Understanding Audience Values and How They Affect Ad Strategyby Kari Schroeder on June 30, 2021Advertising
Why Is It Important?
It builds trust. Simple as that. If a customer or potential customer knows the values, they will shop or support a brand. By reflecting values and instilling trust through inclusivity and connection, a brand can portray itself to consumers as a brand built just for them.
Important Factors To Consider
Generational values: These values have started to drive consumer engagement, brand loyalty, and expectations. Gen Z and Millennials tend to gravitate toward values of knowledge and curiosity, Gen X and Baby Boomers are drawn to family, honesty, authenticity, relationships, and working hard. With these values in mind, 67% of Gen Z has reported choosing to support or not support a brand based on its values if they did not align with their own.
Is taking a social or political stand important?
Only 1/3 of brands think it strengthens their consumer relationship. That being said, 80% of people (consumers) think that brands should be involved in solving societal problems; It is clearly more important than brands think. An example of a brand seeing success promoting their values is Nike and the brand’s support of Colin Kaepernick. While some people were upset and talking of boycotting the brand the majority response was positive and strengthened Nike’s brand reputation as well as well as their overall financial success in comparison to competitors since taking this stance in 2018.
This information is important to understand your audience’s values and tailor messaging accordingly in order to resonate based on generational factors.
Digital ad strategy is more important for Gen X and Millennials than it is for Gen Z and Boomers. As a rule, internet usage by Millennials and Gen X is double that of Gen Z and Baby Boomers. Meaning that digital ads are a much more efficient way to reach Gen X and Millennials than it is for Gen Z and Boomers. Some of this usage could be due to the percentage of the population that falls into these categories as the Boomer generation is starting to become smaller, and a good portion of Gen Z is quite young.
The chart below shows the specific breakdown by percentage of internet users per generation:
In the past, many brands have steered clear of making their values or beliefs known through their advertising for fear of losing or not acquiring new customers. However, in today’s society, evidence shows that it is more important than ever to clearly express company values, beliefs, involvement in societal issues, etc. as part of an advertising strategy. Playing it safe has become the more damaging option in recent years.
With younger generations especially, indicating their proclivity to brand support being directly related to these values is driving an added importance to focus on them. The younger generations are what is our future and shaping strategies of brands worldwide; If brands fail to keep up or chose to take the safe route, it will eventually become detrimental.
According to eMarketer, “By 2023, digital is expected to comprise nearly two-thirds of ad spend.” So, while it is crucial to establish shared meaning and purpose with your customers, it’s especially important to do so in your digital channels.”
Creating ad content that promotes diversity, inclusion, prominent social issues, and family/relationships, (or any combination of these) with and honest and authentic messaging based on brand values would be the best approach based on the previously stated information.
Knowing all of this, it becomes imperative for brands to consider their audiences, which generational segment most of their audiences come from, and what they are most drawn to. Following that, it is best to determine how brand values play into those audiences and what they care about to ensure the best messaging is reaching the audiences accordingly.
As some values overlap between generational segments, it’s possible and encouraged to create a strategy that appeals to multiple or all segments with one message or concept. This will help with message alignment across all digital ads, website, and other marketing efforts to ensure the same values are being portrayed across all aspects of the brand.