Gen Z is a young and nascent population that’s notoriously difficult for brands to target. I’m often asked: How do you target these savvy consumers who were born in the digital age? How do they differ from Millennials? To answer some of these questions, here are five tips to reach and engage this upcoming influential generation.
1. Use Tech as the Native Language
Generation Z does not use tech to be innovative or as an amplifier; it is a part of their identity.
On average, they use five devices rather than millennials who use three at a time. This means you should be create a message across all devices that catches their attention in an authentic, human way. If you create a video for Snapchat, make sure you’re consistent across the board on YouTube, Vine, Periscope/Meerkat, Facebook and Twitter. Ensure you’re telling a story that’s inspiring across all channels.
Generation Z believes in the value of doing what they love, but also in making money on their own time. They do not feel that they were able to depend on the generations before them for advice or guidance, particularly as they watched a failing economy. So they paved their own way.
Brands should be listening to them and asking them to be co-creators not only in content but also in co-designing products.
3. Listen. No Really, Listen.
It’s one thing to recognize that Generation Z wants to be heard. It’s another thing to realize that Generation Z really knows what they are talking about.
They do not follow trends. They actually find them and then make them. Check out all of these Vine stars who are under 18, or these entrepreneurs on the main TED stage who are not even graduated from high school yet; Generation Z navigates the world differently because this group does it together. They’ve been connected since the day they were born and know how to identify what’s cool — and also how to create what’s cool.
4. Embrace Authenticity
Members of Gen Z don’t just care about the world. They care about each other. They’re tolerant, open minded, and have observed the mistakes of their parents, grandparents and older siblings.
They’ve not just seen what their own family members have done wrong, but have witnessed what the world has done wrong. This group doesn’t want to support a non-profit; they want to create businesses that make a difference in the world. To appeal to Generation Z, it’s best that your core message makes a significant difference in the world in an authentic way.
5. Change the Face
What’s the “normal” face of Gen Z? There isn’t one. This generation is tolerant, accepting and embracing their own differences and each other’s. That means they’re open to different sexual preferences, races, cultures, you name it.
Your brand should be aware that your fresh face model should no longer look like the boy or girl next door. Gen Z sees a very different boy/girl as the norm, one who may be a different color, size or gender (including transgender) and have a different sexual preference.
When crafting a message to engage Generation Z, keep in mind they’re mini-entrepreneurs. They turn their hobbies into jobs, they turn their content into a business, and they create their own culture. They know more than meets the eye when it comes to innovation, technology and the future — and the second you try to tell (or sell) them otherwise, they’ll be bored and disregard you all together.