December 17, 2018  
 
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Automaker Targets Young Consumers To Build Brand Affinity

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/5/2015

American Marketing Association reports that Ford Motor Co. focuses on Generation Z to establish brand visibility and influence later buying behaviors.

In a 2010 study published in the journal of Psychology & Marketing, research indicated that brand preferences can be influenced even when children are as young as three years old.

Ford Motors Marketing Cars to Children

The study also discovered that children between the ages of three and five were able to recognize logos and match them with their brands, even if the marketing didn't target children.

According to one of the co-authors of the study, Anna McAllister, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations at Michigan State University, "people like things that are familiar to them." The same sentiment holds true for brands.

Starting Them Young

McAllister goes on to explain that while purchasing behaviors aren't entirely decided by what you may have seen as a child, there is a correlation between brand preference and the chances of you purchasing from that brand.

She adds that when a person goes through the process of say, buying a car, they already have a default brand in their mind.

"Every other brand has to match up and exceed that," she says. "Otherwise, I'll go with the default."

Ford Motor Co., one of the world's largest automakers, has emerged as a leader in utilizing this branding concept to set a foundation today for acquiring market share in the future, reports the American Marketing Association.

It's well known that car brands are identified as aspirational brands. Indeed, many of us have probably said "I want that car when I grow up" at one point or another.

Ford has set their marketing sights on Generation Z, an age group defined by Forrester Research as anyone born between 1990 and 2010 and a demographic that is currently between the ages of 5 and 25.

"They're 2 billion strong. The global population is 7 billion," says Sheryl Connelly, manager of global consumer trends and futuring at Ford. "We feel like it's not too soon to start paying attention to them."

Preparing for the Future

Among modern marketing trends, this one certainly demonstrates forward thinking. According to the article, Ford has invested in research to figure out what future customers might be looking for in their driving experience. They've also honed in on ways to start reaching older Generation Z consumers.

Ford's research has already led to print and TV ads tailored to appeal to Generation Z. According to Connelly, the company is just getting started in these marketing efforts, and there is still considerable work ahead.

"We try to use research and develop our strategies so that we're nimble enough to expect the unexpectedů We've been successful with our millennial strategy because we did our homework up front. We are trying to do the same with Generation Z, but our work is just beginning."

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