5 changes marketers can make to get their brand Gen-Z ready in 2023

Authored by Radhika Raheja, Head of Planning and Strategy, Schbang. 

Marketing to Gen-Z comes with its fair share of challenges. It may seem daunting, but with the right strategy in your arsenal, it is as simple as marketing to any other generation. 

There are a handful of Indian brands that have come close to building affinity with this audience. However, more often than not, this results from marketers suffering from chronic procrastination. In an era of constant change, the inability to adapt your brand’s marketing approach to this cohort is the perfect recipe for becoming irrelevant. 

If you think of it, every few years, you reach a spot when you feel a desperate need to re-write your marketing rule book. well, latch on to that feeling! The feeling of wanting to reconsider your approach and understand the nuances of new platforms and a fresh set of people. Now more than ever is the time to review, rethink and renew your strategy. Not just for every campaign but for your brand altogether. Most importantly, build a framework adaptable to constant change and apply a 2-year refresh rule! 

Most conglomerates still need to take the time to re-invent their approach and become relevant to this audience. This has led to a budding population with tremendous spending power shopping from young & local brands, creators and artists. 

According to EY’s World Bank Population projections , 27% of the Indian population (about 375 million people) is Gen-Z, anyone born between 1995 to 2015. This cohort comprises 1.8 billion people globally, making up 24% of the world’s population. 

So let’s understand the changes we can bring about to connect with this audience.

Start with setting a foundational rule with this generation – do not assume. It is a generation of digital natives, changemakers and challengers. 

Zoomers are not afraid of voicing their opinions and dropping truth bombs. To put it in simple terms, they are not only a generation with a new school of thought but also a generation that is indirectly schooling elders about how to think. 

In 2023, we have to rewrite some chapters of our marketing rule book. 


  • Begin with soul-searching your brand and its potential customer


This audience has grown up watching ads with romanticised products, functional benefits & celebrity endorsements. But, in every Ad they do not skip, they look for a story or purpose they can relate to.

According to a BBC study of Gen Z , 80% of Indian Gen Z respondents said that authenticity plays an influential role in their choice of brands. 

Here is an example of how McDonald’s used the authentic voice of this generation to give a ‘real’ take on festivals. Furthermore, they brought to life a consumer truth with absolute subtlety, the consumer insight that genuine excitement during every festival revolves around the meals eaten together.

While this is a decent attempt at being relevant to Gen-Z, we need to see them push the needle more.

Festivals make families | Meals Make Families | McDonald's India | Hindi

If you want to be remembered, consumer research is your best friend.

Cadbury attempted to depict ‘best feeling’ in a 6-second asset, which is an outdated insight and brand tone. This definitely would fall on my ‘don’t do’ list.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Bites - The best feeling, in a Bite.


  • Learn from young challenger brands


Young challenger brands are setting new standards. 

According to the BBC, the top aspirations for Gen-Z in India are being successful, authentic/true to yourself and at peace.

Mokobara’s simple brand promises to be quite crisp and beautiful. They claim to be on a mission to help folks who are #GoingPlaces to travel with ease and look sharp, coupled with the consumer callout of #JoinTheMovement has truly nailed a positioning that appeals to zoomers.

And that’s not all; their fresh take on visual identity creation is the cherry on top of their brand positioning strategy. Choosing to go with an astronaut as the face of the brand is one of the smartest decisions, which enables them to tap into what modern travel will feel & look like even 5 years from now.




  • Think Local, Not And Global 

Gen-Z is the most exposed to global trends and also consumes content in local languages. Master the art of localising global ideas, conversations and trends. Here’s an example of Netflix touching the hearts of fans across the country with an anthem that spoke many languages simultaneously for an international show.

The Money Heist Fan Anthem | Anil Kapoor, Rana Daggubati, Vikrant Massey, Shruti Haasan & More!


  • Surprise a Millennial & relate to Gen-Z 


When you are pre-testing ads for this audience, test them with Gen-Z & Millennials. Hope to surprise the millennials and be relatable to Gen-Z.

Accept that it may not always be possible to surprise a Gen-Z, but it is important to be relatable. 

Interact with this audience and understand their everyday stories to unlock the power of keeping them engaged even with long-format content. 

If Cinderella was a Gen Z ft @Tarini Shah and @Agasthya Shah


  • Enhance their digital shopping experience to increase conversions


If you’re a D2C brand, upgrade your website to provide consumers with an immersive product experience. Use AR, VR & 3D to bridge the gap between digital and physical. 2023 will be the year you will see zoomers shop from platforms that provide experiences that satisfy and surprise them while they shop from home. 

For example, Nike has developed a feature within their app which uses augmented reality to scan your feet and determine the shoe that fits your right. 

Brands will upgrade to such shopping experiences throughout the year, and it’s time to get on the bandwagon if you do not want to be left behind.

Marketing to Gen-Z in 2023 is about innovating a new approach across the different touchpoints of the consumer journey. So, it’s time for all of us to gear up for a new year of makeovers! 


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