Anyone born between 1997 and 2012 is classed as Generation Z (Gen Z), and they are the next big consumer generation, currently entering the market with significant purchasing power and influence.
As Gen Z have had access to digital mediums and technology their whole life, they are tech-savvy, socially conscious, and have unique preferences when it comes to brands and marketing.
For any business looking to thrive in the future, understanding how to effectively target Gen Z is crucial.
There are some key strategies your business can take to capture the attention of Gen Z and build meaningful connections with this dynamic and diverse generation.
1. Embrace Authenticity
Gen Z values authenticity more than previous generations.
They can easily spot inauthentic marketing tactics and will ridicule brands when they try to appear as ‘trendy’ (typically months after the trend they're joining is over).
They will quickly reject brands that appear disingenuous, so to connect with this generation, your business must showcase your values, mission, and overall purpose.
Engaging in transparent communication, sharing behind-the-scenes content, and being genuine in your interactions can assist the process of fostering trust and loyalty with Gen Z consumers.
2. Leverage Social Media
Social media is at the heart of Gen Z.
As mentioned, almost all of Gen Z is online and well acquainted with technology, and the amount of time spent on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat is extreme.
To effectively target and connect with this generation, you should maintain a strong and active presence on these platforms.
Your content should be visually appealing, short-form, and sharable, if the content aligns with Gen Z’s interests, values, humour, and trends, your content marketing can be incredibly successful.
Engage in conversations and participate in relevant trends to connect with your audience on a personal level, just make sure you aren’t hopping onto trends too late.
3. Support Social Causes
Gen Z is also known for their strong sense of social responsibility.
They will actively seek out brands that support meaningful causes and contribute positively to society.
If you want to effectively resonate with this generation, you should align your brand with social and environmental causes that genuinely matter to them, but they should also matter to you.
Because, as we mentioned, being genuine is key, fake “wokeness” and performative activism will be spotted and will negatively affect your brand’s perception.
Be open about your efforts, and consider how to prove your dedication, this can be by donations to relevant charities, campaigns featuring social or environmental issues, or publicly backing charities/organisations that align with their cares.
Demonstrating this commitment to better the world will attract Gen Z consumers who want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
4. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are deeply important to Gen Z.
As society is becoming more visibly diverse and inclusive, representing these developments will allow them to see themselves reflected in the brands they support.
Your marketing efforts should be inclusive and celebrate diversity in a range of forms.
This also means that you need to be more mindful of cultural sensitivity when marketing, avoiding appropriation, negative stereotypes, and tokenising different identities.
When you embrace diversity, you can create a more welcoming and inclusive brand that will appeal to Gen Z values.
Again, this should be done naturally, as performative activism or forcing diversity to try and gain “woke points” will be off-putting.
For example, Pepsi did a campaign during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, featuring influencer Kendall Jenner.
The advert was considered tone-deaf, as it featured a police officer at a protest, who accepted a can of Pepsi from Jenner, making him and all the protesters smile.
What was supposed to show unity, instead caused a backlash, as it minimised the importance of the movement, implying that a can of Pepsi could solve the problem, as well as Pepsi trying to profit from the movement.
5. Utilise Influencer Marketing
On the topic of influencers, they play a very significant role in shaping Gen Z’s preferences and choices when it comes to consumerism.
By partnering with relevant influencers who genuinely connect with your brand, you can deeply reach your audience.
However, once again, authenticity is key.
Gen Z will spot forced endorsements, so always choose influencers who align with your brand's products, services, and values.
Giving the influencer creative freedom to present your products or services will also help with authenticity.
6. Incorporate User-Generated Content (UGC)
Gen Z loves to feel like they are part of the content creation process, as it humanises your brand and marketing.
Encourage UGC, such as customer reviews, testimonials, and creative content featuring your products or services.
A personal favourite example of UGC is the recent Spotify campaign, which featured data from its users and was used as an outdoor campaign with posters and billboards.
The campaign features ranged from humorous playlist names to the songs users were listening to, and more.
We have mentioned this campaign in a previous blog, “Unconventional Marketing Tactics That Worked”, when we talked about UGC.
UGC not only builds trust but also creates a sense of community around your brand.
When you share and celebrate UGC across social media, and all marketing efforts, you are showing appreciation for your customers’ contributions.
As Gen Z emerges as a dominant force in the consumer landscape, you, as a business owner, have to adapt your marketing strategies to connect with this unique generation.
Embracing authenticity, leveraging social media, supporting social causes, embracing diversity and inclusion, utilising influencer marketing, and incorporating user-generated content are essential strategies to capture the attention and loyalty of Gen Z.
Try and understand their values, preferences, and aspirations, so that you can create meaningful connections with this generation, and in the end, position your brand for long-term success in the evolving market.
If you need help figuring out a marketing plan that will appeal to our younger generations, get in touch with our team and see how we can help you!