Sparking Social Change Through Marketing

Kogod School of Business student Victoria Ferreira highlights Generation Z's commitment to creating meaningful change through business.

Victoria Ferreira

Kogod School of Business student Victoria Ferreira.


 

Generation Z will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation on earth, with more than one-third of the population identifying as Gen Z. This makes understanding Gen Z’s buying needs and behaviors valuable and critical for business success.

For Kogod student Victoria Ferreira, this fact was a driving force behind her recent marketing internship at Voxburner, a London-based marketing research firm that investigates Gen Z trends. As a business administration major specializing in marketing, she wanted to better understand Gen Z as a customer base—a demographic she says is often misunderstood.

Take sustainability, one of Gen Z’s top issue areas. According to “Gen Z or Generation Green,” a 2022 Voxburner+ report exploring the sustainability of e-commerce, 40 percent of Gen Z respondents have avoided clothing brands they consider unsustainable, yet 58 percent say price is a priority when purchasing clothes. Each chapter of the 1,000+ person survey offers a different insight into Gen Z values and behavior, giving marketers—and businesses—essential data to inform their values.

“Research like this can lead to real impact,” says Ferreira.

My generation’s passion for sustainability can hopefully influence businesses to become more sustainable and encourage them to step up to become more accountable and transparent.”

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Victoria Ferreira

Business Administration Student, Kogod School of Business

Indeed, recent research shows that to attract Gen Z, brands must demonstrate a real commitment to addressing societal challenges like diversity, climate change, and sustainability. A Gen-Z herself, Ferreira hopes to inspire change through these values, starting with her experience at Voxburner.

During her internship, she was tasked with two core responsibilities: Pitch speakers for the annual Youth Marketing Strategy conference–including experts from companies like Amazon, HelloFresh, and Reddit–and produce original content for the company’s blog.

Both helped her understand Gen Z’s pain points more deeply, but she was most passionate about blogging.

Each week, Ferreira researched and pitched blog topics on Gen Z trends and insights, including film preferences and TikTok trends. Voxburner encouraged Ferreira to investigate any topic she wanted (as long as it aligned with Gen Z’s interests), a freedom that fueled her creative autonomy.

“I took more initiative and responsibility because I had to be sure what I included was accurate,” she says. “It was completely my own work, and I was so proud of that.”

Through writing, Ferreira delved deeper into Gen Z marketing best practices, like why nostalgia can be such a powerful marketing tool. And why entertainment marketers targeting Gen Z should not romanticize messy relationships (cue: the 2003 rom-com “Love Actually”).

As an international student–Ferreira is originally from Trinidad and Tobago–she especially appreciated the opportunity to experience a different business culture. Compared to America, Ferreira says London’s work culture seems much more collaborative and relationship-focused—a structure that helped her further develop soft skills like communication and trust-building.

“There seem to be stricter rules around professionalism in America, which can be limiting in terms of interpersonal relationships,” Ferreira says.

At Voxburner, I learned how to collaborate effectively with many personalities across different areas in marketing.”

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Victoria Ferreira

Business Administration Student, Kogod School of Business

Looking toward graduation next year, Ferreira plans to continue building on what she’s learned in business and eventually hopes to land a job at a marketing agency in the US.

Most of all, she wants to leverage her knowledge of Gen Z to help inform marketing—and contribute to a more significant focus on social change in the business world. This way, she can help businesses couple profit and purpose to achieve lasting success.

“I think a huge part of business is stepping up to impact societal issues,” says Ferreira, “which also helps companies improve their bottom lines. I’m excited to be part of this change.”