The new kids on the block are coming of age. Gen Z – people born between 1995-2010 – represent an estimated $143 billion in annual spending power, and at least one report projects their future earnings will reach $2 trillion by 2030.
The point is: as a brand, you will want to include them as part of your marketing strategy. Start adjusting your game plan to cater to this group of youngsters that never knew the pre-internet world.
As this cohort takes centre stage, it is critical for brands to become intimately familiar with the generation, what they want, and which Gen Z marketing practices and emerging trends will be effective.
What does Gen Z want from brands?
A meaningful purpose
Having a purpose authentically rooted in your brand’s values and operations is an excellent first step if you want to build affinity with Gen Z. Unlike their predecessors, this generation is much more opinionated and vocal about a range of issues, including cultural appropriation, patriarchy, sexism, equality, sustainable fashion, and so on.
But remember, they’re also a sceptical group, and they want to trust the brands they buy from. For businesses that want to appeal to this generation, it’s essential to know and amplify what makes your company great. Ethical practices? Give back to the community? Healthy working environment? Be transparent and let them know where you stand on issues.
Dove is one of the most remarkable examples of a purposeful brand. Why? Their brand mission is something far more profound than just selling hygiene products. Dove is using its brand to help improve the esteem of girls globally. They recognised that low self-esteem is a massive problem for females, and through their numerous movements, Dove seeks to help girls gain more confidence in their beauty. It’s a purpose that anyone can agree with. You need to remember that people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.
Find them where they are
Gen Z is more likely to be on TikTok than Instagram, but in addition to these places, they hang out on YouTube as well. The numbers vary widely, but one study by Joy Ventures and getWizer found that 20% of Gen Zers spend five hours a day on TikTok alone. Gen Z appears to have replaced the older generations’ television viewing habits for mobile devices and is constantly connected. Most got their first smartphone at age 12 (trust me on this, I’m a Gen Z), so get your social media off the ground to keep up. Check out our tips for a head start.
Above all, Gen Z shoppers want brands to understand their wants and needs. For brands, this could be as simple as letting consumers know their voices are heard or as significant as releasing a new product, experience or piece of content based on consumer feedback.
Use social listening to understand your audience’s likes, dislikes and what they are more likely to respond to. Capturing consumer sentiment is also crucial to attracting new audiences, having loyal consumers, and identifying emerging trends and opportunities.
One fun example: Last year, Nando’s announced it would be re-introducing a discontinued menu after Andreas Health, a young teenager from Manchester, relentlessly tweeted them every five weeks.
A thriving community
Gen Z wants a community — a group in which they belong. To do this, brands must look beyond the features they offer and focus instead on inculcating a sense of belonging. Gen Z doesn’t simply want to buy what your brand is selling, they want to join you.
Building a digital community is integral to your Gen Z marketing strategy. A Spotify study found that 62% of Gen Zers and millennials believe brands have the power to create communities based on their shared interests and passions. As Seth Godin writes: It might not necessarily mean your customers are on the verge of getting a tattoo of your logo, but you should aim to get pretty close to that level of love.
In all seriousness, Gen-Zers want to see real, relatable people in marketing campaigns. The people in your ads need to share the same struggles or beliefs as your Gen Z audience. Talking the talk and walking the talk is crucial to building authenticity.
It is why so many brands are finding success with influencers. However, to resonate with this key consumer group – it is crucial to pick the right influencers.
Every new generation of consumers means shifting our marketing tactics and best practices in order to continue driving revenue and growing as a brand. With Generation Z on track to becoming the largest generation of consumers this year, brands must start supercharging practices now if they are to keep pace with expectations around your game-plan. Brands need to use the opportunity to engage a socially active, motivated group of young people who want to connect with your brand and maybe even cultivate a cult following of brand ambassadors who will be loyal to your brand for life.
Having trouble connecting with young people? We speak fluent Gen Z: [email protected]