagram and keep your influencer lookout goggles on. Instagram’s update gives users a similar “for you page” as Tik Tok, putting content you interact with in your feed and explore page. This network is helpful to brands looking to promote a message, as 47 percent of Zoomers following brands on the platform in 2020 purchased something directly through it, according to a National Retail Federation study. Gen Z goes to Instagram and Twitter for news, so allow your clients to speak out. 

Above all, we want to see change. We want brands that advocate for social justice, environmental improvement and human rights. We pay attention to brands that try, experiment and fail as opposed to brands who don’t try at all. Gen Z believes in accountability over cancel culture, so speak up and help the brands you represent play a role in global change. Utilize these tips and more to reach Gen Z this holiday season and beyond. 


Kimberly Hurd is a senior public relations student at the University of Florida. She’s a member of the UF Chapter of PRSSA and the PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee. Aside from PR, she sings in UF’s all-female a cappella group, The Sedoctaves. Connect with Kimberly on LinkedIn.

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