6 min read 21/02/2023

Lessons To Be Learnt From Gen Z and TikTok

The going is getting tough

Gen-Z Kids GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

‘Gen Z’ or the contemporary customer, has the lowest recorded attention span in modern history. What are the implications for Brisbane businesses and brand agencies trying to broaden their influence amongst this digital-savvy audience?

Conservative norms that define the marketing profession are under threat. The opportunity cost of boosting brand awareness or customer acquisition has risen tremendously. Traditional advertising practices that appealed to previous generations (brand prestige, luxury goods etc.) are no longer the primary search criteria. The marketplace has been uprooted by evolving tastes and preferences.

Why the sudden paradigm switch?

TikTok is a prime example

Tik-Tok Dance GIF by Chris Gannon - Find & Share on GIPHY

TikTok is a market disruptor that has forever altered the contemporary marketing landscape. 69% of Gen Z’ers report owning a TikTok account. And after 2022, TikTok reported an annual revenue of $11.04 billion: triple what the social media behemoth earned in 2021. That is a ton of ads!

Household Australian brands such as Mecca, McDonald’s, and Athlete’s Foot have even chosen to incorporate Tiktok advertising into their incumbent digital strategy.

From an outsider’s perspective, TikTok’s core value-sell stems from its brief-but-concise 10-15 second video format that values DIY content over overblown-budget productions. This is an incomplete observation.

TikTok’s runaway success yields fundamental lessons that can help you innovate across your branding/marketing strategy. These lessons are not exclusive to TikTok and can be immediately integrated across your online presence, regardless if you are a B2B or B2C business.

Besides, Gen Z would eventually form the majority of our clientele shortly.

Let’s inspect Tiktok’s booming success under a loupe.

1. Don’t explicitly sell to Gen Z

The central focus is not on “revenue” but on building a “community” through brand authenticity. Gen Z Frequency author Gregg Witt says:

Brands targeting Gen Z need to look beyond the confines of traditional segmentation, the ultimate priority always has to be on alignment that helps us cultivate relationships with youth culture – not just organize it.”

Gregg Witt, Gen Z Frequency

Humanising the buyer-seller relationship through sincere brand messaging is crucial to engendering brand loyalty. Let’s turn to Mecca’s official TikTok account for a live example:


Find out how @Ben McIntosh and his sister Grace made good use of the #MECCAgiftcard she received over the holidays. ✅ Can you spot any of your faves?

♬ original sound – harley

Influencer, Ben Mcintosh, brought his sister out for a shopping trip in Mecca Australia with a gift card she received during Christmas. Mecca has astutely showcased the quality of in-store care that customers could expect to receive.

More importantly, Mecca successfully highlighted an all-too-common and relatable customer scenario by showing, not telling them. The “human element” in brand messaging is crucial in unconsciously strengthening brand loyalty and saliency instead of coldly upselling the wholesale benefits of their skincare products and services.

Proud Gen Z brand loyalists will operate in an ambassadorial capacity to promote your brand through digital word-of-mouth, slowly building a community surrounding your brand.

There’s no shortcut to immediate customer acquisition; view earning their trust as a continuous process through entertaining content. Selling constitutes the final stage of the proverbial digital sales funnel. Leaping past the first few stages is brand self-sabotage.

The rules can be extrapolated to other social media platforms. Digital advertising should prioritise aspirational content celebrating human interaction and community spirit.

Patience is a virtue that is rewarded in marketing.

2. Time is short

TikTok’s title speaks for itself. Tick Tock. As mentioned above, video content spans 10-15 seconds on average. To make matters worse, TikTokers are notorious for scrolling past video after video in mere seconds. Realistically, digital marketers only have a sparse 8 seconds to work with.

This forces digital marketing folks to focus on thumb-stopping, eye-catching videos. Cleverly constructing a snippet with bedazzling visuals and creative sound clips in a short timeframe is no easy feat!

Mcdonald’s Australia maintains a robust portfolio of fun-filled shorts by affiliating themselves with influencers/creatives, featuring silly, quirky scenarios with the sole objective of funnelling attention.

As per usual, the identical logic applies to all customer-facing digital marketing. Step into the shoes of Gen Z’ers; they are time-poor and expect hyper-interesting content pronto!

As such, your branding/marketing strategy should enchant, educate and excite users! Typically, a persuasive content strategy consists of emotion-inducing copy and tantalising visuals across your website and social media presence.

Do not be afraid to add a dash of your personality! Flex your persona to the audiences you are upselling.

3. Lo-fi-driven content sells

In 2022, Meta examined the correlation between DIY or unpolished content and creative impact across technology, retail, restaurants and e-commerce. The study’s results reveal a substantial positive relationship between both dimensions, citing perfection fatigue as a fundamental cause.

Returning to the 1st point, it is no surprise that blemish-free marketing featuring picture-perfect spokespeople has lost its allure. Aspirational advertising from yesteryear paints a glitzy, false reality. Sincerity, authenticity and realism form the trinity of modern marketing.

In the tenacious world of TikTok, lo-fi content has the innate ability to go viral. Instead of attempting to hire James Cameron for the umpteenth time, brands should capitalise on low-fi content, structuring videos to illustrate how a product/service is utilised in the backdrop of a customer’s life.

For example, BedThreads, a luxury linen brand based in Australia, is unapologetic about its lo-fi-focused content strategy!

POV-style shorts are especially prominent in their feed, followed by responses to compliments or reviews from satisfied customers. With 200 thousand followers, their current marketing strategy is working out well for them!

How you run your targeted advertising campaigns on alternative social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram etc.) adhere to the same principles.

Where do we start?

Knowing is half the battle. Executing forms the other half. Our Brisbane full-service design agency specialises in the end-to-end development and implementation of every bespoke branding or marketing strategy.

As a business owner, you’re the go-to keyman for your business’s internal and external operations. We can better identify and evaluate your brand’s strengths and weaknesses by harnessing your in-depth knowledge and expertise. Through an equal partnership, we can help your brand capitalise on newly-emerging trends that Gen Z and the modern consumer align themselves with.

Regardless of where you promote your brand, the absolute fundamentals do not change! In the next decade, what we know as Gen Z today will comprise a massive slice of the future consumer marketplace. A chronic inability to pivot towards meeting their preferences marks a missed opportunity to qualify a customer in the heydeys of his/her/they life!

When it boils down to branding, web design and marketing, Vesanique’s full-service offerings can help you transform and reinvigorate your business to capitalise on these tectonic market shifts.

But we have rambled for more than 8 seconds now. We want to know more about you and how we can help modernise your brand.  Shoot us a message, and we will stand by at the ready to organise a conversation over brekkie!

Let’s talk. Don’t be a stranger ?️.

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