Generation Z consumes media differently than millennials, but brands don’t always understand that.
To help brands better relate to younger audiences, former Wavemaker exec Noah Mallin left a career in agencyland to join Gen Z-focused media company IMGN as its first chief brand strategist, the company said Monday.
IMGN owns the social media handle of popular memer Daquan, the esports and gaming channel “Try Hard” and the ASMR-focused channel “So Satisfying,” among others that speak to Gen Z interests. The company has a collective 46 million followers across TikTok, Snap and Instagram, with Gen Z accounting for 85% of its audience.
Mallin, who was Wavemaker’s head of experience, content and sponsorship for North America, joined IMGN to expand the company’s partnerships with brands. During his time at big media agencies, which also included MEC and Digitas, he saw too many brands fall back on retrofitting millennial content strategies for Gen Z audiences. But Gen Z is a mobile-, social- and influencer-first generation that spends its time on different platforms.
“There’s still this fallacy that if you’re reaching a younger audience, you’re doing that in the same way you’ve been reaching millennials,” Mallin said. “But if you miss that Snapchat influencer or people who have extensions into places like TikTok, you miss a huge part of the audience.”
Mallin’s team will put brands in front of Gen Z by distributing branded content through IMGN’s channels and helping them launch on platforms such as TikTok. The team will also leverage IMGN’s software, which can predict emerging topics and memes using AI, to help brands jump on trends and better understand what young audiences are interested in.
IMGN, which has 65 employees, will assist with producing and distributing original branded content – mostly short-form, vertical video – and match brands with the right influencers by overlaying their target audiences onto its follower base.
“I’ll be helping brands reach this audience through the same tools we’ve used to grow our channels,” Mallin said.
On the back end, IMGN will educate brands about how its audiences are engaging with their content, down to which emojis they are using in comments and how many times they shared posts in private messages.
“We show not just how many impressions, but also things that let us know this is a meaningful engagement rate,” Mallin said
IMGN attracted Mallin with its modern approach to media and multiplatform strategy, he said. Publishers have been burned by relying too heavily on a single platform in the past, and being agnostic allows IMGN be present wherever its audiences are as new platforms emerge.
“The channels we’re building are really at the forefront of where media is going,” he said.