In the rapidly evolving landscape of marketing, it is crucial for brands to understand and adapt to the preferences and behaviors of the younger generation. To explore this topic further, we had the opportunity to speak with Clint Runge, the CEO and founder of Archrival, a youth culture agency. In this engaging conversation, Clint shares his insights on how marketing to young adults has evolved over the past decade, the importance of building brand communities, and the emerging trends in the industry.
The Shift from Top Down to Bottom-Up Marketing:
According to Clint, traditional marketing used to be top down, with brands dictating the messaging and strategies behind their products. However, he highlights that the new era of marketing is all about bottom-up approach. The soul of creative and brand messaging now starts with the people – the users, the end consumers, and those who are engaged with the product or service. While brands can guide and shape this relationship, the power lies with the users. This shift has revolutionized the way marketing and advertising are approached, fostering a more collaborative and user-centric environment.
The Evolution of the Marketing Funnel:
Clint further explains the transformation of the traditional marketing funnel. Previously, the funnel was divided into stages such as awareness, interest, consideration, intent, and purchase. However, he believes that this linear approach is no longer valid in today's digital age. Instead, he proposes a new perspective on the funnel, where awareness and interest are merged into a single step influenced by social media and scrolling habits. Similarly, consideration and intent are interconnected, allowing consumers to explore and make decisions simultaneously. This new understanding of the marketing funnel embraces the non-linear and dynamic nature of the consumer journey.
Gen Z's Search for a Lifestyle, not Brands:
One fascinating insight Clint shares is the changing mindset of Gen Z consumers. Unlike previous generations, they are not solely interested in individual brands; they are seeking a lifestyle that resonates with them. Clint emphasizes the importance of authenticity and consistency for brands to connect with this audience. He advises marketers to understand that young adults today have complex and ever-changing personalities, necessitating a flexible and adaptable approach to branding.
Building Brand Communities:
To effectively reach and engage with young adults, Clint emphasizes the significance of building brand communities. At Archrival, they recruit and activate brand champions who are genuinely passionate about the brand's ethos and values. These champions, who may include influencers, users, or experts in the network, are empowered to spread brand messaging to their communities more authentically and effectively. By involving the community in the creation and development of products or services, brands can stay relevant and meet consumer expectations.
The Future of Marketing:
When discussing emerging trends, Clint breaks away from the concept of chasing ephemeral trends and focuses on understanding the underlying reasons for trends and relevance. He advises brands to anticipate where consumer culture is heading and tailor their products, content, and marketing strategies accordingly. By placing people at the center and championing change, marketers can create a future-focused approach that resonates with younger audiences.
Advice for Marketers and Branding Professionals:
Clint encourages young marketers and branding professionals to be bold and embrace the challenges that come with change. He highlights the need to challenge traditional methods, convince others of new ideas, and fight for progressive approaches. By doing so, they can secure a successful and fulfilling career in a rapidly evolving industry.
Our conversation with Clint Runge, the visionary behind Archrival, shed light on the ever-changing landscape of marketing to young adults. From the shift towards bottom-up marketing to the importance of building brand communities, marketers must adapt and remain relevant in this dynamic digital age. By understanding the desires of younger audiences, championing change, and focusing on long-term strategies rather than fleeting trends, brands can effectively engage with and win the hearts and minds of the next generation.