McCann Talks Gen Z to The Army Recruitment and Retention School

McCann Talks Gen Z to The Army Recruitment and Retention School

The U.S. Army recently asked McCann to speak at The Army Recruitment and Retention School about the next generation of prospects -- Generation Z.  Our agency has been giving quarterly Gen Z presentations to the Army for almost two years, with each quarter focusing on a different aspect of this up-and-coming generation, to better understand how to market to them. We finally got the opportunity to go to Fort Knox, Kentucky to help educate recruiters on how to recruit this generation based off of our two years of research.

I was honored to be given the opportunity to present to 150+ recruiters of all ages at Fort Knox. And my experience at Fort Knox was a completely new one. After getting cleared by security through a quick background check, I toured the base, which is essentially its own town, complete with Army families, homes, stores and more. Upon entrance, we were welcomed by Army paratroopers jumping out of planes into huge fields. We quickly learned that regardless of street lights or walk signs, if a Soldier is walking, your car stops to let them pass. At 5pm, a loud horn sounds and Soldiers drop what they’re doing to touch the nearest flag pole and salute. 

During the presentation, I could feel the enthusiasm in the room. The recruiters were eager to learn about the next generation of Soldiers — and the next leaders of our nation. I even got a hoo-ah at the end! I hit on 4 key lessons: 

  1. How to Keep Gen Z’s Attention: 
    • Interaction Captures Their Dwindling Attention: Make the conversation about them, and then connect it back to your product.
  2. How to Influence Gen Z: 
    • Influencers Are Evolving: Utilize Gen Z’s network and your own brand network to positively influence your consumers.
  3. How to Communicate with Gen Z:
    • Online is Offline, and Vice Versa: Gen Z wants to know the real you, which to them means your online presence.
  4. What Channels Gen Z Prefers:
    • Mobile is Key: Text messaging and social media are their main tools, while email is seen as a ‘right of passage’ into adulthood or more serious content.

The final product will be a course on Gen Z at The Army Recruitment and Retention School, which will include my filmed presentation at Fort Knox and possibly the Gen Z book my strategy team has written for our agency and our clients.

Overall, seeing Fort Knox and presenting to the U.S. Army’s recruiters was an eye-opening look into our military’s day-to-day. I’m proud McCann was able to provide real value and insight into the next generation through actionable implications for the Army’s Recruitment and Retention School.

- With Kenny Gold, Associate Director, Social and Mobile

- With Kenny Gold, Associate Director, Social and Mobile

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