We need to talk Gen Z. Sometimes negatively described as ‘tech obsessed’, ‘expecting too much’ and even ‘extreme activists’ … in the words of Greta Thunberg, how dare you?
What is often overlooked is how Gen Z – the current generation of young adults born from 1996 onwards – are arguably changing consumerism for the better during an increasingly challenging time for businesses and brands.
We watched the Kantar Talks webinar titled Future Consumers – how Gen Z is shaping the new cultural zeitgeist in a post COVID world and believe there is a lot to be learned and practiced from this highly engaged group.
Among the many interesting points delivered in the webinar, here are the top points that we think brands should keep at the forefront of their minds for a successful future relationship with this key audience:
Cut the BS
Gen Z want change, and they are prepared to make it happen themselves. There are no expectations that revolutions will be established on their behalf, and they know what they want. In particular, they want companies and brands to engage with them on a human level, and they want to know how the product/service will truly benefit them. As a result, brands should use straightforward language, showcase transparent business practices and use ‘people first’ narratives.
No more empty promises
More than two thirds of consumers apparently want brands to be vocal about social issues, so if they want to attract Gen Z-ers then they must play a public role in society and involve themselves in causes which are credible to the business. They should also deliver on their witness statements if they want to inspire consumers to become advocates.
Nike gained traction with this early on, with the Emmy winning advert titled Dream Crazy in 2018 – featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernick and the quote, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it”, after his career was cut short for peacefully protesting against racial injustice in America.
Inclusivity and diversity need to be taken seriously. Long gone are the days of seeing perfectly symmetrical, tiny white models representing clothing or products destined to be worn or bought by normal sized, normal people. Brands need to be accessible to everyone if they want to reach a wider audience and emphasis must be placed on a positive directive. Diversity and inclusivity also allow for Gen Z’s most popular type of advertiser – influencers and micro influencers. These people have niche and specialist knowledge of the products and services they advertise on social media, without having the pressure to look or act a certain way.
If you want to find out more about how you can future proof your brand – get in touch
I’ve always worked in consumer PR and have been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s best brands, from Coca-Cola, Reebok and Samsung, to Shell, Ford and Estrella Damm. And I’ve worked with those brands in environments that many could only dream of, including the Olympic Games, UEFA… Read more
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