Updated: Mar 15, 2021
As social distancing becomes more inherent in our daily lives, the ways we’re connecting are rapidly changing. One undeniable shift is in digital content consumption. We’re seeing it play a larger role in a brands' efforts to close gaps in relationships with their customers.
Content consumption today is no longer a passive, one-way experience.
Customers today are their own content generators and actively produce digital content themselves. Brands who are keeping pace are providing the framework for their customers to play within. The new ways which are emerging to consume and create content are enabling brands to develop and strengthen community with their audiences.
The rise of the Content Creator Mindset.
Digital content creation is quickly becoming a hallmark of Generation Z. In previous generations primarily engaged with stationary devices to passively consume content as a way to pass the time. Think sitting in a living room watching a television set. This paradigm shifted abruptly at the advent of mobile devices and streaming content. The move from being a passive viewer to being an active creator, and the ability to both stream and create content, has fueled Gen Z’s to create content geared to their rapidly changing interests. And while engaging with storytelling of highly realized and authentic characters, Gen Z has discovered relatable truths while streaming content, and is using them to design their own identity.
Many Zs identify with a sense of self-expression—being an artist, activist or their own boss. They strive to find their individuality and stand out, not passively follow along to fit-in. Brands have taken notice and are beginning to embrace this trend. Brands are strategizing to provide ways to support content creating Zs who are influencers and micro-influencers, through sponsorships, and providing them with resources to create content and a way to reach very specific target audiences.
Streaming Content Helps Gen Z Come of Age
In the past, content was consumed and thought of as a way to pass the time. But for Gen Z, streaming content helps inform identity development. Zs find deeper meaning in the varied content of streaming services which portrays race, gender identities, sexualities, political leanings and religious affiliations. They are very tuned to authenticity and brands need to consider the importance of intent and deliver value when creating content for customer experiences. Being mindful of delivering content in ways that fit the customers’ needs and that offers a choice in how and when they engage with the content is important.
Shorter, less time consuming and, easy-to-consume video are taking the lead with Zs who are streaming and creating on platforms like TikTok and Spotify. while the seasoned social media platforms have set-up services on their platforms which mimic the trend. Google's YouTube began offering "Shorts" and Facebook pushes it's Instagram "Reels," to spark similar engagement. Why? Video is interesting. And 60% of people report that video is a media they consume thoroughly. ‡ Short, 30 second or less clips of highly entertaining and original content are the norm on the growing platforms. And interesting to note, this format mimics what traditional advertising and media would create to "disrupt" and get attention, breaking in during long-format programming. So we can start to see where we are going here and why it's working.
Brand Strategy Looks to Design Community Through Co-Creation
Audiences’ have a growing desire for more connection through co-creation, and building community with each other and brands. Methods are evolving on platforms for creators to use to help each other learn useful and specific information that helps them, grow and be successful.
One example of Zs bending the paradigms is how they are engaging with music industry producers directly on TikTok. Several successful music producers with accounts on the platform regularly post content inviting engagement and collaboration from any and all types of musicians. Any TikTok user can easily layer the producer's video with music tools available and built right in to platform UI to
create and post a response. Like-minded communities are forming and creating "hits" that have spread beyond the social platform virally; bypassing the traditional entertainment gatekeepers who's job it was to create bias based on the needs of their paying sponsors.
Consumers are taking an active role in producing content; brands are in the role of facilitators.
Brand who are conscious of delivering resources to content creators, and who are designing innovative ways to engage with them and the emerging technologies on social media platforms; are on the forefront of connecting with and staying relevant with younger generations. Providing shareable resources and services acts as free PR among audiences.
Know your company needs to grow deeper roots in the digital economy but not sure what steps to take to make it happen? Floh Creative has launched successful brand campaigns for entrepreneurs, well-loved Entertainment Studios and Fortune 500 companies. Using our discovery framework, we help define and position your brand that when followed, will produce actionable insights for growth.
Ready to talk or design a brand strategy? Call us at 310-564-6881 or visit flohcreative.com.
Mary Ellen Schrock is the CDO and Chief Disruptor of Floh Creative. As a bright, intuitive creative she has a passion for solving complex design and marketing challenges, especially when they require translating branding needs into compelling concepts and brand stories.
Mary Ellen loves building successful brands! She created Floh Creative as a space to share her talent and knowledge of process and strategies that are proven to provide growth for business.