D1 A Perspectives 9 7 Final

Mind the Gap: How a Millennial and a Gen Z-er Interact With Brands They Love

by Danielle Lee and Rob Longert

This month we’re taking a look at collaboration, from discovering new ways of partnering at work to spotlighting the new weird brand partnerships that we’re definitely here for.

From memes dropped in Slack to their favorite foods, Gen Zs and Millennials aren’t always on the same page—sometimes they don’t even speak the same language. With more than half the country working remotely for over a year, the gap between these two generations can sometimes feel bigger than ever.

In the spirit of good collaboration, we figured it was time to help these generations understand one another just a little bit better–and what better topic than letting them riff on brands they love, and maybe learn something about one another in the process?

We asked one Gen Z and one Millennial D1Aer-- Digital Strategy Coordinator Danielle Lee (Gen Z) and Co-Founder and Managing Partner Rob Longert (Millennial) a super simple question: what brands do you stan, and why?

Rob Longert, Co-Founder and Managing Partner

  • Peloton: “It’s a brand I engage with multiple times a week. The Facebook Group (#client) keeps me up to speed on what’s going on, and it also feels like a huge support system. Part of what I love about Peloton is the community aspect. At a micro-level, for those in my close knit friends and family group that have a Peloton, it’s brought us closer, especially during the pandemic where we can have a shared, virtual experience. At a macro-level, I am part of a community of people who all have something in common and we are there to support each other at every step of our fitness journeys.”

Peloton
CREDIT: FORBES
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: “I have to give the TMNT a shoutout… I loved them growing up, but took a pause with them as I got older… it wasn’t a break up, but more of a break. But in 2009 I had the opportunity to work on their 25th anniversary, and I haven’t looked back. I follow TMNT fans on Twitter, love seeing fan art and will be the first to see a new movie when it comes out. There’s something about the franchise that means a lot to me because of the memories I have of them from the past. And now I’m passing that along to my kid, too.”
Tmnt
CREDIT: GAMESPOT
  • Nike (#client): “I’ve always loved the Nike brand and the connection that comes with feeling part of it. Whether I was wearing my favorite NBA player’s shoes as a kid or finding those same shoes decades later, the Swoosh is a must-have and must-follow brand for me. Similar to TMNT, there’s definitely a nostalgia factor where I want to buy the same shoes I had in 8th grade, but there’s also an innovative side to the brand where I’m constantly impressed by what’s new and what’s coming next.”

Nike
CREDIT: HOUSE OF HEAT

Danielle Lee, Digital Strategy Coordinator

  • Unique Markets: “I follow this brand on Instagram and they post content about their pop-up events and the small businesses they have as vendors. I like knowing what small businesses are in my area, especially their stories, so I’m usually reading Unique Markets' posts on these businesses or going through its Instagram highlights to find new ones to discover. Fun fact: They host their LA market at Day One’s LA office.”

Uniquemarkets
CREDIT: UNIQUEMARKETS
  • Hey Rooted: "Even though I’ve never purchased from Hey Rooted at all, I love their Instagram posts. They post memes about their plants and I find them very funny, which makes me either repost them, share them with friends, or do both."
  • Netflix: "Again, I love memes and Netflix is always posting ones involving specific scenes or characters from their shows. If they’re from the ones I watch, I will share them with my friends hoping they will understand the reference. Usually they don’t and that either results in them checking out the show or them moving on with their lives. However, if I don’t know the shows but find their memes funny, I’d at least check out the trailers and maybe watch shows if the trailers got me hooked."

Takeaways:

Rob: “I often think about what drives me to love a brand, and I think it comes down to two factors. The brands I mentioned that I love happen to check both boxes but they don’t always have to, and those boxes are brand experience and the communities they create.

The experience is all about the value exchange… what about the brand helps me in my daily life? It’s rational and it typically comes down to what makes a product great. The community layer is the emotional side and it’s really where a brand can build a connection with me, often dictating how engaged I am with that brand."

Danielle: “Feeling a part of brand communities doesn't necessarily need to happen from partaking in their product or services. I think those things help, but at least for me it was my interest in their content and sense of humor that got me. For example, I have never bought a plant from Hey Rooted and don’t know when I will, but I do enjoy their content and, from it, have even recommended their plants to my friends.

Strong communities can be built off of nostalgia, like Rob mentioned, but they’re not necessarily required. I don’t really engage with brands from my childhood. As long as the brand is tapping into something about me, whether it be my sense of humor, topics that I’m interested in, they have me reacting for sure, especially if brands are trying to get to know me, rather than them making me get to know them.

With Unique Markets, their responses to my comments or dm’s feel intentional and authentic, where they’re not replying with heart eye emojis but rather sparking a conversation with me. It comes off as genuine and feels like I'm forming a personal relationship with them.”