4 reasons why audio is the glue that connects brands to Gen Z consumers

There was a time when audio was a one-way medium – from hearing your favorite artist sing along to a radio show hosted by the most beloved RJs. Today, the Internet has transformed our relationship with creators. Podcasters, musicians and influencers from all walks of life are forging new relationships with their Gen Z fans, who in turn are creating their own content. It has blurred the lines between content creation and consumption, and what was once a one-way delivery is now an interactive, two-way exchange.

This is an opportunity for brands to understand and act on this deep connection between creators and listeners and using audio to tap into all parts of a listener’s personality. There are four reasons audio has been able to create elevated experiences between creators and fans, and a few ways brands can seamlessly be part of that conversation.

Audio adds intimacy to the creator-fan relationship

Spotify’s latest Culture Next report highlights that audio adds deeper access and connection to the creator-fan relationship. Zs’ audio immersions often turn into fantasy with nearly 90% of them in India have listened to music from a movie or show they like in order to feel like a character in the story. More than 50% of Zs in India said they joined a digital community as fans of a particular creator. Brands can bridge the gap between audio creators and their biggest fans by passing the mic to creators. Create a podcast or turn a podcast ad campaign into an audio series that features bonus content from hosts, like unaired bloopers and candid conversations. This creates a connection between the listener, their favorite podcaster or artist, and the brand.

Audio allows Gen Z to express their individuality and experience their culture

Generation Z has grown up with the need to stand out. Nothing lets them explore and share their unique taste more than audio. According to the Culture Next report, 80% Zs in India said that audio allowed them to explore the outer limits of culture that they otherwise would not have experienced. A similar percentage of Zs in India believe they have learned something about themselves by examining their listening habits. Brands have the ability to sponsor playlists that prioritize quality and genres last, appealing to the fluid personalities of the Zs. It’s also possible to make discovery part of their daily routine through contextual targeting, reaching them at the right time with unexpected messages.

Audio helps Zs process raw emotions

Podcasts have evolved from a source of entertainment to a tool for education and learning. With Zs feeling more stressed than Millennials, Millennials have a heightened need to process their raw emotions, and podcasts provide essential support. The Culture Next report indicates that just over 75% of Zs in India turn to podcasts to get answers to difficult or personal questions before telling their family, and 74% from the same group said they listen to podcasts to inform the conversations they have with their friends. Since podcasts are such an intimate audio format, Gen Z feels especially close to their favorite hosts. Brands can use Host Talent ads, created and voiced by the show’s host in the style of the show, where personal anecdotes can complement a clear brand message.

Audio brings back nostalgia to provide comfortable feeling

While all generations fondly remember past eras, Z’s reinvent nostalgia. With the instability of recent years, nostalgia has been shown to provide a sense of comfort in uncertainty. On social media, the Z’s mix old hits with new visual trends like lip-syncs, dances, makeup tutorials, fit checks, and more — to go viral. Just above 75% Zs in India like it when brands bring back old aesthetic styles, Culture Next Report points out. But, the Z’s are as nostalgic as they are edgy, and brands can use contextual targeting to reach them as they listen to nostalgic, sentimental and other playlists, or even invite an artist to chat about how they’re taking musical landmarks of the past.


Self-expression and creativity are essential elements of how Gen Z navigate the world, and they invite brands to share stories that reflect these elements. Brands have the opportunity to not only create these journeys for Zs, but also engage them by working with creators who matter to this dynamic audience.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and in no way represent the opinions of exchange4media.com

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