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How Brands Can Tap Into The Power of Gen Z

“When women support other women, we all shine,” Shelly Zalis, the CEO and founder of The Female Quotient, told the crowd at the Her Campus Media College Marketing Summit in New York City last week. This practice of cultivating a culture of collaboration among women, known as “Shine Theory,” is central to Zalis’ vision and lies at the core of The FQ Lounge @ Campus program.

Through the FQ Lounge @ Campus, the Female Quotient, in partnership with SAP Next-Gen, is identifying untapped talent among female college students and offers a broad range of services to support professional development, such as networking, career coaching, and inspirational talks with global business leaders. Sharing a common mission, Her Campus Media (HCM) is a global community and online media brand for college women, which has built its following by inspiring female millennial and Gen Z audiences.

Leadership isn’t about age; it’s about action. The Female Quotient hosted Her Campus Media (HCM) at the College Marketing Summit to get answers to this question: How do you educate professionals and brand representatives about the importance of engaging authentically with future female leaders?

Panel interviews with current college students, social media influencers, and brand experts provided guests with insider knowledge about how to leverage this powerful market.  Here are some key takeaways:

Female Quotient CEO speaking at the Her Campus Media College Marketing Summit

Shelley Zalis  at the Her Campus Media College Marketing Summit

 

Brands who speak to young women will improve their bottom line.

Women have the power to set brand standards and expectations. However, some 29% of women say women are still inaccurately or negatively represented in advertising, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). Brands who aren’t connecting with the female audience are missing out because more than 80% of all consumer purchases in the U.S. are made by women.

Sales growth performance, for example, increases by 26% in gender-equal ads, the ANA reports. College women confirm that inclusive representation, progressive company values, and online peer reviews influence their spending decisions as well as where they aspire to work after graduation.

 

Collaboration, authenticity, and purpose are imperative for establishing a successful brand identity.

Moreover, a panel of influencers at the event stressed the benefits of social media in amplifying a unique brand voice, engaging in social responsibility, and connecting with a larger community of female followers. The brand panelists echoed the value of adopting omnichannel marketing strategies that embrace diversity.

 

Gen Zers want to channel their passion into action.

Simply raising brand awareness is not enough. Brands can also engage Gen Zers to unite around the mission of equality and to “Think forward and act in the moment,” as Zalis says.

The FQ Lounge @ Campus is not only a platform for brands to connect with young women, but it also gives female college students the tools and networks to discover their unique personal brands. College women can claim their rightful influence over a company’s decision to promote diversity in its leadership and branding. In turn, diversity at the top will be more than just a trend: It will inspire young women to become executives, entrepreneurs, and change-makers in life after college.

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For more on how brands can be a force for good, check out:

Take 5: How to Make Ads More Gender Equal and Shift Culture

Katie Couric and Other Top Leaders on the State of Women in Media & Ads

A Surprising Reason for Gender Inequality in Ads—And How To Fix It