April 29, 2024

The Age of Authenticity: How Brands Can Win Back Gen Z and Millennial Consumers

The Age of Authenticity: How Brands Can Win Back Gen Z and Millennial Consumers

In an era where brand authenticity is more critical than ever, especially among Gen Z and millennials, it’s essential for companies to communicate genuinely and support causes important to their audience.

A staggering 83% of Gen Z shoppers emphasize the importance of buying from brands they trust​​, highlighting the need for brands to foster a genuine connection.

So, how can you make sure your organization is showing up authentically on social media?

 We’ll walk you through the importance of user-generated content (UGC) strategy and the power of partnering with content creators. Let’s dive in!

How to Incorporate UGC Into Your Content Strategy

User-generated content (UGC) remains a powerful tool for marketers. With Gen Z and millennials comprising a significant portion of the U.S. population, these groups continue to prefer authentic content that resonates with their values. 

According to AdAge, UGC is the modern form of word-of-mouth marketing, which already drives $6 trillion in annual global spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales.

A prime example of this in 2024 is Kourtney Kardashian’s wellness brand, Lemme, which has effectively utilized UGC to promote its range of health and wellness products. 

By encouraging customers to share their personal experiences and results on social media, Lemme capitalizes on authentic testimonials and real-life success stories. This not only enhances the brand’s credibility but also fosters a strong community of loyal users who see tangible benefits in their everyday lives​


Apple‘s “Shot on iPhone” campaign is another example of UGC. This initiative encourages users to capture stunning photographs with their iPhones, which Apple then features in its global marketing campaigns. 

This not only showcases the capabilities of the iPhone camera but also emphasizes the creativity of its users, building a deep sense of community and brand loyalty. This strategy underlines the power of authenticity in UGC by letting real customers tell their stories through visuals, enhancing credibility and relatability among target consumers.


The Power of Influencer-Generated Content

Much like UGC, influencer-generated content is hyper-relatable and features real people allowing brands to share messaging through accessible non-branded posts. Influencer-generated content is made for brands to utilize on their owned social channels and is not distributed on influencer’s feeds. 

Influencer-generated content functions much in the way UGC does, but here brands are partnering with specific creators. The creators will do all the work to shoot and develop the assets your brand desires. This takes significant time off of your team’s plate to film and produce content and allows your feeds to have more human and approachable posts.

RELATED: STN Digital x Under Armour: Influencer Marketing Campaign Reaches 800K + and 1 Million + Impressions

These partnerships are particularly useful for brands looking to engage audiences on TikTok. We know this is a platform that is driven by trends and authenticity. It’s also one of Gen Z’s favorite spaces to spend time. Around 40% of the users now use the platform for search queries, bypassing traditional search engines like Google. 

Click HERE to learn how to reach Gen Z on social. 

Chipotle has partnered with a group of ambassadors to create video content for their TikTok account. Through this influencer-generated content, Chipotle is able to share new menu items, features in their app, and promote their brand in a way that feels authentic and natural to followers.

When Brands Should Partner with Macro Influencers

If you’ve successfully leveraged UGC and micro-influencer collaborations, stepping up to a macro influencer could amplify your brand’s reach significantly. It’s essential to maintain genuine connections at this level as well. Opt for influencers who are genuine fans of your brand to foster a credible connection with their followers.

Take Poppi’s partnership with Alix Earle during Coachella as an example. Knowing that Alix was already a fan of Poppi, the brand collaborated with her to launch their new lemon-lime flavor. This partnership felt natural and authentic, resonating well with both Alix’s audience and Poppi’s target market. 

The campaign capitalized on the festival’s high energy and visibility, driving significant engagement and boosting brand awareness during a key product launch. Such strategic partnerships can lead to increased brand loyalty and higher sales, mirroring the success seen by Dunkin’ with Charli D’Amelio.


@alixearle Welcome to Casa Poppi #coachearlea 🍋🍋‍🟩 @Ashtin Earle @kristin konefal @sallycarden @zz @patrick ta ♬ TiK ToK - Kesha
Brand Trust and Consumer Engagement

Organizations can win  Gen Z and millennial audiences by sharing authentic, people-focused content on social media. Whether through UGC, influencer-generated content, or partnerships with macro influencers, consumers respond when brands show up authentically on social media

Today, nearly 79% of Gen Z consumers state that trust in a brand is more critical than ever, influencing their shopping behaviors and brand loyalty significantly more than other generations. 

Pro Tip: When determining which macro influencer to partner with don’t base your decision solely on follower count. Take a look at the overlap between the influencer’s audience and your own target audience. This will make a huge difference in the overall success of your campaign.

If you’re interested in learning more about how organizations can win back Gen Z and millennial consumers through authentic content, contact our team of experts


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