Fri, 18 May 2018 08:46:50 GMT
Gen Z: Entrepreneurial, multi-tasking, connected, unfocused, conscious, sensitive, austere, fickle, blah, blah, blah. We’ve all been guilty of using stereotypes and assumptions to talk about our new kids on the block. But as a core spending audience brands can connect with them by separating the hyperbole from the reality.
The fact of the matter is that aside from Gen Alpha who are barely out of nappies, the younger the generation, broadly speaking, the more exposed they have been to wider culture. Generation Z were born with devices in their clutch, with the internet switched permanently on. They are more open-minded, they are more vocal on social media and therefore they are more likely to cause your brand lasting loyalty or lasting damage than older generations.
At a time when brands are held to account more than ever before, some might argue they should tread carefully. Here are three ways to land that connection with Gen Z (‘authenticity’ isn’t on the list because it’s hackneyed and by now, a given):
Youth and technology are inextricably tied together; you can no longer have a great creative idea and clock out. Distribution is key, and technology is fundamental to distribution. If brands look past Gen Z’s oft maligned short attention span, and actually embrace their fragmented media consumption they can have huge appeal. Platforms don’t stand still and neither should brands. Brands will also do well to ‘get to the point’ quicker in their comms and content - that swipe left is all too easy.
Diversity and individuality
After 12 months demonstrating a lack of diversity in adland and several brands misfiring over gender, brands should be looking to embrace diversity and individuality. The rules written by previous generations have been smashed to smithereens in the eyes of Gen Z and any brand that gets this bit right will be held in high regard.
Giving a shit
Perhaps the most important part of this is a brand’s demonstration that they give a shit about this world we live in. Brands and publishers are in a powerful position - they have the power to influence and affect change. And never has the world needed more those with power to have a positive influence. But it has to run deep, and it has to be authentic, rather than a hollow marketing tactic because Gen Z’s bullshit radar is locked on.
Not all three boxes need to be ticked to appeal to Gen Z of course; Uber’s appeal is that it is predicated on value and convenience rather than any demonstration of conscience being a case in point. But brands that think first and foremost about how a caring, sustainable, diverse, innovative company behaves stand to reap the rewards.
Maybe they are fickle like many say and they are, without doubt, bombarded like no crop before them. But Gen Z will find you attractive as long as you show bold creativity in your communication of these crucial sensibilities, and ultimately provide what can be best described as beneficial experiences.
Only then will brands have found the Holy Grail with this often misunderstood generation.
Will Pyne is Chief Creative Officer at Brave Bisonview more - @Genz