Building Connections with Gen Z via Partnerships

Stephanie Carpenter, VP, Partnerships , 11.29.22

11.29.22 Stephanie Carpenter, VP, Partnerships

The Insight The most impactful partnerships aren’t necessarily those between the biggest brands and the largest entertainment IPs. Rather, the most successful partnerships are often those that offer a strong point of view and creative connection. This actively allows for an emotional connection, with consumers are more likely to engage and invest in both brands. This insight applies across all generations, but most significantly for the Gen Z audience, whose values and shopping habits differ meaningfully from those of previous generations.

The Data

  • Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation; in the U.S., just under half (48%) are non-white. In fact, the world population as a whole is becoming increasingly multicultural. This diverse generational group wants to see themselves in brand marketing.
  • Gen Z is passionate about social issues such as equity, diversity, and inclusion. They hold companies to high standards when it comes to corporate social responsibility and are more likely to support brands that align with their values.

The AGM Approach

In addition to ubiquitous mass brands, brand marketers should consider collaborations with up-and-coming brands that focus on representation and/or are inherently diverse.

When identifying a potential partner, marketers should look to the brand’s identity and stance on key social issues to ensure positive alignment. Where appropriate, and if applicable to the IP and the intended audience, the campaign should include messaging that speaks to those issues.

For the launch of a YA- targeted streaming series in the US featuring an AAPI teenage girl as the protagonist, AGM looked to partner with brands that were AAPI and female founded. One of the collaborations included an AAPI, female-founded “conscious” skincare brand which is cruelty-free and plant-based.

Consider incorporating a pro-social element, such as a charitable component, or partner directly with highly trusted charitable organizations. This lets customers feel like their engagement or purchase is more than just a sale, but something driving a meaningful impact. However, marketers should avoid “performative activism,” which often leads to negative PR and consumer backlash.

In Summary

Gen Z wants brands and entertainers to be real, and they want to support companies that align with their values. When looking to reach Gen Z audiences via partnerships, marketers should keep in mind that authenticity and connection with a core audience can be significantly more meaningful than a mass approach with limited emotional impact.

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