For brands that want to engage the next generation of consumers, be wise and recognize that Gen Z is not to be confused with Millennials. Born between 1998 and 2008, Gen Zs are a very rational group of able young consumers raised by highly realistic Gen Xer parents. In their world, terrorism inhabits the news, privacy really is a luxury and taking risks is as important as the journey. Some of them are already old enough to be in college, and it won’t be long before they have careers and families. Most of all, their extraordinary access to the internet allows them to make informed and useful choices and they no longer rely on adults for information. In a nutshell: Gen Zs are humble, phone-obsessed and like video games. They’re worried about the environment, prefer visuals over text and favor undercover social media.
So, how do marketers connect with this new breed of Gen Z consumers that make up the largest population demographic at nearly 26 percent? Here are some tips and tricks that will help you get your brand closer to acceptance by Gen Z consumers:
Take risk and overcome obstacles
Gen Z customers feel equipped to persevere because they’ve experienced disappointment on several occasions and they pay more attention to innovative brands taking risks with their marketing and products. Making mistakes is an important part of Gen Zs lives, so take risks and show examples of your brand’s bravery. Sharing hero stories of challenges the brand has had to overcome can make the brand more relatable – efforts to reinvent will impress these young consumers and build deeper, personal connections. Rather than solely focusing on the “perfect ending,” consider sharing your brand’s the entire road to success – all of the turns and speed bumps, too.
Build character, not brand characters
To Gen Zs, failure builds character and they actually prefer narratives that have realistic endings that they can relate to and admire. These young consumers love to see the average Joe accomplishing something extraordinary. They have very little interest in brand characters or messaging that promises flawlessness. Marketers should think more about celebrating the reality and practicality of their brand and products, as opposed to an ideal situation or perfection.
Be real and more intriguing
Gen Zs are savvy consumers who prefer to see “real” people in campaigns over celebrities. They’re looking for something that’s a lot more authentic and inspiring, and they are accustomed to getting hands on with products, often conducting extensive research before buying anything. Marketers should find ways to demonstrate or show actual product usage rather than telling them about it.
Tap into entrepreneurial spirit
The economic recession helped to shape the buying habits of Gen Z consumers. They grew up during a time when family members may have been unemployed or money was tight, and so they have become more resourceful and entrepreneurial – they know they have to and want to work for their success.
Inspire with a cause
Gen Z customers will gravitate toward companies that are socially conscious and transparent. Marketers should demonstrate to its donors what charitable donations support, because it’s become clear that with young people company values play a large role in their decision when two similar products cost same amount.
Communicate visually and across screens
Gen Z is increasingly tech-savvy and has no problem getting information from multiple sources. They are known for multitasking, so it’s important to be on TV, phone, laptop, desktop, iPod, etc. Marketers should spread their stories across those devices and remember to keep it short – their attentions spans run short.
Connect and collaborate
Gen Zs want to be treated as a consumer who’s a partner in reinforcing a brand, not as a target audience. And, given the evolving social space, marketers will be forced to engage this audience on new networks like Snapchat, Secret and Whisper – many 13-17 year olds have left Facebook in the past year.