Gen Z health and fitness marketers of the world, meet Kayla Itsines. The 27-year-old fitness instructor and self-made millionaire from Adelaide, Australia has turned herself into one of the most-recognized fitness influencers on Earth. Analysts forecast that her fitness app, “Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness,” will garner around $77 million in revenue in 2018 alone. Her 8.9 million Instagram followers include the likes of well-known supermodels and gold-medal Olympic swimmers. Itsines is just one of a crop of up-and-coming fitness influencers who’ve become social media superstars — and whose popular workout routines pose a challenge to long-established, brick-and-mortar fitness brands. For more established companies in the wellness industry, this is the kind of thing that should make you stand up and pay attention.
Walk down the street today, and you’re bound to find young people dressed in athletic streetwear. Yes folks, the athleisure trend is a full-on, five-alarm fire emoji. In fact, according to some, athleisure is the defining fashion trend of the 21st century so far. But why is it so hot? Overwhelmingly, Gen Z students view fitness, eating right and even mental health as integral pieces of a holistic wellness puzzle. One might even say they view wellness as a lifestyle.
So the year is 2018, and Target is suddenly in the business of producing consumer electronics. Meanwhile, Taco Bell is producing its own line of designer apparel. And IKEA, after opening a low-priced boutique hotel in Sweden, is thinking about opening a second one in... Connecticut? Remind me again... Whose version of the future are we living in now? Gen Z’s, that’s whose.
Yeah, it’s true: Gen Z is more global than previous generations. But that doesn’t mean they all share the same jokes, memes or slang. Just because Gen Z students frequent similar restaurants -- whether they’re New York or Sydney -- doesn’t mean they don’t have cultural differences.
Picture a woman. She is wary of credit cards, and saves up her money for big purchases. When she does make a purchase, she is focused on value; some might even call her frugal. On the whole, she is skeptical of banks, and when she does bank, she strongly prefers a bank with physical locations. No, I’m not talking about your grandma. I’m talking about the young, smartphone-toting college student next door.
Earlier this October, Alex Gallagher, CMO of UNiDAYS, spoke at Advertising Week in New York about the relationship between marketers and Generation Z — and the need for marketers to understand their own particular brand’s relation to Gen Z in all its depth, nuance and detail.
In the age of buzzword bingo, every CMO is bombarded with news of groundbreaking technologies and new trends. While I haven’t achieved CMO status just yet, I’m still targeted with a barrage of ads and messaging on LinkedIn about the “Top Five Things Every CMO Needs to Know About…. (fill in the blank) SEO, AI, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Chatbots, VR/AR” or whatever other hot online topic happens to be circulating that moment.