I recently read a fantastic article authored by Jennifer Williamson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Sodexo North America, about the ways forward-thinking brands are shifting their attention from targeting Millennials to engaging Generation Z (Gen Z). Business Insider pegs the Gen Z population as youngster born after 1995 – unaware of a world without Internet – independent, stubborn, pragmatic, and always in a rush. Gen Z shares everything (think Periscope, SnapChat, live tweeting, etc.) and expects instant access. Transparency is at the top of the list for this population, and that translates to how and where they invest their nearly $44 billion in buying power according to the New York Times.
Jennifer captures three “rules of engagement” for brand marketers to consider when targeting Gen Z:
According to a study from Pew Research Center, almost half of Gen Zers spend 10 hours or more a day online. Reach this population where they are using technology, and diversify your marketing efforts across numerous digital channels. Unlike Millennials who may use three devices at a time, Gen Z has grown up using five devices simultaneously! Maintain brand consistency across mobile, digital, and social media for best results.
Responsibility = Respect
More than any prior generation, Gen Z cares more about human impact on the planet (76%) and believes businesses should be doing good (77%). Moreover, they expect brands to be transparent about their values and mission. Gen Zers link a lack of transparency to negative business practices and let their spending represent their beliefs.
Realism > Optimism
According to Generation Play Magazine, while Millennials are known for their optimism, Gen Zers are realists. As such, they respond better to marketing that represents the world as it is rather than from an idealistic viewpoint. The hardships of life resonate with this demographic, as they have grown up in a post 9-11 era, amidst the Great Recession. Companies should embrace Gen Zers realistic, resilient, and ready-to-change-the-world lifestyle to win their trust.
At Incite, we understand how to best use media and entertainment to reach and engage hard-to-reach populations (like Gen Zers) using the power and authenticity of effective cause and social marketing. Check out how we are partnering brands and causes to positively impact lives in cities like New York City: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFC_bsWBySA .