speaker q&a

Speaker interview with Mercy Abel

Cultural Insights and Content Lead, John Doe

We caught up with Mercy Abel, Cultural Insights and Content Lead at John Doe and podcast host of audacity of we, ahead of her appearance at Trendspotting Creativity on 31 October. 

At Trendspotting Marketing Society members and guests come together to discuss and explore emerging trends, strategies, and innovations.

Mercy will be speaking at the Gen Z session.

Marketing to Gen Z is unlike marketing to any other generation. They represent a new frontier in brand-consumer relationships - one where authenticity and relevance reign supreme.

As marketers, it’s crucial for us to invest time and effort in understanding this generation's preferences, behaviours, and aspirations. What can we learn from brands connecting creatively with Gen-Z in a successful way? How should our marketing strategies adapt to this new audience – digitally and beyond.

Check out what Mercy had to say below.


1. What’s involved in your day to day life as Cultural Insights and Content Lead at John Doe?

I spend my days within Elsewhere, the John Doe Group’s community first insights agency.

We work collaboratively with communities with varying identities & mindsets, going from seeing opportunities & challenges from afar, to hearing them from within to ultimately, acting on a solution together. All powered by insights through human-centred conversations.

2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There are many highlights! My main one this year is leading the launch and successfully running the UNLOCKED Internship Programme which provided fairly paid internships for emerging creatives in seven agencies and organisations across Scotland.

3. What is it that sets Gen Z apart from any other target audience?

Gen Z have lived through so many unprecedented times, particularly in the workplace. This includes being natives to remote and hybrid working due to the pandemic as well as being more socially aware and feeling increasingly empowered to make career decisions that serve them.

4. Why should brands be listening and learning from Gen Z?

Gen Z are the incoming workforce which means they are going to be the key future spending audience for brands. If brands don’t listen and learn from Gen Z, they won’t be able to sell to them – simple.

5. On a personal level, where do you draw inspiration from?

Human-centred stories in whatever form including documentaries, interviews and even conversations with others, which can be heard on my podcast: audacity of we. There are so many untold stories and I love finding the corners of the world – online or offline – to hear and connect with them.

6. What do you think are the biggest challenges for brands when marketing to Gen Z?

Brands aren’t listening. Gen Z are often talked about or talked to but are rarely actually spoken, never mind engaged with. Genuinely engaging Gen Z in the conversation is likely to make brands realise that their marketing strategies are narrow minded, generalised and riddled with stereotypes.

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