Not Child’s Play: The economic influence of Generation Z

A new generation of consumers is growing up quickly and has increasing economic influence. This cohort immediately follows Millennials, but they’re vastly different than their older peers. Meet Generation Z.

Gen Zers are those born between 1995 and 2010. The oldest members in this generation are just turning 21-years-old, some are getting their driver’s licenses and the youngest are still in elementary school.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently conducted a study of this generation to help brands understand how these young consumers impact the family wallet. A few noteworthy themes emerged in what motivates Gen Z and how this bears on their spending power.

First, this generation grew up during the recession. Accordingly, they really care about the value a product, service or experience as much as the quality. While two thirds of this generation noted quality is the top factor in choosing brands, just as many (65%) want to get a lot for their money with discounts, coupons and rewards programs.

Gen Z was raised in a family democracy with parent consulting their children before making decisions. Parents seek their kids’ opinions on purchases specifically for them such as toys and apparel as well as family choices such as where to eat and vacation. 70% of Gen Zers surveyed influence family spending and their parents agree. The NRF shares, “Of the more than 1,000 parents of Gen Zers surveyed, 67% said they get their child’s input before making a purchase.”

 Lastly, Gen Z is the first set of true digital natives with technology ubiquitous to their upbringing. They’re accustomed to the urgency and connectedness of having never known a world without the Internet. Perhaps this is why 98% of Gen Z survey respondents make their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. There is no lull between an online order and shipment delivery. The immediacy of a brick-and-mortar transaction allows Gen Zers taking home their purchase instantly. 

With the back-to-school season approaching in the coming months, the target shoppers are members of Gen Z and their families. This NRF survey offer insights to inform Gen Z marketing for this critical retail season. 

New Season, New Intern: Meet Tracy Monk

Hello, everyone! My name is Tracy Monk and I am joining the Curator team as an intern this summer. I will be starting my junior year at San Diego State University this fall, and am majoring in business with an emphasis in marketing. I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to work alongside the creative and unique members of the Curator team. I’m looking forward to being able to combine my real-world experience with the concepts I’ve learned in my college classes.

New Season, New Intern: Meet Tracy MonkAlthough I spend most of my year in San Diego, I am a Seattleite at heart. I still live in my childhood home in Bellevue and love the Pacific Northwest, but I like to pretend that, after my two years in San Diego I’m quickly becoming a Southern California girl. I complain when it rains, I only drink my coffee iced and if it drops one degree below 65, you will find me wearing my warmest jacket.

When I’m not out pursuing my career dreams, you’ll probably find me exploring new cities with a coffee in one hand and a camera in the other, soaking up all the San Diego sun at the beach or eating at a trendy new brunch spot! When I’m back home and the Seattle weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities (which, as you know, is often), you’ll find me curled up on the couch watching a movie from my extensive collection of DVD’s. On the rare occasion that I’m feeling athletic, you might just find me on a mountain taking in the beautiful scenery that Washington has to offer.

Say Hello to Our New Intern: Holly Warendorf

Hey! My name is Holly Warendorf and I am one of the new summer interns here at Curator PR. I will be entering my senior year in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management this fall where I am studying marketing and business analytics. I was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington and am so excited to return home for a few months. I can’t wait to enjoy another Seattle summer of boating on Lake Washington, going to Mariners games and, of course, learning more about the world of PR here at Curator!

I am returning home from a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark—if you haven’t been, I highly recommend you add it to your list. Copenhagen is a magical little city. It has colorful architecture, charming canals and the most amazing food. I had the privilege of spending five months gallivanting through Denmark and the rest of Europe to amazing places like Amsterdam, San Sebastian, Munich, Prague and Stockholm. Even though I do have a slight case of the Post Abroad Blues, I am still thrilled to be back in the States. I am looking forward to applying what I learned overseas at Copenhagen Business School to what I will be doing here this summer!

When I am not in class, interning or traveling, you can probably find me watching some kind of comedy— I love a good laugh. I’m not ashamed to say I think I have seen every single stand-up special on Netflix. John Mulaney is by far my favorite, and I have watched his routines so many times I can probably recite them word-for-word. I am also a dedicated SNL follower. I made sure to watch each new show live during my time in Europe, despite the fact I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to watch because of the a nine-hour time difference.

Month of May

Happy Friday! It’s been a crazy month here at Curator as we keep up with our amazing clients and prepare to move into our new building next week. Lots of exciting things have been going on and summer is sneaking up fast, but before we look ahead, let’s slow down and take a look at some of our favorite client coverage from last month!

For our client Simon Property Group, we partnered with incredible fashion and lifestyle bloggers to highlight malls’ Mother’s Day steals and deals, as well as fundraising events for Susan G. Komen. Additionally, our client Ably was featured in GOLF as must-have, active apparel for golf trips, and our client Chooka in Denver Life, featuring fun footwear designs and styles to make a true spring statement!

Check out more of our clients in the links below!

Client Coverage:

Small Business Week: Colorado Mills mall makes local retailers part of its mix, Denver Business Journal

10 Eco-Friendly Brands to Add to Your Suitcase, Drink Tea & Travel

Henry’s Tavern Planning Two New Offshoots This Summer, Seattle Eater

2017 Local Food Heroes, Edible Austin

The New Bee Bubble, Edible Austin

A Bloom for Every Room, Gentry Home

Budget-Friendly Outfits from Santa Rosa Plaza, Whiskey and Lace

The New Delicious: Deschutes, Silver City, Great Notion, Heathen and Pyramid Get REAL, The Pour Fool

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas & Local Event, By Brittani Lauren

How to Pack for a Golf Trip, GOLF

Mother’s Day Gifts from Stoneridge Shopping Center, Raspberry Glow

529 New School Gardens Funded by Whole Kids Foundation, Garden Center Magazine

Mother’s Day Gift Guide, Obsessed by Portia

Make a Splash with Spring’s Prettiest Rain Boots, Denver Life

Mother’s Day Shopping at The Shops at Mission Viejo, Cupcakes & Cutlery

What to Buy Your Mom This Mother’s Day, Willamette Week

Empowering Entrepreneurs: Interview with Joy Stoddard, Development and Outreach Director of Whole Planet Foundation, The Good Trade

It’s a Pop Culture Party: ThinkGeek to Celebrate Grand Opening of New Store at Tacoma Mall, GeekWire

Conscious Collaboration: The New Competitive Advantage for Nonprofits, Philanthropy News Digest

Something Else the Romans Conquered in Vegas: Shoppers. Forum Shops, First on the Strip, Mark 25 Years, Los Angeles Times

Walk the Plank, Pokèmon, New AR Game ‘Captain Blimey’ Promises Huge Digital Treasure Hunt, GeekWire

Until Next Time, Curator!

Curator Intern Blog Series

By Lauren Macalalad, PR Intern

My time at Curator has come to an end and I am so incredibly grateful for the experience I’ve had. The team was always so helpful in answering any of my questions and lending me advice as I prepare to graduate from the University of Washington this month.

To the incoming intern, here are several things to keep in mind:

Raise your hand.

If you want the opportunity to work on a certain project or gain experience in a specific area, just ask. You will get a lot more out of your experience if you communicate what you are interested in working on. This is important to your own success as an intern because it shows excitement and initiative, and shows your team that you are willing to take on new challenges. Being curious and acting on that curiosity is the best way to learn and grow.

Be a sponge.

Coming in to Curator, I thought I had the basics of PR down, but I was quick to learn that agencies do the same things differently. That said, learning something new or re-learning something you already knew but in a different format are great opportunities to build upon your knowledge and gain new skills and fresh perspectives on how to tackle problems. No matter how much you know, you’re never done learning.

Own your work.

Although your title is Intern, you play an important role on the team. The projects you work on are your work, so always put 110 percent into everything you do. Over the course of your internship, you will work on countless projects and your role on each project will vary. Sometimes you will be taking the first swing at a pitch, or the team may need to you sift through a media list and update information, but whatever it is, every now and then, take a step back to reflect on what you’ve done and be proud of it.

Curator, thank you for bringing me onto the team and investing in my personal and professional development. I enjoyed all the opportunities to contribute to Curator’s work in various capacities and can’t wait to see where the skills I learned will take me next! Looking ahead, I’m super excited to take what I learned at Curator and continue pursuing a career in PR. Thanks so much!!!

All my best,

Lauren Macalalad

This blog was written as a part of Curator’s Intern Blog Series. The author, Lauren Macalalad, is a senior at the University of Washington studying communication, Spanish and diversity. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Saying Goodbye to My Curator Internship

 

My time at Curator has come to an end, but before I go, I want to share what I have learned during my 10 weeks as a PR intern. Here are my top 5 takeaways from: Curator’s Internship Program:

1)   Know that you are valuable. One of the things I loved about being part of the Curator team is that I was pulled in on many different projects, which gave me the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills that will be extremely useful for my future career. Every time I assisted with a project, I would get great, constructive feedback. The team would always let me know that the work I was doing was helpful to them and the projects they were completing.

2)   Nothing is minor. Before my internship at Curator, I don’t think I grasped just how large of a role public relations plays in our world; I only understood part of it. In PR, everything is related. Something that may seem very minor or unimportant is actually part of a bigger project and so it is of value. For example, a media list is how PR specialists get in contact with the appropriate journalists, media outlets and social media influencers who will then report on an agency’s many clients. While media list creation can be a tedious task, the reporters and influencers I select make an impact on whether or not we garner coverage for the client.

3)   Be a strategic thinker. In PR, you need to understand how different markets are evolving because you want to make sure your clients get the best coverage in a timely fashion. With the evolution of social media and the Internet, figuring out which platforms are best for specific messages and brands is becoming more complex. As a PR specialist, you have to be not only creative, but also strategic in order to provide meaningful coverage for your clients.

4)   Pay attention to details. As an intern, you may think paying attention to details isn’t very important because someone is always checking your work. However, internships are meant to prepare you for your career so you should always put your best foot forward. I’m not saying that my work at Curator was perfect, but I would take the team’s feedback seriously and update my projects to the best of my ability. You want to try to detect a mistake by yourself or go back to your work and fix things without someone telling you to do it first.

5)   Manage your time well. One of the main things to understand as an intern is how to manage your time. You may be given multiple projects on a given day and you have to be able to assess what is most pressing and needs to be done first and what can wait until other projects are done. This ensures you meet deadlines, but also have the opportunity to work on more projects.

Overall I really enjoyed my time at Curator because I felt like I was part of the team. I had previous internships before, but I felt I learned the most from my time here. The team is smaller than what I had experienced before and I believe that the close-knit environment really helped me get a better understanding of what PR is and what PR specialists do on a day-to-day basis.

Now that this experience is over and graduation is near, I am ready to start a career in communications and hopefully PR. I am very interested in a career in the sports industry, but I am up for anything that comes my way. As an international student, the pressure to find a job is very much on, but I’m hopeful I’ll get to stay in Seattle and, most importantly, the United States.

How Companies and Brands Can Capture Their Audience and Keep Them

Curator Intern Blog Series

By Lauren Macalalad, PR Intern

The rapidly changing digital ecosystem requires companies and brands to change with it. The endless – and at times overwhelming – flow of content and information on websites and social channels have caused me to ignore much of what I see simply because it all seems the same or doesn’t stand out. I have even come to believe that it has shortened my attention span to the point where I can barely stand to read a two-page article, and I find myself resorting to skimming the material instead. Like me, digital users are constantly altering how they react and respond to content, as well as how they navigate online sites, in order to keep up with ever-changing digital platforms.

When Facebook first came out, I would look at virtually all posts since my feed only consisted of my friends’ activities. However, with time comes change and the changes to not only Facebook, but other social channels as well, have made it difficult to filter what pops up on your feed. There is a nonstop stream of posts, advertisements, suggestions and links, among many other things, fighting for users’ attention. From here on out, it will only become more difficult for companies and brands to successfully reach their target audience, unless they implement the best practices to capture their audience and keep them engaged.

Below are three strategies companies and brands can use to stand out online.

1. Always provide an attractive and compelling visual to the story, social post, advertisement or whatever it may be. It is almost an unspoken rule at this point, but sometimes companies will use a visual that either doesn’t add much to the message or even distracts and subtracts from it. A recent blog post published on My Content Co explained that our brains are biologically wired to register and respond to visual content, while Inc. presented a list of statistics that highlights the powerful effects visuals have on user activity on several different platforms, thus making clear how influential visuals really are. A picture, video or design that is aesthetically pleasing and nicely complements the company’s message will ensure online recognition, even among an endless stream of content.

2. Convey the message in a brief and concise manner. No one likes to be overwhelmed with text on a page (unless you’re purposefully seeking out a thorough, scholarly research article). It is crucial to consider formatting and how it may affect the audience’s ability or motivation to consume content. Examples of formatting that make information easily digestible include bullet-pointed lists, short-sentence paragraphs and infographics.

3. Utilize social media or online listening tools to help track and evaluate post analytics. These numbers actually mean business and if you’re not paying attention, you probably don’t have the attention of your audience. Several social media platforms already make it easier for businesses to track how well their posts are reaching customers, like Facebook and Instagram. Other helpful sites to get you started are Hootsuite, Google Analytics and Klout. Use these analytics to strategize what and when you post to increase reach and engagement. The data is your guide and can help steer your company and online activity in the right direction.

Ensuring that content and messaging is consistent, concise and compelling will help companies and brands stand out among the millions of other articles and ideas floating around the digital world. Not only will the implementation of these three strategies simply improve content, but it also has the potential to make sure more people actually see that content. In a time where we are overloaded with posts, links and advertisements, it’s important to make it easier for your audience to find and consume your content, otherwise they will scroll right past it.

This blog was written as a part of Curator’s Intern Blog Series. The author, Lauren Macalalad, is a senior at the University of Washington studying communication, Spanish and diversity. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Brands and Influencer Marketing: Activating allies who consumers trust

Last week, I attended a BusinessWire lunch on influencer marketing and PR. Serena Ehrlich, BusinessWire’s director of social and evolving media, discussed the ever-evolving world of influencer marketing and led a great discussion on how brands are (and should) engage with influencers.

Influencer marketing encompasses the efforts by brands to build relationships and engage in partnerships with key individuals who have considerable influence over a desired audience or groups of people. To be clear, influencer marketing isn’t new in the world of PR. There have always been people whose opinions carry considerable weight or inspire others to action. However, the social/digital piece might be something brands haven’t tried yet.

For those brands that haven’t dipped their toe into influencer marketing, it’s important to understand that influencer relations is a natural offshoot to more traditional PR activity. A good PR team should include both influencer and media relations as part of their recommended strategy. The same creative, tenacious and targeted storytelling skills that help secure great media coverage will also help build engagement with the right influencers.

Here’s a data point that can’t be ignored: According to the 2015 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 66 percent of worldwide respondents reported to “completely or somewhat trust” the recommendations of editorial coverage (the product of traditional media relations). Those surveyed said their level of trust went up to 83 percent when the recommendation comes from a third party (an influencer). Folks are 17 percent more likely to trust someone whose opinion they hold in high regard than they are to trust a traditional article in a magazine or newspaper. That’s huge.

At Curator, we’re big believers in the power of influencers. In 2016, our client Ably launched a line of technologically advanced clothing that repels liquids, stains and odors. They knew the revolutionary clothing would appeal to travelers who thrive on adventure, so our team rolled up our sleeves and researched the top influencers who were out there creating inspiring digital and social content about their travel adventures. Then, we worked to get Ably’s clothing into their hands and encourage them to give it a try. We negotiated both paid and earned relationships. Traditional media relations was key to generating widespread awareness for Ably, but influencers added a layer of credibility from real people who could talk about how the products performed during their travels. They shared compelling testimonials from their blog or social media channels and that content inspired site visits and drove sales.

Whether the client’s goal is to increase sales or website traffic, gain social media followers or inspire app downloads, consumers are more likely to take action based on the recommendation from someone in their life they trust. Brands that create a place for influencer marketing in their marketing strategy (and their marketing budget) are setting themselves up for success. In a world full of skeptics, it is imperative for brands to connect with the issues, activities and people their audience cares about. Influencers are a powerful way to make that connection.

Are We Witnessing the End of Snapchat?

FEATURED IMAGE: BRYCE DURBIN/TECHCRUNCH

FEATURED IMAGE: BRYCE DURBIN/TECHCRUNCH

Curator Intern Blog Series

By Aleximie Holleaux

Last week, Instagram added “face filters” to its stories feature, taking yet another swing at the Snapchat empire. Could this be the final coup that makes Snapchat bow down to Instagram owner and social media giant, Facebook?

The rivalry between the two social media giants is not recent and, in fact, only seems to be growing. Last August, Instagram added “stories" to its platform and now the filters are eerily similar to Snapchat’s lenses, both in how they function and in how they look. Instagram is not denying that they are copying Snapchat, and CEO Kevin Systrom even claimed, "Snapchat has all the credit". When looking at the situation from Instagram’s perspective, it’s clear they see this decision as a no-brainer. Given the app is trying to bring more people together and be a one-stop shop for users looking to share moments of their lives in innovative ways, face filters are a must-have. In fact, the strategy seems to be working extremely well for Instagram. Since the app’s latest update, the app has seen its number of daily users rise to 200 million compared to Snapchat’s declining 165 million users a day.

By cloning Snapchat’s lenses, Instagram isn’t taking away from the popularity of face filters, but rather the exclusivity of the feature that was once only available to Snapchat users. Although loyal snapchatters have yet to switch to Instagram stories, the impact is seen among new users who are now less likely to download Snapchat in the first place. I can see why that would be the case. Why download two separate apps, when you can get both in one?

Influencer content is also impacted by the updates as influencers are found to prefer Instagram stories over Snapchat stories. While the reasons for their preferences aren’t clearly defined, it’s safe to assume there are three main factors: Instagram reaches a bigger audience, is more user friendly and allows users to share external URLs. All are very important to people trying to promote a business and increase following. Not to mention, this makes engaging with followers or fans easier, more personal and more interactive. 

Despite the growing popularity of Instagram, Snapchat is not dead yet and the rivalry is far from over. The little ghost we’re all familiar with is still more advanced technologically, and the time spent per user on the platform still remains higher than that of Instagram users.

Why is this important for PR professionals to understand? Simply put, it confirms that social media platforms are ever changing and persevering to surpass one another. PR professionals, influencers and general users alike need to constantly be on the lookout for changes. The world of media relations is changing largely because of the advancement of social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Users are no longer solely sourcing their facts, inspirations or news from traditional media outlets, but rather interactive, social landscapes. That being said, professionals need to understand the inner workings of each platform, how people are using these channels and when it’s appropriate to message via these apps in order to garner the biggest impact. Not to mention, they need to pay close attention to the updates social media platforms are making across the board, in order to stay on top of trends and further tailor projects and outreach to accommodate these ever-evolving channels. While researches continue to share data such as the best time of day to post and what kind of messages should be shared across which platforms, it’s important PR professionals do their own research so they can stay ahead of those studies and ensure their messages reach their target audience.

This blog was written at a part of Curator’s Intern Blog Series. The author, Aleximie Holleaux, is a senior at the University of Washington studying communication. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter 

Conversations with those on the front lines: Jess Estrada of Fresh Jess

Over a glass of rosé (because it’s finally feeling like spring), we met with Jess Estrada to find out what has changed in the Seattle blogging world since 2009 when she first began her blog Fresh Jess. We learned Jess’ social media pet peeve, what’s currently inspiring her and the surprising thing she wishes more brands did.

Here are a few key takeaways from our conversation!

·        As more people work to position themselves as social influencers, some are building a following through paid methods or bots. Jess prefers to grow her following organically. Her online community illustrates authentic content and engagement.

·        Jess is inspired by people (influencers or otherwise) and brands who are willing to talk about what matters to them in the midst of such a divisive climate, while still living life with joy and optimism.

·        Jess’ weekly local events roundup is one of the most popular features of her blog, allowing her to broaden her appeal to a larger audience of readers.

·        Often brands and PR agencies come to influencers with a specific and pre-planned ask, hoping to make the partnership simple and straightforward. Jess, while appreciating the intent, desires more opportunities to creatively collaborate with brands and to brainstorm together on partnership ideas.

This is the fifth and final blog post in our series on people who are on the front lines of the changing media landscape. If you missed the first four posts in the series, get caught up on insights from the Puget Sound Business Journal, The Evergrey, Seattle Gents co-founders and Obsessed by Portia.