Targeting Z’s with Back to School ecommerce

All About Gen Z

Generation Z already? You better believe it! Although this is the generation still being born, they are already heavily influencing the current and future spending trends. Younger children are already influenced by the digital era and are fully immersed in the wide range of entertainment provided through mobile. Parents too are now using mobile devices to entertain their children, keeping them busy and quiet. The convenience that digital devices offer both adults and children are growing by each generation. With high exposure to news and media, this generation Z is growing up more aware and alert of the world around them. In other words, Z’s are growing up much faster than generations of the past. This generation is fully immersed in gaming and social connections far beyond generation Y.

Since this generation ranges from the early 1990’s to currently being born, there is a significant age gap, but their characteristics are still very similar. Entirely dependent upon technology, they work and behave differently (as consumers and employees) since they grew up in an entirely different world from baby boomers. Gen Z is said to have a more “realistic” approach to life when compared to Gen Y’s “aspirational” or “optimistic” outlook.

Why Should Brands Care About Gen Z?
  • They are impacting the market: Generation Z has statistically spent more than any past generation at their age. This being said, teens and preteens have the most substantial impact on the economy and are more likely to “like” their favorite brands on social media outlets. Unlike other generations, Z’s are image focused, meaning they are drawn to media with photos and are more likely to interpret abstract symbols and logos.
  • They are the influencers: Generation Z is projected to have a major influence on the market, and rely almost entirely on ecommerce and digital. With the back to school season just around the corner, ecommerce is said to have the higher traffic than ever before. Despite Generation Z being young, they influence the market.
  • They want the latest & greatest: Smart brands are ahead of the curve, and are already impacting this young generation. As for small children, advertisers have it easy. Parents are the customers, but the child is the consumer. This means that young children who “have to have” the newest digital gadgets are influencing what purchases are made this season.
  • They’re looking for deals: This is where ecommerce comes in. The convenience that mobile offers makes ecommerce only that much more enticing. Companies that offer free shipping and next day delivery are simply adding value to their brands.
  • They appreciate value-added brands: Gen Z’s personality, attitude and perspective towards a brand is greatly influenced by media messages through advertising. A successful brand targeting Generation Z is intuitive to the needs of this generation. Being aware of a connected and seamless world of friends and entertainment offers brands the ability to reach their target in entirely new manner.
  • They want quick and easy: When relying on ecommerce for their shopping needs, promotions and free shipping lures them in. Brands that are dedicated to the cause (emphasizing niche markets) are more likely to be a success by directly targeting one industry of consumers. Pay attention brands! Generation Z’s are far less brand loyal – looking for the best deals, the most convenience and the next best option. So as a brand looking to target this up-and-coming generation, stay top of mind and adapt quickly.

“As an advertiser, your primary goal should be focused on pulling in an online presence and offering incentives.”

Although Generation Z may create more challenges for advertisers, brands can reach this generation by proving they are reliable and add value. Instilling confidence in this generation can help brands develop a fan base. Having grown up amidst major innovation and social change, Z’s are inquisitive and globally conscious. Although young, they are already affecting the market by offering suggestions, solving problems, and proving their savvy understanding. Gen Z is growing up in a world where technology is omnipresent, materialism is flourishing, and “happiness” is the definitive goal.

Everything Advertisers Need to Know About Marketing to Gen X

If you’re asking yourself “Generation X… Wait, now which one is that?”, fear not, we understand it can get confusing. Just think the generation that’s directly between Baby Boomers and Gen Y. The dates range from 1965 to 1978, putting these consumers in their 30s to late 40s. Although targeting the up and coming generations are important, as an advertiser, you can’t neglect an extremely vital generation of unique consumers.

For starters, Generation X has the largest buying power in the consumer market today. For you advertisers out there, this generation’s values are front-and-center, making marketing to them a whole lot easier. X’ers are all about family. They work less than baby boomers, since they value the balance between work and play. When you look back at this generation today, you’ll find that Gen X has redefined work and family.

Take a look at brands that do it best: These simple steps are sure to win their hearts:

  • Always be authentic

    Marketing to Gen X

Unlike Generation Y’s need for high energy and extreme advertising, X’ers prefer advertising that takes a softer, calmer approach and exemplifies real-world situations. Take Volkswagen Darth Vader commercial for instance, it takes a classic approach that advertises in a heart-warming, family friendly manner.


  • Paint a picture in their mind

    Advertising to Generation X

So many times you watch a commercial and forget it as soon at it’s over. When you advertise in a manner that depicts your target audience’s values, you capture them in a way that builds strong brand recognition and build loyal customers who appreciate your honesty. In order to leave a lasting impression, keep your focus on displaying the importance of family. Subaru’s car commercials do it best. Their advertisements show a little girl sitting in the driver’s seat getting ready to drive and a concerned father saying goodbye, only to reveal at the end that this young girl is really a young adult. The real-world approach that this brand takes is absolutely fantastic because it expresses that in the end, family is what matters most.

  • Keep it simple

    Marketing to Generation X

There’s no need to be elaborate, just be up front. Coca Cola does a great job of keeping a classic approach that uses “happiness” as its one and only slogan. Whether you’re a parent or child, happiness is universal desire. The emphasis on caring and sharing is a heart-warming way to advertise to generation X– or any generation.


  • Understand their values

    Gen X MarketLast, but not least, lets look at MasterCard. Their “priceless” campaign has lasted simply because everyone can relate. Their slogan says it best, “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard”. They couldn’t have said it better. Real-world situations depict of a balanced life, speaking volumes to this generation. Becoming one of the industry’s most admired campaigns, it raised viewer’s awareness and built lasting brand loyalty.


This generation has seen an insurmountable amount of change. They grew up much different from the children in today’s society, but they have adapted to a new world of ambitious progression. Despite having a smaller population from other generations, Generation X has a unique impact on the market. Advertisements that Generation X can identify with use a realistic and genuine approach.

Best Practices: Content Writing for SEO

I’m often asked, “What is the single most important thing a company can do to enhance their SEO campaign?” Every time, I reply: content. The seo content creationcreation of fresh content will generate more visits to your website from non-branded keywords—meaning more visits from people who didn’t know your brand existed, or didn’t recognize your brand as being able to satisfy their needs.

Search engines, like Google and Bing, have a goal to present the most relevant results to users. If Google presents you with great results time after time, then they will maintain their market leadership, and brands will continue to pay for ads. Since search engines want relevance, we must show them how relevant our content is, so we can appear higher in search engine results pages (SERP).

A major component of SEO is on-page optimization—the practice of letting search engines know what the webpage is about. This practice includes the identification and inclusion of keywords within the:

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description
  • Alt Tag (if images exist within the content area)
  • H Tags
  • Content

It’s important to maintain a white hat approach to content writing for SEO— if not, you face the risk of penalization and decreased search impressions.

Here are some best practices to explain how to write SEO content most effectively.

Identify New Keyword Opportunities in Your Industry

Identifying new trends allows you to see what your market is searching and allows you to create optimized content before your competition floods the SERP. Use a tool like Google Trends and find new rising search terms to create a content creation plan.

Optimize Content for 3-5 Keywords per Webpage

Do not try to optimize one page for all of the keywords relevant to your website. You could be the absolute most talented, creative copywriter of our time and no search engine will ever believe your webpage is about car insurance, home insurance, and life insurance. Each page needs one theme. Each page should have 3-5 search phrases that represent exactly what the page is about. If your webpage is about home insurance, the search terms might be: home insurance rates, home insurance quotes, pricing home insurance. This tells search engines that the webpage is perfect for someone looking for home insurance options.

Include Search Phrases Within Content – But Don’t Overdo It

Search engines want to see the search phrases in the content, but they don’t want to see the overstuffing of keywords in an effort to manipulate the system. It doesn’t work and it will destroy your chance of brining in new sales or leads via SEO. Use each search phrase 1-2 times (depending on content length) where it naturally fits. Don’t you hate reading web copy where “fastest pizza delivery in Tampa, FL” is included 20 times? I do. And so does Google.

Link to Additional Pages Within the Website

Within your content area, there might be the opportunity to mention another product or service, so don’t forget to hyperlink the text to that page. For example, in this blog, I discuss content writing for SEO; however, if I need to reference mobile web design services, I would hyperlink the phrase and point it to the mobile design page on the Sparxoo website. This is beneficial for your SEO campaign, as well as helping the user navigate to additional content of potential interest.

H Tags: Use Them, But Don’t Abuse Them

A common SEO mistake I see made is the use of H tags as a style or formatting tool. H tags are designed to be like headers, or sub-headers, but they also serve as an SEO tool. You do not want to make an entire paragraph an H tag because you want the text blue or red. You want to make short phrases H tags to tell the search engines what the content is precisely about. And when appropriate, include a keyword in your H tags.

SEO involves a lot of different components that help your website appear higher in search, but writing content for your SEO efforts is one of the best ways to increase rank and increase traffic—which hopefully leads to an increase in leads and/or sales.

If you would like to discuss your SEO campaign, contact us and speak with a search specialist today.

Why, When, and How Rebrand: A Case Study

You’re not the only one who transformed into your bikini body this summer. American Airlines launched their rebranding campaign, and they plan to rock this summer, and the seasons to come, with their new streamlined and simple look.Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 12.11.13 AM

American Airlines wasn’t exactly struggling… so why rebrand? In this case, there was a catalyst: merging with United Airlines to create “the new American.”

At large, though, rebranding is an interesting tactic, which American Airlines explained perfectly: “We’ve changed our look on the outside to reflect the progress we’ve made on the inside.”

Oftentimes, a rebrand is exemplified by a refreshed visual appearance. Undoubtedly, making things visual has the power to change peoples’ perspective. The goal is to reawaken enticement, and attract more customers. But it isn’t just about the new logo; rebranding also has everything to do with a new brand promise, and an increased offering of brand assets.

American Airlines Rebrand

Certainly the face of a rebrand is a new logo… the face of any brand is a logo. But logos do stand for something. So just like looking good in that bikini required new habits, rebranding isn’t just about the new look – it’s about a redefined promise, symbolized by the new look.

The core of the company stays the same (American Airlines is still an airline that offers the same service), but the rebranding catches peoples’ attention, and attracts them to take a fresh look at the company’s redefined offerings. It’s like a dramatic spring-cleaning, but with a commitment to keep it clean.

For large or oligopoly-type companies in particular, the tendency is that they become the norm. Offering the same service day-in and day-out, the company may start to grow stagnant. Most people book their flight based on availability and price. Yet they’ll buy the “branded” purse for twice the price of another equally functional bag, because it gives them a certain feeling. Rebranding is a great tactic for an Airline to “brand” itself and stand out from other airlines.

How can one airplane stand out from another? Most input costs are the same, and in effect, most prices are the same. They’re all safe (we hope), scheduled, offered at an airport, allow a carry on, and offer pretzels and a back-of-the-seat-TV. So how can a company like an airline become a “brand?” They must differentiate themselves from the competition by offering extra value through brand sentiment, but for the same price.

For American Airlines, this meant a new airplane smell, and an enlivened personality. Then, they communicated the rebrand through a simplistic logo and idealistic videos.

The simplistic logo shows that the company has modernized; it allows them to communicate with today’s consumers, who are enticed by sharp, simple, pristine images. In this age of visual communication, companies who associate their offering with simplistic design can build an emotional attachment with consumers, and their brand message can be easily spread.

By using videos, AA has rebranded with idealistic imagery that made their service seem heroic, passionate and friendly. Through the videos – framed with dramatic music and emotional, human connections – the new AA added life, personality, and faces to the brand. Specifically, they contrast the AA experience with that of a normal airline by

American Airlineschosing better words, loaded with more ethos: flying with AA is flying with skilled experts who have passion for their craft. Even your luggage will be moved by people with ambition.

The new collection of videos is awe-inspiring, with aspirational and invigorating music, and concise statements that highlight AA and United’s evolution through history. You get the feeling that both companies are heroic and innovators in the industry. It’s clear that the New American has been rebranded, and will fulfill its promise as a bigger airline, serving more customers with an improved and efficient experience. To drive the point home, they show the visual combination of their logos into one new logo, so that the improvement resonates with the consumer.

Why, when and how rebrand?

The rebrand examined above was disruptive enough to catch renewed attention and reinvigorate the audience. In effect, the core of the company is no longer just a service, but a brand experience.

Why rebrand:

To change customers’ perspective on the company.

A rebranding brings customers to refresh the way they identify a brand, which ultimately leads to a stronger and more committed customer base.

When rebrand:

When the brand starts becoming just a company.

Without emotion and experience, a brand is just a company; competing to sell, with no time to resonate, engage, and emotionally identify with customers to lock-in their loyalty. When your brand starts blending in with the crowd, it’s time to redefine the brand promise to differentiate the offering from the competition.

How to rebrand:

This is a loaded topic, of course. It depends on the nature of the brand. But it all boils down to three efforts: improve, communicate, and fulfill.

First, add a little something extra to your brand – take the offerings that already exist to the next level, and add some new ones. Then, communicate it in a big way. This way, the entire improvement will make the brand feel new and alive, with a refreshed appearance, noticeable offering, reawakened personality, and newly enticing messaging. Then, the overarching unavoidable, of course: deliver on the new promise that the brand has strategized and communicated. Voila! A rebrand.

Now where to start? Just give us a call whenever you reach a question!

Space Jumps and Real Beauty – A Look at Creative PR Campaigns

The role of public relations is often pushed in the spotlight when a company is in crisis mode – e.g. a Carnival Cruise trip gone wrong or an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. When incidents like this happen, the questions and commentary begin – “Where was the PR team in all of this?” or “What a PR nightmare.” And yes, while PR often involves reacting, successful PR also involves proactive tactics that integrate a brand’s message and generate media coverage.

At Sparxoo, we thought it was time to give kudos to two brands who have been proactive, successful, and most importantly – innovative — in generating positive media coverage.  After careful review of top PR campaigns, we tip our hats to:

Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign – a campaign that encourages confidence in women and Red Bull’s Space Jump – a campaign that supported an unprecedented effort by daredevil Felix Baumgartner to break the sound barrier in his jump from space. Here are a few reasons why we love these campaigns:

DoveDove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign:

#1) Evolving:

This campaign was conceived in 2004, and a decade later, continues to grow and generate news coverage – most recently with the launch of the videos, Dove Real Beauty Sketches in 2013.

#2) Partnerships:

Dove showcased the importance of this campaign, particularly its impact on young women, when it partnered with Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Girls Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. These partnerships garnered media coverage while demonstrating Dove’s continued commitment to this campaign.

#3) Integration:

“Real Beauty” is fully integrated in Dove’s advertising, PR, and marketing efforts. This integration establishes a consistent message across the brand’s platforms.

Red Bull’s Space Jump:


#1) Innovative:

By supporting Baumgartner’s space jump, the Red Bull brand was instantly associated with a ground-breaking and exciting venture to enhance aerospace science, while testing human limits.

#2) Story Angles:

The PR beauty of the Space Jump was the number of stories that the media could cover. From Baumgartner’s preparation for the jump, to the dangers of the jump, to the scientific relevance – Red Bull was consistently featured in a wide-range of stories in a variety of media outlets.

#3) Social:

Not only did millions tune in to watch the historic jump, they tweeted about it.  On the day of the Space Jump, you couldn’t check your twitter or Facebook accounts without seeing #FelixBaumgartner, #RedBull, or #SpaceJump.

Our Take Away: Successful PR is more than crafting appropriate talking points in times of crisis – it’s taking a creative approach to earning positive media exposure for your brand.

American Made Brands for Gen Y (Millennials)

Why are Brands Targeting Millennials?

Much like people, generations have personalities and defining features. Although no one-person is alike, people from the same generation often have common values and similar perspectives due to the time period in which they’re raised. Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y) are said to be self-confident, upbeat, expressive individuals who are open to new ideas. With 7 billion and counting, the world’s population is growing daily, making Millennials the largest generation in American history. Besides being the largest generation, Millennials are on the fast track to becoming the most educated generation on record. Although there is no specific date range for when this generation starts and ends, the rough estimate suggests it defines individuals born between the early 1980’s to early 2000’s.

This being said, Millennials make up roughly 21% of the population and are already making big purchasing decisions that place them in control of the spending. Here’s the run-down: Millennials seek engagement and have a high need for social interaction. They are said to have a limited attention span and are constantly multi-tasking, meaning they want life made easier, quicker, and faster. If you’re wondering how your brand can reach this fast-paced generation, look no further.

5 Key Attributes that Millennials Seek in a Brand

1. Authenticity

Millennials want to connect with brands that are honest in nature and true to themselves. If consumers feel that a brand is truthful and honest, brand loyalty will increase. Keep in mind that developing trustworthy relationships with consumers is critical to maintaining a respectable brand.

NikeWith words like empowerment and entitlement, the “Just do it” slogan embodies a revolutionary marketing campaign that represents a resilient brand. Nike is a perfect example of an authentic brand that takes Millennials by the chokehold. Encompassed by words of inspiration, this brand has shaped a powerful company culture. By focusing solely on the needs of customers, Nike created an entirely original marketing approach. Nike is greatly rewarded for its ability to anticipating future trends and adapt to a changing world. Nike has revolutionized the “wow” factor through its commitment to preserving a genuine brand. What makes Nike still so popular? From pants with ventilation to seamless fabrics, Nike always keeps the user in mind. With frequent announcements of top of the line enhancements, they aim to keep their customer happy, in the most authentic way.

2. Mobility

Since Millennials are consumed by mobile technology, the new wave of smartphones and tablets has taken over. Industries that have recognized the need for mobile have already begun marketing to the next generation of consumers.

SquareA company like Square is taking mobile one step further. If you’ve heard of Square, you know it’s revolutionizing the mobile industry. By making mobile even easier, Square allows a business or vendor the capability of accepting credit card payments on the go, all from the comforts of a mobile phone. Today’s smart phone is the new virtual cash register. From venturing down a path never traveled, Square took advantage of the developing mobile trend and discovered a new market opportunity. An idea like Square is proving to be extremely successful since it capitalizes on an emerging market.

“71%of teens ages 12-17 have a cell phone, up from 45% in 2004.”

 – Pew Research

3. Engagement

When envisioning the characteristics of a Millennial, social interaction and engagement come to mind. Millennials feel the need to always be connected. A brand that seeks success in the 21st century must keep in mind why engagement matters. Besides the need for a dynamic approach to marketing, Gen Y brands must be constantly evolving to maintain a strongly bonded connection with its consumers.


Shopping and entertainment have now reached a digital age, fortunately engagement is what Amazon does best. From consumer-generated reviews to offering suggestions based on purchase behaviors, Amazon speaks to an involved generation. By allowing a connected generation the ability to shop online through their phones, tablets or computers, cyber-shopping has shaped the future of spending. Besides offering convenience and time-savings, Amazon delivers customers a one-stop-shop across all mobile devices.

4. Sustainability

A socially conscious “eco-friendly” brand is highly respected by the Millennial generation. With a responsibility to sustain the world’s resources, Millennials are concerned with improving renewable energy and keeping bi-product waste to a minimum.

traderjoesA brand like Trader Joes concentrates on providing quality goods, while supporting sustainability. Trader Joe’s tagline is “your neighborhood grocery store,” despite having 398 stores nationwide. The brand’s commitment to being a good neighbor is promoted by its environmentally friendly products and local involvement. With a wide array of quality, low-priced groceries offering options such as vegan, vegetarian, and so on, Trader Joes has brilliantly positioned themselves as a brand that cares about the environment and its people. Roughly 80 percent of Trader Joe’s products are ‘private’ labels, which comprise of no preservatives, GMO, MSG, trans fat or artificial flavors. It’s rare for a supermarket chain to retain the atmosphere of a local neighborhood grocery store, but in all the years it’s been open, it has been attracting conscious consumers with a loyal following.

5. Pushing Boundaries

Brands that seek to target Millennials should not be afraid to take risks. Brands today must have big attitudes and awe striking personalities. A brand that stands up and says, “whether you like us or not, here’s what we stand for” creates influence and builds brand loyalty. A brand that accepts differences, while standing for something bigger, will make a hug impact in a Millennial’s eyes.

chubbiesTaking a subculture by the horns, there is no doubt that Chubbies fully understands their market. Chubbies is a cleverly cunning brand that embraces the frat bother mentality. Their disruptive approach allows them to be blunt and honest, while winning the hearts of Millennials. By targeting a niche market, Chubbies has unlocked an ingenious way to market to consumers.

“Cargo shorts are the only form of contraception that is 100% effective”  – Fact #32 Chubbies website.

According to Doug Banker, founder of the website BroBible, bros can be described as “18- to 34-year-old guys who are socially active, upwardly mobile, career ambitious, and hyper connected.” An emphasis on “bro culture” is an expanding market for both small businesses like Chubbies and big companies like Red Bull, which frequently sponsor college events and fraternities. By glorifying the fraternity culture, they have brilliantly designed an ironic and revealing brand image.

What Now?

Well, now that you’re an expert on the five keys to winning a Millennial, keep in mind the one thing these brands have in common: Adaptability to change. This new cutting edge generation seeks quality engagement and social change. Remember that being different is not only accepted among Millennials, it’s encouraged! Whether your brand is enlightened, connected, involved, socially conscious or just plain eccentric, a generation of loyal followers is just around the corner.

To learn more about how to best market to your target audience, contact Sparxoo today and speak to an expert on our team.