Engaging Gen Z directly to shape better business outcomes
Students from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s top-ranked CEMS Masters in International Management programme recently partnered with Consulting Agency Gate One on a project that targeted how Gen Z consumes media. The project was designed to create a value proposition for one of Ireland’s leading media publishers, The Business Post.
Gate One is a leading digital and business transformation consultancy focused on designing and delivering meaningful change for some of the world’s most interesting, innovative and influential organisations. They were selected as one of only ten industry partners for the annual CEMS Business Project. Through this initiative, students were highly engaged with corporate partners and gained hands-on experience while offering actionable recommendations through meaningful consultancy projects.
The Business Post Group is a diversified media group with a strong technology, data, experiential and digital-driven portfolio of businesses. Business Post Group is an existing client of Gate One and CEO Sarah Murphy saw the project as a timely and insightful externally-led exercise for new editor Daniel McConnell as he took on the reins for the Business Post publication.
McConnell, a former graduate of UCD, is responsible for creating a multimedia content strategy with a dual focus on accelerating the brand’s digital growth and protecting the core print product, including the use of data insights to shape the editorial direction of the content in order to build audiences and develop communities at a time of enormous change, while upholding the values of trusted, fact-checked and independent journalism.
“The UCD Smurfit School CEMS Masters in International Management (MiM) programme has worked hard to build an outstanding reputation and is now recognised as a leader in corporate relations and engagement,” said Associate Professor Andrew Keating, Academic Director of the programme. “A key strength has been the College’s ability to leverage their access to leading companies ranging from consulting, technology, finance, medtech and more, to build on a core CEMS value of business embeddedness.”
“The collaboration is an outstanding example of how the School’s industry collaborations can have a productive and positive impact for the companies involved, as well as offering students key learnings for real-world experience,” continued Keating.
For this collaboration with Gate One, students were asked to strategically investigate how Gen Z consumes products and services and how their findings would inform decisions for the client business. They were also asked to offer actionable insights into how The Business Post might better serve this key audience.
“We found that Gen Z is a multifaceted generation with several contradictory traits,” said CEMS student Kaya Freydag who worked on the project. “This generation tends to have a short attention span, yet values genuine and verifiable content. It has limited financial resources, yet still has a taste for expensive things. It strives for authenticity, yet is constantly immersed in a digital world. It prefers online shopping, yet desires personalized experiences. It values individuality, but is also a ‘communaholic’.”
“Our analysis suggests that companies must prioritize several key areas when targeting Gen Z:
- Create state-of-the-art digital interfaces with an optimized and user-friendly design to enhance the overall user experience (Product).
- Enrich their pricing models by providing rewards, discounts, over-time payment options, and subscription models (Price).
- Adopt an omnichannel sales strategy (Placement) to meet Gen Z's expectations for seamless and convenient shopping experiences.
- Create personalized content featuring relatable peers and influencers to build trust with Gen Z and engage them with ephemeral and short-form content that creates a “fear of missing out” (Engagement).
- Prioritize transparency and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) values in all these areas, as Gen Z places a high value on these aspects when making purchasing decisions (Decision Making).”
“The UCD Smurfit School students did an outstanding job in understanding how to offer meaningful insights in a rapidly changing industry, like media, through a digital lens,” said Scott Ellis, Director at Gate One. “This was the first time on a CEMS placement, that a consultant brought the client together with the students face to face.
“At Gate One, we like to differentiate how we work with our clients. Bringing insights directly from the source to them offers tremendous value and leaves a lasting impact. The students described to the client in their own words…‘if you want me, here’s what you need to do, and here are ways you could do it better in our view’”.
“We were delighted to partner with the School to share how our team of experts regularly works with industry leaders to inform their decisions about digital and business transformation. Gate One places authenticity at the core of what we do, but always in a digital world.”
“I am so grateful that Gate One was engaged in the project and offered their advice and support wherever they could,” concluded Freydag. “I am very thankful for their trust in us and for allowing us to engage with their client. I felt that we had a true impact and that our opinion was valued.”
More about CEMS
CEMS is the global strategic alliance of 34 leading business schools, over 69 multinational organisations and 8 NGOs that together offer the CEMS Master in International Management.
Earlier this year, UCD Smurfit School’s CEMS Masters in International Management (MIM) Programme was ranked 8th globally by the Financial Times and was named CEMS School of the Year in 2021.
The course offers an unparalleled connection between the academic and corporate worlds, combining world-leading academic theory and the real-world expertise of corporate members.
Learn more about the UCD Smurfit School CEMS Masters in International Management programme here.