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How to make your brand 'rizz' without being laughed at

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By Malene Hold | Head of TikTok

December 12, 2023 | 7 min read

Malene Hold, head of TikTok at Kubbco, reveals how to side-step the brand cringe on social media.

Rizz

“Rizz” – a word derived from charisma and defined as style, charm or attractiveness – is the word of 2023, according to Oxford University Press. The choice reflects the word’s widespread adoption and cultural significance. But brands wanting to adopt it should pause and think before rushing in.

The term quickly went viral after Spider-Man actor Tom Holland claimed to have “no rizz whatsoever” in June. And it spread like wildfire on TikTok.

But, what is important to know is that it goes beyond mere charm or attractiveness. It’s also about the ability to connect with your audience on a level that feels authentic and genuine, like having a casual conversation with a friend.

As a Gen Z native and head of TikTok at Kubbco, I’ve spent countless hours immersed in the social media landscape, observing the trends, the memes, and the language that shapes our online interactions. And I’ve realized that in an era where linguistic evolution is as rapid as a viral TikTok dance, “rizz” represents more than just a word: it embodies a cultural shift.

Gone are the days when brands could simply broadcast their messages and expect consumers to tune in.

Today, Gen Z is not just an audience. We’re the architects of culture, dictating what’s cool, what’s cringe, and what’s worth sharing. We’re scrolling through feeds, engaging with content, and influencing the trends shaping the online landscape.

For brands, this means adopting a more organic and relatable approach to social media. It’s about ditching the corporate jargon and embracing the language of our generation – the slang, the humor, the trends that resonate with us.

However, this doesn’t mean blindly throwing around the latest buzzwords or forcing memes into your content. Authenticity is key. If it feels forced, it doesn’t have the “rizz”.

Imagine a brand peppering its posts with slang terms like “lit” and “fire” – like a middle-aged dad trying desperately to impress his teenage son’s friends. Instead of generating genuine engagement, it becomes a case of “I’m laughing at you, not with you.”

While such cringe-worthy attempts may garner some attention under the “any publicity is good publicity” mantra, they fail to establish a lasting connection with the target audience.

Posts crafted by seasoned individuals who lack an understanding of the nuances of Gen Z lingo often end up sounding out of touch. Instead of resonating with the younger generation, they become a source of amusement and mockery.

Brands that successfully embody “rizz” understand the nuances of the digital lingo. They let their Gen Z employees take the lead, tapping into their understanding of the culture and creating content that resonates with their peers.

Duolingo, the language app with an unhinged owl mascot, has mastered the art of “rizz” on social media. Their witty and irreverent posts have earned them a loyal following, proving that language learning doesn’t have to be boring.

Then there’s Ryanair, the low-cost airline that’s unapologetically cheeky. The brand’s humor and self-aware brand attitude have made it a social media darling, proving that you don’t need a massive budget to connect with your audience.

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These brands haven’t just adopted the language of the digital landscape; they’ve incorporated it into their identity. Their social media presence isn’t just a marketing tactic. Instead, it’s a conversation, a connection, and a vibe – it’s “rizz”.

So, if you’re a brand looking to increase your “rizz” factor, here are some actionable tips:

1. Embrace authenticity: Be true to your brand’s voice and values. Don’t try to be someone you’re not; Gen Z will see right through it.

2. Stay culturally aware: Keep up with the latest trends and slang terms, but use them sparingly and organically. Avoid forcing memes or language that feels inauthentic.

3. Actively participate: Engage with your audience on social media. Respond to comments and show that you’re genuinely interested in connecting with your followers.

4. Empower your Gen Z employees: Give them the freedom to create social media content. Their insights and understanding of the culture will be invaluable.

5. Become a trendsetter: Don’t just follow them; set them. Create original content that resonates with Gen Z and establishes your brand as a leader in the digital space.

Remember, “rizz” is not just about using the right words; it’s about creating a social media presence that exudes authenticity, confidence, and a genuine connection with your audience. So, embrace the trends, understand the nuances, and let the brand’s “rizz” shine through.

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