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The new consumer journey is a cluttered mess – full of competing brands, messages, and emotions. Gen-Z and Millenials are purchasing from brands that have never had a physical presence (e.g., Warby Parker, Casper, Allbirds) and directly through social platforms. These brands and platforms have created cleaner customer experiences along the purchase funnel to combat a messy media environment.

This growing trend of “quick and easy” commerce might feel like there are shortcuts through the purchase funnel, but it actually puts more pressure on the types of content that brands are creating.

Content needs to have a meaningful impact at every moment. With 52% of 25-34 year-olds feeling that shopping is stressful, your content needs to work harder and bring consumers a tiny moment of joy. If marketers don’t create joy to remove that stress, they become part of the frustration in their consumer’s journey.

Bringing joy may sound overwhelming, but there is a space where brands can create value and joy with their content whether it’s educating consumers about a product, or entertaining them with a piece of content. Delivering consistent value and joy will keep your consumers moving through the complex and ever-evolving purchase funnel. Here are some tips when greeting your consumers where they live:

HUMANIZE YOUR BRAND

Today’s young consumer doesn’t mind brand marketing as long as you do it in a human way. Using human language and emotions goes a long way to bring joy to your audience.  Rather than throwing marketing language at consumers, introduce yourself, humanize your brand––even more effectively, use influencers to bring a human voice to your brand. According to our survey, 51% of 25-34 year-olds say that social influencers have a more positive impact on their purchase decisions than other digital ads from brands (only 23%). We’ve seen this human approach be successful for entertainment properties like Deadpool, disruptor brands like Square, and legacy brands like Wendy’s.

Make sure that your human approach is not just a one-off piece of content. It’s crucial for this approach to be consistent, as the next-gen consumer views the purchase journey as always-on – 57% of 25-34 year-olds and 39% of 18-24 year-olds are shopping every time they check their social feeds. Over half of 18-34 year-olds get shopping inspiration from the content they watch. So, it’s important for brands to continually find ways to inspire their audiences, break through all the digital clutter, and be a consistent source of joy.

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HELP WITH THE RESEARCH

Over half of 18-24 year-olds and almost 75% of 25-34 year-olds enjoy researching products before they make a purchase. Most spend more time researching than they do shopping. It pays to be present and active in your consumers’ research phase – even after they know who you are and what your products do. Having the right educational content on the platforms like YouTube and Pinterest gives your brand a leg up. Also, it’s an opportunity to position yourself as trusted guides in the consumer’s purchase journey through content that not only informs but also entertains.

We found differences in the level of enjoyment between GenZ and Millennials. The average Millennial enjoys the research phase and spends more time researching than their Gen Z counterparts. We’ve seen brands like Mary Kay drive potential customer participation through Facebook groups, AT&T emotionally engage new audiences through custom content, and Pulte Homes highlight their biggest advocates and their experiences with their homes.

PROVIDE VALUE THROUGH ENTERTAINMENT

Although almost half of young consumers feel that shopping can be stressful, 70% of 18-35 year-old consumers consider shopping to be fun. So how can brands be fun? There is only one way – brands must. be. entertaining. Consumers expect to be entertained at every stage of their journey – and with your brand showing up in their social feeds, you need to be (at least) as interesting as their friends.

Now, when it comes to shopping online or in-store, consumers are looking for ways to save both time and money. While it’s always valuable to give your audience the best price on the your products, providing them with a moment of entertainment or unexpected information that sparks joy can be just as valuable. While savings will continue to draw consumers in, the right entertaining content will move them closer to purchase.

To spark joy, brands need to help declutter the journey for consumers. By focusing on the three key areas of humanizing your brand, helping consumers do their research, and providing entertainment, you can tidy up your branded content for a cleaner customer experience.