Aesthetics - Case Studies

Today, we bring another recap of last month’s Cassandra Sessions: "That’s so Aesthetic – the Gen Z Vibe and Its Reverberation in the Market." where we examine how important aesthetics are in business in enabling brands to make a relevant and resilient connection to Gen Zs. As part of the morning, Jeff Werderman of Pentel of America shared with the audience a case study around creativity and connection.


One of Pentel’s pillars as a business is self-expression and creativity. Jeff started his presentation by sharing with the audience a little bit of Pentel’s history. Founded in 1946 by Yukio Horie, who recognized the possibility of creativity to lift people up in war-torn Japan, the company started producing oil pastels and drawing instruments for Japanese schools.

Now, almost 80 years later, the company continues to be a brand actively fostering and empowering creativity. Through initiatives such as inspirational art challenges, artist spotlights, and art exhibitions, Jeff shared how writing instruments tap into human emotions and convey them through written words, drawings, colors, and various forms of creative expression. As such, Pentel is establishing these deeper connections with younger consumers to differentiate themselves in future worlds. Jeff also discussed how Pentel’s connection with younger consumers is also helping them write their own narratives, forming their identity, and figuring out their aesthetic.

Jeff Werderman, Director of Marketing, Pentel of America


    Cassandra Sessions also unveiled some of Cassandra’s latest research on why we are talking about aesthetics now. Aesthetic has evolved into an idiom for this generation that not only expresses a look but a feeling that is fluid, ephemeral, and empowered.

    What’s different today is how young people understand and bring new meaning to such a wide concept and its role in their everyday lives, taste, appreciation of beauty, and enjoyment of content. According to our latest research, 7 in 10 Gen Z say their aesthetic doesn’t define their entire identity, and just as many say that they can’t be defined by only one aesthetic. Why? Cassandra believes the answer lies in the difference between labeling and naming. Labels are usually imposed by others without the permission of the one being labeled, but names are chosen. And by naming the different aesthetics, Gen Zs are setting clear destinations in their voyages. An aesthetic is no longer something you own - it is a place that you “visit.”


    Music, decor, fashion, technology, and other categories all collaborate to establish distinct pathways in which Gen Z can explore and engage. But how can you, as a brand achieve the perfect vibe to support one's stylistic narrative? Cassandra’s research further explores how Gen Zs meticulously curate every aspect of their present aesthetic, effectively crafting the story they wish to tell themselves about themselves. Social platforms such as Pinterest and TikTok are the arenas to gather inspiration and synthesize their current 'vibe,' not solely through references but also within a community. One very important takeaway from the morning - the more cohesive the brand’s narrative, the more of a vibe a brand is to Gen Z.

    Missed Cassandra Sessions and interested in becoming a member? Email us here!