Does marketing need to adapt for the next generation of buyers?

TikTok has become one of the most powerful, yet unpredictable, marketing tools out there. We’re living in a world where a 15 second video of someone unboxing something they bought online can have more influence on a product’s success than a large-scale costly ad campaign.

Many big brands with their fingers on the pulse recognised this new trend a while back, with companies like Nickelodeon, ESPN, and Netflix adding TikTok into their marketing mix. Jumping on hashtag trends, encouraging fan engagement, and even contributing to the current dance challenge hype has enabled global brands to engage with their younger audiences, encourage user-generated content, and partner with relevant influencers.

These are all good things, right?
So, what’s the catch?

Sure, new trends shouldn’t be ignored by marketers – it’s our job to stay up to date and not be naive – but we need to be wary of leaning on them too much. Social media and social advertising can produce great short-term results for brands (in terms of click through rates and engagement) but when used in isolation, brands will usually have a lower Market Share and Share of Voice.

As it happens, Gen-Z have kindly coined a new phrase that indirectly describes this notion of ‘short-termism’ – cheugy.

Cheugy (adj.) | [chew.gee]

The opposite of trendy. Used when someone still follows out of date trends. This can include, but not be limited to, fashion, habits on social media, and usage of slang.

As soon as this term is associated with a product or brand, it produces negative connotations for a whole generation and anyone else desperately attempting to hold onto their youth. But the problem is, it’s being applied to things that were considered ‘cool’ no less than six months ago, resulting in very short-lived highs for popular products and rapid declines in popularity once they’ve had their five minutes of fame.

This whole phenomenon is reminiscent of the infamous Kylie Jenner tweet that simply stated, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad,” which caused Snapchat’s stock to almost instantly plummet.

While people might resonate with companies if they are able to keep their finger on the pulse and post TikToks with trending audios, that resonance will not last long because these audio/dance trends do not have the legs to go the distance and remain relevant 10 years from now. (I mean, no-one’s doing the Savage Love dance trend now and barely a year has gone by since that dominated everyone’s feed).

Key takeaways_

If you want to reach a wide audience and build a brand that will stand the test of time, you cannot fully rely on the short-term uptake of customers from the likes of a viral video.

Sure, keeping the attention of a younger audience will require having your finger on the pulse in order to keep up with the trends relevant to your business’ customer base, but this will not necessarily create brand loyalty down the line. 

Print, TV, and other traditional long-term advertising methods should work in harmony with any short-term methods as it is only through a combination of long-term and short-term activities that brands will experience sustained growth and success.Don’t be a cheug.
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