For years, the focus has been on Millennials: how do we figure them out and predict their behavior? Millennials have been seen as early adopters of innovation and new technology, thus driving powerful shifts in consumer behavior and the economy. Now that the youngest Millennials are nearing their mid- twenties (where did the time go?!), we need to look at what’s next: Gen Z.


Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z is defined by those born between 1995 and 2011 and is slated to be the largest group of consumers worldwide in the next 5-7 years. This generation came of age during the recession and the tech-fueled society created by Millennials. iPhones, tablets, and home pods have become second nature and Netflix, online shopping, and social media are the standard.

Gen Z is the ultimate consumer of quick content (think Snapchat and emojis) and can be seen multitasking across 5 screens on a daily basis, making it clear that brands need to adjust their marketing tactics in order to reach this new generation. But where to start?


Be Authentic

Gen Z is savvy. They know precisely when they are being marketed to and place a high value on sincerity. They want to experience brands on a deeper level, with influencers that are relatable yet accessible and content that is engaging and genuine. This is where influencer marketing comes in:

“Gen Zers are acutely aware of native content and in-app marketing, and they don’t mind, as long as the brand is speaking their language and is genuine and unfiltered,” Katherine Power, Clique Media Group CEO, told Adweek. “Specifically, these young minds want a one-to-one connection to an individual instead of hearing from a brand.” (WGSN)

While many brands have already tapped into influencer marketing & branded content to reach Millennials, they are going to have to find the right influencers to reach Gen Z. Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution and campaigns will only be successful if brands are able to align with influencers that produce original content.


Money Matters

Growing up in a post-recession era, Gen Z is aware of finances in a different way than the generations before them. This tech savvy generation rarely uses cash and relies heavily on technology (i.e. Apple Pay). Gen Zers will spend more time researching and comparing prices before purchasing, and they expect this process to be seamless and efficient.  Sephora, known for its user- reviews, now bridges the gap between mobile and instore purchases, allowing shoppers to check inventory, create a wish list and use Apple Pay. In order for brands to succeed with this new-age experience, the shop-to-buy procedure must be user-friendly, timesaving, and effortless.


Leverage the “Learning Moment”

Gen Z has grown up with access to information at their fingertips via smartphones and tablets. Researchers are finding that Gen Z is exiting modern childhood closer to age 9 rather than the previous generations’ age 12. This group is evolving to be, “smarter than ever before, with high IQs and a strong business sense.“ A recent study found that 63% of Gen Zers are interested in learning about entre­pre­neur­ship upon entering college. Gen Z grew up watching DIY and video tutorials on the Internet, accessing branding tools such as website templates, and using­­­ entrepreneurial applications such as Poshmark and Ebay. So, what does this mean for brands? Gen Z craves education. Brands need to leverage this by giving users an experience that teaches and advises how to better one’s self.



With the oldest part of Gen Z in college and the youngest in elementary school, we all still have a lot to learn about this generation and the impact they will have. The reality is, Gen Z is enormous ­and intelligent and in order for brands to stay relevant, they must start paying attention to them now.



Whitney Ocko
Sr. Brand Specialist, Brand Integration



Need help with branding or your content approach? We use consumer insights to inform campaigns and content strategy. Shoot us a note here to start the conversation.


Our own Jen Newberg writes about why the TV spots during the Olympics should be recognized and which ones stood out.


Passion. Tears. Excitement. Energy.

I love the Olympics. No, really, I LOVE the Olympics. I love the comradery, the sportsmanship, the joining of nations and people to compete in something they are all so passionate about.

This year, though, there was something besides the actual events that really stood out – the commercials. This year’s commercial line-up caused me to do something very rare. I wasn’t switching channels when they came on, or running to do housework, or getting up for some other reason. I was glued. Why? Simply because they told stories.



Tugging the world’s heartstrings

I remember when P&G first launched its “Thank you, Mom” series, there were tears. Lots of them. And they didn’t stop this year. Their #LoveOverBias spots still have the “Thank you Mom” message but were slightly more edgy, and despite some controversy, they still had America crying. As Adweek wrote, this campaign truly championed the importance of diversity.



The journey of an athlete

Then there were the ads that focus on the athletes and their personal journeys. The fast-paced, documentary-style ads with powerful music and emotional stories had me glued. The ones that show athletes never give up and fight to be where they are. These are my favorites this year:



Despite NBC’s statement sharing the network hit record highs for ad sales, some of its biggest advertisers cut back this year and found other more efficient ways to spend their money, including digital.


The rise of storytelling

Since CBC launched its SIDEBAR Studios, I have had the opportunity to understand what makes content really impactful. This year, more than ever, the commercials that stood out was because of the storytelling they were doing. The blur between content and advertising. But, my question remains, will brands start putting more dollars against digital content (like what we’ve been doing at CBC) or will commercials and big-budget ads start to wane away? If the ads continue to have a storytelling approach rather than a selling approach, then they’ll continue to be engaging, inspiring, and successful.



Jen Newberg
Director of Business Development

The difference between an average ski trip and a phenomenal ski trip is what happens beyond the slopes. You can cruise groomers and snap the perfect chairlift selfie on any mountain, but when you’re shredding it up by day at one of North America’s best après ski towns and doing donuts in a horse-drawn sleigh by night, you’re doing it right.

This February, we invited a squad of nine editors to our Deer Valley Experience to be fully immersed in the culture at and surrounding Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.


Where to Stay:

Our group of travel and lifestyle press were welcomed into their palace for the next four days at the Montage Deer Valley. With a tunnel of beautifully lit evergreens at the hotel’s entrance, mountain views from every room, and a gourmet s’mores bar out back, it’s difficult not to be blown away by the Montage’s grandeur.

Pro-tip: Swing by the Montage lobby around 11am and 3pm to meet the hotel’s fluffy Bernese Mountain Dog mascot, Monty.


The Montage even has a ski on/ski off Après Lounge sponsored by Veuve Clicquot!  A yurt turned majestic den, the slope-side lounge was the perfect setting to be welcomed by the Montage team. The endless supply of Veuve Clicquot and truffle oil popcorn didn’t hurt either.


What to Do:

With everyone well-rested and decked out in the best new gear (shout out to The North Face, Scott, Native, Krimson Klover and Swiftwick!) it was time to hit the slopes. Skies were blue and trails were groomed, as everyone headed off with Deer Valley’s expert mountain guides and ski instructors.



Even though the weather did not provide us with any fresh powder during the trip, the Deer Valley Resort is consistently ranked as one of the best when it comes to grooming and trail maintenance. Translation: we were skiing on the good stuff, despite Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation.



After a day on the slopes, the group stretched their ski legs during a yoga session with Altra (recently dubbed the best running gear of 2018 for men by Men’s Fitness).



Later that afternoon ski boots were swapped for Uggs as the group made its way into downtown Park City to experience some delicious meals.


Where to Eat:

The best part about staying at Deer Valley Resort? There are so many delicious food options right at the resort. Here are some of the hot spots we visited with our group of editors.

  • Royal Street Café: Having skied up an appetite, the group rendezvoused at Royal Street Café for lunch. A step above your standard ski lodge lunch (no offense, chicken fingers), Royal Street served up some gourmet offerings including a fresh Dungeness Crab tower, fish tacos dressed with mango-avocado salsa, and award-winning Blueberry Mojitos.



  • Fireside: Fireside lived up to its name as each of the four courses were cooked and served from, you guessed it, a fireplace. Favorites included freshly melted raclette paired with a variety of cured meats and to the end the meal, a fondue station. Oh, and to loop back to those horse-drawn sleighs mentioned earlier, Fireside offers complementary sleigh rides during dinner. Food Network even broadcasted their experience in real-time via Snapchat (screenshots below!).



  • Yama Sushi: For an “eat until you can’t eat no more” option, try a dinner at the Montage’s Yama Sushi, where guests are treated to an array of delicious dishes, paired with a special selection of sake.


Step 1: Order the Wagyu Beef Hot Rock.

Step 2: Dip you’re A-5 grade beef in the garlic-soy butter

Step 3: Sear to the temperature of your liking

Step 4: Devour



  • The Brass Tag: For a more low-key dinner option, head to the The Brass Tag. The perfect environment to cap off an experience at the Deer Valley Resort, The Brass Tag offered avocado fries and chocolate chip cookie skillets!



Brand Experiences at Deer Valley:

Our CBC Deer Valley Experience also included various experiences from brands looking to tap into the Deer Valley lifestyle. We enjoyed an interactive brunch held by Nancy’s Petite Stuffed Bagels, during which editors sipped on mimosas, munched on cream cheese-stuffed mini bagels, and channeled their inner Martha Stewart by building succulent centerpieces.

Side note: Jalapeno stuffed bagels + guacamole = heaven on earth



Halos and POM Wonderful teamed up and created a local culinary experience at a local favorite restaurant, Riverhorse on Main. The group enjoyed custom dinner and drink menus incorporating Halos and POM Wonderful into the meal like the Durham Ranch Buffalo Short Rib or Macadamia Nut Crusted Alaskan Halibut.



Sabra even treated our group to a whiskey tasting at High West Distillery followed with a whiskey and snack pairing with the wide variety of Sabra dips and hummus.

Pro-tip: Blended into a cocktail or simply enjoyed neat, High West’s American Prairie bourbon is as smooth as they come.



We came, we saw, we skied, and we definitely ate our way through Deer Valley. This year’s CBC Deer Valley Experience was one for the books. Don’t believe us? This Men’s Journal article from one our attending editors, Brittany Smith, really says it all.



Hungry for more? Check out our Instagram and #CBCDeerValley

Every month we ask our fellow CBC employees a question so we can get to know more about each other. (And so you can get to know us better too.)

This month we challenged our co-workers to take a look at their phones and check out which emojis were logged under “frequently used.” You can really tell a lot about a person by the emojis they use. So this month’s question was (*drum roll please*)…


What is your most-used emoji and why?


Laughing and crying at the same time, because it makes sense in a lot of situations! Laugh it out.

– Erin, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist

Lately it’s been this one because people have been so nice to me!! (Just got married)

– Kerryn, Senior Manager, Brand Integration

“…Because of my ‘condition.’”

– Robin, VP of Brand Integration

The salsa dancer girl. Because I’m just a girl, dancing my way confusedly through life.

– Kelsey, Digital Marketing Specialist

The fist bump. It’s a quick way to say “I agree”, “thanks”, and about ten other things…AND it’s more sanitary than a handshake.

– Len, CEO

The smiley face with smiley eyes. I try to be a positive person and have a lot of people help me achieve that. It’s my way of letting them know.

– Jamie, Intern

EyeballsBecause I’m usually saying something sarcastic or punny and am waiting for a reaction…

– Gina, Digital Marketing Strategist ”Either the hands up emoji or the laugh until you cry face. It’s a party/celebration or really happy that I’m crying… and I love both those things.”

– Annie, PR Specialist

ShakaBecause it’s basically the dad joke way to say okay’”.

– Jess, PR Manager

Smiley face. Basic, but sometimes I just need people to know that I’m smiling.

– Franny, Senior Brand Specialist

The surprise hand/face oneI feel like it resembles my actual expressions/animation.

– Blair, PR Specialist

Laughing/crying emoji… I’m hoping because I’m laughing so hard that I’m crying… what could be better?

– Noelle VP, Experiential PR

Laughing emoji with tear. No matter what mood I’m in, humor always tends to make things better. I also like to think I’m a funny guy although my girlfriend might tell you otherwise.“

– Jared, PR Associate

Two OK’  hands and twinkle stars. It’s my way of saying great, love it, okay. Its an Adventure Time reference and form of approval from a character.

– Alex, Senior Graphic Designer

“The sparkly emoji! Because why not add sparkle to absolutely everything! (It can only make things better.)

– Andi, Brand Associate 

Because I’m always suggesting crazy things and don’t know how people are going to respond!

-Jen, Director of Business Development

It can be used in so many scenarios… also a good one to break up any awkward situations.

– Whitney, Senior Brand Specialist, Brand Integration


“Emojis are too much effort.”

– Marie, Director of Finance and Operation


What are your frequently used emojis? Tweet us at @cerconebrown!