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Branding is like a cup of coffee

This week, I watched a Chronicle segment on New England Coffee. Like most coffee drinkers, I savor every drop of a great cup of coffee! There’s nothing more magical, or motivational, than the aroma of the coffee maker brewing my morning cup of Joe.

The segment was eye opening. Like most average Joes, I really don’t know what goes into my favorite New England Coffee cup, but thanks to Chronicle, I do now. It’s all about the blend.

The roasters at New England Coffee take beans from around the world — blending, testing roasting — to get the best product to market. This process has made New England Coffee one of the largest and most successful ground coffee companies in New England, and they’ve been doing this more than a century!

I had somewhat of an epiphany while watching this Chronicle segment. I likened the blending process to my profession, brand marketing. Like a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, branding is all about the blend. A branding campaign doesn’t succeed based solely on one practice; it’s not digital versus traditional, social versus public relations or PPC versus SEO. It’s a strategic blend of each that perfects the message.

From now on “blend” is the new term I’ll use for “coordinated campaign.” What I learned from the Chronicle segment is how important the early stages of the “blend” really are to the overall success of New England Coffee and its brand image. Without the blending, testing, roasting and learning, the coffee company would not have the successful products they bring to the market every day.

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Effectively Marketing to Me – A Gen Z

The Problem

By 2020, Gen Z will make up 40% of the United States population. Already, they have amassed $44 billion in spending power and the oldest members are only 21. Gen Z is massive and has money to spend, but many businesses aren’t ready to cater to this unique group. I am 19, which puts me at the top end of Gen Z. I can tell you that typical marketing practices are just not going to cut it. As a generation we have a significant lack of brand loyalty, which means it’ll be difficult to establish your business as a leader in Gen Z purchasing. When it comes to spending, people just like us, and our own friends, are our biggest influencers. So how can you effectively target Gen Z?

Brand Ambassadors & Paid Promotion Posts

Gen Z is a generation that can’t remember a time before technology, so it’s no surprise that we spend mass amounts of time using social media. One of the best, most unobtrusive, ways of targeting Gen Z is through hiring social media brand ambassadors. These are people who have become experts at the art of Instagram, social media stars, and people who know how to get a lot of likes. They are hired to post images of them using your product with positive reviews of how they use it. If a Gen Z sees someone whose Instagram-able life they idolize post about a product, they are much more likely to try it for themselves. If a friend from high school is suddenly raving about beach towels made from recycled plastic in the caption of a picture of them under a palm tree wrapped in a towel, you’re going to trust it. Brand ambassadors are real people using real products, helping your business make real impressions, especially on Gen Z.

Mass Meet & Greets

No more swooning over George Clooney or wishing you were Jennifer Aniston. For Gen Z, “celebrities” are from the mobile screen, not the big one. Social media stars are all the rage. People just like you who happen to make funny or interesting or cool online content. They’re normal kids who have access to millions of viewers, impressions that your business needs if they want to target Gen Z.

One of the best places to capitalize on a variety of these social media “celebrities” at once is through the large meet and greets that take place across the country. One of the biggest of the social media conventions is DigiTour. Parents are spending hundreds of dollars on tickets so that their children can meet kids their own age whose talent is making six second videos and posting them online. If you can get these normal kids turned social media stars to promote your products, the trust their fans have in them will translate to trust in your product.

Gen Z Trusts Gen Z

In order to market to Gen Z, you must market through Gen Z. We trust the people that we know, so we trust the products that they promote. A social media star feels more like a trusted friend than a celebrity, but have access to millions of other Gen Z’s. In Gen Z, anyone can be an influencer, and your business should be prepared to use that to your advantage.

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