Gen Z—the generation we can’t stop talking about—and possibly who we understand the least. With the oldest members of the cohort beginning to enter the workforce, the social, political and economic impact of Gen Z is quickly starting to take root. That being said, it’s important to learn what kind of messaging is going to resonate the most with our tech-savvy demographic.
Generation Z represents those born in 1997 and onward who comprise the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet. They’re driven by authenticity and individualism, and they are concerned with global issues like climate change, gun control and environmental conservation. Gen Zers crave human interaction, but they were born into the era of the internet and smartphones, making their purchasing power worth $143 billion, according to Forbes. They’re visionaries who have a difficult time following through with their dreams as they struggle to find their place in the world while maintaining their own unique identity.
Other important facts about Gen Z (according to this article by Forbes):
- 58% of Gen Z say they are willing to pay more for products that are targeted to their individual personalities
- 61% of Gen Z are willing to pay more for products that are produced ethically and sustainably
- 88% of Gen Z prefer omni-channel branded experiences
- 71% of Gen Z want to see more diversity in advertising
- 85% of Gen Z learn about new products through social media
Now that we understand more about them, let’s talk about five key strategies for targeting Gen Z personalities in your messaging.
- Humanize your brand
Gen Z consumers are hard-wired to sniff out inauthentic brands. They’re looking for an experience or product that speaks to their desire for realness, so brands that are marketing overly-produced content could be a potential turnoff to young audience members. When thinking about your business, consider how you as a person want to be spoken to. What does your product or service have to offer that brings value to the human experience? How is it contributing to bettering communities, strengthening relationships or helping the environment? Reverse-engineering your marketing strategy is the perfect way to remember that you’re speaking to real people who live out real lives—and Gen Z is all about being real.
- Communicate your values
When it comes to sustainability and other ethical practices, Gen Z are optimizing their searches to be sure they’ve weeded out brands whose values don’t match their own. It’s time businesses prioritize communicating their own values, both internally and externally. Start by explicitly stating your company’s values on your website, and ensure that cross-channel messaging aligns with whatever you’re promoting on your site. The key is to remain consistent.
Want more info on how to communicate brand values? Check out this article by Statement.
- Create omni-channel branded experiences
Pretty packaging and overproduced videos are not going to catch the attention of the average consumer who is bombarded with thousands of ads every day—especially in the case of the Gen Z consumer. Gen Zers want a seamless experience that is interactive, so creating an omnichannel brand experience is more likely to cater to them as they navigate across multiple platforms. To begin, make sure your website is mobile friendly (55% of Gen Zers use their smartphones for 5+ hours every day). Figure out which platforms your customers are using the most, and drive home your messaging within those media (Instagram and TikTok are the most popular channels used by Gen Z adults).
Interested in learning more about creating an omni channel branded experience? Check out this article by Campaign Monitor.
- Amplify diverse voices and points of view
Creating content that speaks to a wide range of audiences is important no matter what, but it’s also going to resonate deeply with Gen Zers, who are in search of all-inclusive business endeavours. A good place to start is asking yourself the following questions:
- Are you elevating diverse voices and role models?
- Is your content including any cultural or implicit bias? If so, how can you eliminate it?
- Are you making assumptions about certain groups of people?
- Is there a wide range of audiences who can see themselves reflected in the images you use to represent your brand?
- Is your marketing team reflective of the audiences you’re trying to reach? If not, what steps can you take to ensure that your target audiences are being reached in an appropriate and effective way?
- If you’re not on TikTok, get on TikTok
Of all the social media platforms, TikTok is growing the most rapidly. According to a survey conducted by Student Beans, students aged 16–25 found that 55% of TikTok users had actually made a purchase after seeing a brand or product on the platform, and 41% said they’d consider buying something directly off the app. In other words, TikTok is Gen Z’s online mall. There is no better time to start using this social media platform as a means for marketing your products in a fun, unique way. The best strategy for marketing your business? Find a lane and stay in it. Is your brand voice quirky? Witty? Educational? Sarcastic? Whatever it is, curate your content to that specific category and stay in that lane to amplify your voice.
For more information on creating the perfect TikTok content, check out this downloadable guide by Student Beans.
Though they may be difficult to understand, Gen Zers profound—and, at times, contradicting—characteristics render them some of the most unique and engaged consumers yet. Tapping into the desires and motivations of this demographic will only grow more vital as Generation Z continues to contribute more and more to society.