How to Market to the Next Generation
They’re creatives, activists, trend setters, the gatekeepers of all things cool, and what they say quite literally changes the world. Of course we’re talking about Gen Z.
Born between 1996 and 2010, these “digital natives” probably don’t remember a day without the internet or social media. And with smartphones in hand, they’re not only classy, bougie, and ratchet, but some of them are grown—and collectively have a spending power of over $140 billion.
With the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, Gen Z is demanding more than just pretty photos and fun videos from brands to win their trust and loyalty. The generation determined to flip the world upside down is now bringing their socially responsible (& disruptive) attitude into the market.
So let’s take a look at four things to keep in mind when trying to connect with this ethics-driven generation:
1. Establish Clear Values & Mission
Before you try to connect with Gen Z, ask yourself, who are you standing with and what are you standing for? Establishing and communicating your brand’s values is important when marketing to this generation’s cool kids. But why? Gen Z-ers are more likely to spend their money on and lend their voice to brands that have values that mirror their own. Values such as diversity, environmental sustainability, and LGBTQ rights. Gen Z believes that the brands they support have the moral obligation to change the world we live in, meaning you no longer have the option to remain neutral about important issues.
2. Be Transparent & Accountable
This generation seeks truth and authenticity, and they will not only go to great lengths to find it, but they’ll also want to verify it. Your past and present social media accounts, reviews, comments, and responses will all be scrubbed through before trust is given. So make sure that after clearly establishing your values, you stick to them… and if you happen to misstep, you own it. When trying to connect with Gen Z, inconsistencies between your external and internal company values can lead to the disintegration of your brand (looking at you Abercrombie and Fitch).
3. Play Around With Using Interactive Content
When it comes to capturing the ever-scrolling eyes of Gen Z, you’re going to need a combination of creativity and interaction. They don’t just want to look at something pretty. Gen Z actually wants to do something, on and off the internet. So give the people what they want! Use swiping, polls, and quizzes—anything to encourage discussion and interaction. This can help you get a gauge for what kind of things they want to see from your brand. Keep in mind, with the average attention span of Gen Z-ers being 8 seconds, you have a very short window of time to communicate why your brand is worth looking at—that’s where creativity comes in!
4. Build A Community
Mass followings and viral videos aside, surveys say that Gen Z is the loneliest generation, which is why they gravitate towards like-minded brands with messages they feel they can lend their voices to. Creating community within a brand goes beyond asking the most popular TikTok or Instagram star to promote your brand. It can include real people with real stories that can advocate for your brand and add to the story you’re telling. When Gen Z feels like the hero of the story, or at least a part of the Avenger team, they’ll engage and invite others to do the same.
As a refresher… remember, when marketing to Gen Z, make sure to: establish clear values, be accountable and transparent, have fun, and create authentic connections. *Deep breath* We know that seems like a lot but don’t worry, we’ve got you. If you need help tweaking/completely reworking your marketing strategy, we’d love to help! Drop us a line.