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3 tips for connecting with and marketing to Gen Z

Until a couple years ago we were in the age of millennials, anyone who was born from 1981 to 1996. Recently, Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, surpassed Boomers and Millennials in size. As of 2019, Gen Z makes up 32% of the world’s 7.7 billion population, making them the next powerful consumer force. Connecting with Gen Z is key to your brand success in today’s world! Here are our top three insights into marketing towards this powerful generation: 

  1. Gen Z care about your brand’s values

This generation often chooses brands that align with their value set, so it’s essential to understand what Gen Z cares about and how you can incorporate it into your brand’s values. Despite being more pessimistic than their millennial counterparts, Gen Z seek to make purchasing decisions that are true to their value set and are incredibly vocal when they feel a brand’s values do not align. 

  • 66% of young Canadians do not think the economic situation will improve in 2021
  • 70% of young Canadians do not think that the political and social situation will improve in 2021
  • 75% of young Canadians do not think that the environmental situation will improve in 2021. 

What does this mean for your brand?

If you want to win the loyalty of this growing population, see where you can match your brand’s initiatives and products to Gen Z’s value set. We recommend focusing on one or two problems this generation cares about and working towards real, sustainable change. 

  1. Authenticity matters

We know, you’ve been hearing “authenticity matters” for years. But hear us out! You’ll need to allow for a little more creative freedom when working with this generation’s favourite influencers. It can be a little scary as a brand not having full control over influencer generated content, but trust us, Gen Z will know and are not afraid to show it when they feel content is overly curated. 

  • 3 of 4 people say TikTok is a place where they can openly express themselves.
  • 61% of TikTokers think advertising is unique and different on TikTok compared to other top social and video platforms
  • When creating a TikTok ad, the following are the most desirable for a piece of content: relatable, aspirational, informative, and inspirational.

You’ll get the best bang for your buck focusing on developing partnerships with influencers who align with your brand’s values and focus on producing authentic content where the influencer’s personalities compliment your brand. Need more convincing? Here are a couple of fun examples from our clients DoorDash and Ubisoft

  1. Build a community and loyal customers will follow

According to a study by Leger, 78% of young Canadians say they have experienced at least one of the seven symptoms of depression. Brands that focus on building spaces where their communities can connect and flourish will develop a loyal customer base. Gen Z makes purchasing decisions based on emotional pulls towards brands that embody their values. More people are looking towards brands to step up and positively impact necessary change on varying social issues such as diversity and inclusion, poverty, climate change,and access to education. To meet the growing expectations of customers, brands should develop fully integrated plans focused on positively impacting the issues their target audience worries about.

For more insights on connecting with and marketing to Gen Z, check out the recording below of the latest ruckus Makers, How to market to and connect with Gen Z –  learn more from our panelists: 

  • Angela Nader, Manager, Beauty and Luxury Partnerships, TikTok
  • Lisa Covens, Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, Leger
  • Kyla Doerig, Senior Manager, PR, Social Media & Creators, Inkbox Tattoos
  • Samantha and Madeline Caleon, The Caleon Twins, Content Creators

To learn more about how APEX PR or ruckus Digital can help build your brand or tell your brand story, Bigger@apexpr.com


Ruckus Makers, How to market to and connect with Gen Z


The popularity of podcasts is rising quickly in Canada. But, who is listening? According to The Canadian Podcast Listener 2018 survey, about a quarter of Canadians are monthly podcast listeners. And, listenership is growing every year.

So, how can your brand participate?

Gary Edgar of ruckus Digital chatted with CTV News’ Millennial Money Expert and host of the #MoMoneyPodcast Jessica Moorhouse, digital manager of video and podcasts at TVO Hannah Sung, and YouTube vlogger and host of “The Sandwich” podcast Amanda Muse on September 26, 2018 to dig deeper. Hear the chat on our Soundcloud channel.

Need help with your podcast? Interested in joining us for our next ruckus makers event? Drop us a line. 


As marketing professionals, we’re all familiar with how important metrics and analytics are in gauging success. But how do we pull meaningful insights from the data? And once we have them, how do we develop content, design elements or creative to show the impact of our social media investment?

Essentially, how can we answer social media’s most challenging questions?

Daniel Robinson of Antelope chatted with Gary Edgar of ruckus Digital (at our March 1, 2018 ruckus makers event) about using social media data to plan the design of content, as well as taking industry best practices and insights to apply to social media planning. Hear the chat on our Soundcloud channel.

Need help answering your organization or brand’s most challenging social media questions? Interested in joining us for our next ruckus makers event?  Drop us a line. 

ruckus makers: What is branded content?

The future of branded storytelling is evolving as individuals expect more from the organizations that market to them.

So, we invited Heather Loosemore, Sr. Director of Marketing Communications at Walmart Canada and Kaaren Whitney-Vernon, SVP Branded Entertainment at Shaftesbury to share their insights at our last ruckus makers speaker series. Here, Kaaren Whitney-Vernon shares here thoughts on on “What is branded content?”

Find out more about Upstairs Amy, a new branded content series by Walmart Canada. Also see a Storify recapping the future of branded storytelling ruckus makers event.


Fort McMurray wildfire communications (incl. video)

In May 2016, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) was hit with a wildfire, which resulted in the largest insured disaster in Canadian history.  More than 90,000 individuals were evacuated from the City of Fort McMurray and were not able to return for a month.

Jordan Redshaw and Robin Smith from the RMWB and Diane Bégin from APEX PR / ruckus Digital speak about their experiences on the ground in a panel moderated by managing partner Ken Evans at our third ruckus makers.

Introduction to the crisis

Team work & social media early on

Dealing with media

Also see a Storify recapping the Fort McMurray wildfire ruckus makers event.

ruckus makers speaker series

Twitter Canada’s Cam Gordon joined us for our inaugural ruckus makers speaker series. Find out how he’s making a ruckus.
With the constant shifts in social and digital media, it’s integral to stay current. That’s why we recently kicked off our brand new speaker series – ruckus makers, and who better to have as our inaugural speaker, than Cam Gordon, Senior Communications Manager for Twitter Canada.
Twitter remains the leading place on the web for breaking news and information. There is no faster platform for experiencing something as it happens, and in the last few years Twitter has introduced a host of new products to maintain that hold. With Periscope and Vine they’ve introduced video formats to fit perfectly with the channel’s bite-sized information aesthetic. And now, with 2 question polls, users and brands can experiment with all new ways of engagement.
We caught up with Cam hot off the heels of the Canadian federal election to talk about politics, branding and Twitter’s new products.
Cam first touched on the part Twitter played in the election and how the party leaders approached the channel in very different ways.

Buzzfeed: Curate content audiences are looking for

Last week, we were very excited to host our second ruckus makers event with our special guest Elamin Abdelmahmoud, the Social Media Editor from Buzzfeed Canada.

As Buzzfeed secures their spot as the king of content, many brands are left wondering how they do it. The quick answer, they develop sharable content tailored for each social media platform. Roughly, 75 per cent of Buzzfeed’s content is consumed outside its own website so they understand that’s it’s important to tailor and develop content for platforms. “Don’t even bother building a website,” says Elamin. By leaning into the benefits of Facebook video, Buzzfeed’s 8-month-old Tasty channel has grown to an average of 360 million users a month.

Recently, Buzzfeed even experimented with Facebook Live, attracting more than 800,000 live viewers to watch their editorial team make a watermelon explode with rubber bands (spoiler it takes longer than you’d think!)

And get this, Buzzfeed has been able to get this giant audience reach with no paid media.

Ready for a content makeover? Take a read of our major takeaways from the event:

Curate conversations: Before creating a piece of content Elamin and team are listening to what’s most important for their audiences and develop content tailored to them. If you know there is a huge audience looking forward to Beyonce’s Lemonade soundtrack you should have content ready for this release. For brands, this could implemented by creating content around consumer seasonal behaviours, policy changes or cultural events etc.

Brand voice: Understand how you want to be perceived as a brand and speak in all of your content in that voice. For Elamin, that’s writing in the voice as a sixteen-year-old girl. Once you’ve defined that voice, make sure you’re being authentic and don’t be afraid to be a little playful. Elamin loves @DennyDiner’s content – they’re all about that breakie voice.

Metrics: For Buzzfeed, they’re data-driven company and are very focused on how shareable their content is. They have even defined their own social measurement around this called ‘”Social Lift.” For brands, you should always been reviewing what you’ve done in the past and keep learning and tweaking from successful campaigns. For agencies, it’s important for us to educate our clients on the metrics and how they differ from traditional advertising metrics.

If you weren’t able to make it out, take a look at our video recap:

Or the evening’s activity on Twitter here:

Katie Boland is a Senior Consultant at ruckus Digital.