10 Things to Know About Gen Z for Your Branding Strategy

In the first article of our new series examining the digital revolution and its framing in today’s market, we’re taking a look at Gen Z. Why is connecting with this huge group of young people so vital to brand strategy? Find out as we delve into the world of millions of key influencers across the globe.

1. The Challenge of Context

Your typical zoomer has their eyes peeled across multiple formats for a broad spectrum of opportunities. Their phones open up a world that allows them to bounce around randomly. They’re in control, only stopping to look when something takes their fancy. 

Brands that stand out from the crowd have the best chance of surviving the impact of short attention spans and infobesity. But, you can’t fool a zoomer easily. They’re fake news savvy, naturally skeptical, and dislike marketing hype.

Gen Z does not trust easily: their focus is on quality and authenticity.

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2. Less Is The New More

Big, bold, uncluttered designs that are recognizable across virtual and physical retail outlets alike need to flag up the inherent strength of a brand’s properties. The clarity of simplicity stands out to Gen Z consumers.

Nowhere is this more important than on anything digital, as this is where the next generations live. The strategy behind any redesign should incorporate the need to make a product highly “Instagram-able.” 

Removing the superfluous to create simplicity has become a necessity, not just in the ecological sense but also as an aid to better engage with Gen Zers.

 Gen Z-ers want to get to the point of the brand in nano-seconds.

3. Emotional Connections

Don’t confuse superficiality with darting around digital messaging platforms and making instantaneous u-turns between work colleagues, friends and family. Members of Gen Z seek deep emotional connections.  

They enjoy easy accessibility to their heroines and heroes along with brands they value. They expect to be able to engage in meaningful ways that can have an impact on how they feel and how they interact with their peers. 

60 percent of them say they want to communicate more with businesses via messaging.

Gen Z-ers want meaningful emotional connections and fast.

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4. Rapid Researchers

Gen Zers know they can drill down into the mission and purpose of a company in seconds while on the move. Most say they’re more likely to buy a product from a brand that shares its broader commitments openly.

They’ll spend time checking out the values of a brand to ensure it fits with their own hopes and aspirations for the world’s future. Where a product is from and how it got made matter in a similar way to the price and quality.

Gen Z-ers are careful researchers who prefer products that share their values.

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5. Sustainability Matters

Gen Z states openly it’s willing to pay more for sustainable products and brands. It seems that with every generation, the pursuit of sustainability gets stronger. A significant majority of Gen Z is buying upcycled and preloved products, for example.

The point is that sustainability practices need to be relevant and match the expectations of their audience. Resale and consignment along with peer-to-peer marketplaces are part of the picture with some big brand names getting on board.

For Gen Z, brands must treat sustainability as more than a box-ticking exercise.

6. Influence Family Purchasing Decisions

Almost three-quarters of Gen Z say they play a part in deciding what kinds of food and household products their families buy. They have a clear opinion about what’s best or cool. Their parents appear inclined to listen to them and act on their tastes and wishes. 

More than 53 percent of Generation Z-ers bought something through a mobile device in the last six months.

Most Gen Z-ers are influencers, encouraging others to buy products they like.

7. More Racially Diverse & Better Educated

In the US, Gen Z is at the cutting edge of the country’s changing racial and ethnic makeup. Only a slim majority of around 52 percent identify as non-Hispanic white.

Diversity matters to them all. They tend to see it as a positive.

They are also less likely to drop out of high school and more inclined to enroll in college. They expect governments to sort out the big problems, particularly those related to climate change.

Gen Z-ers embrace diversity & tend to be well-educated with a social conscience.

8. A Bumpy Start

Whatever their hopes and despite being the least likely group to get sick from COVID-19, Gen Z has faced considerable disruption in education and in the job market. 

They were the least likely group to get financial support for lost jobs.

They continue to experience the psychological scars of lockdown, a time many may have preferred to party. A degree of despondency may have crept in. Research suggests that almost two-thirds of young Europeans have been at risk of depression.

Gen Z-ers need some TLC and understanding of their anxieties.

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9. Adjusting to Realistic Expectations

There’s been a decline in young people aspiring to picture-perfect posts and content. 

A significant proportion of Gen Z-ers is becoming fed up with a seemingly endless need for perfection that’s unrealistic, unreachable and unrelatable.

There’s been a shift in influencers with mega followings moving from self or product promotion to a desire to share important information such as getting vaccinated. 

Gen Z-ers are ditching shallowness for meaningful dialogue.

10. Entertain Me​

We can check all our boxes and still be a bore. Meaning is critical but in the end our Gen-Z is spoiled with a plethora of entertainment options. Brands are here to entertain and are up against Tik Tok and Instagram. Work with all your might to create a brand experience by creating disruptive design, embracing video, and using technologies such as augmented reality (and and and,… never or)

Gen Z typically has an attention span of just 8 seconds, a few seconds shorter than millennials, who come in at approximately 12 seconds.

Now that we have framed the basics we look forward to sharing further insight into the vast world of branding and digital. Our next article is going to help us all better understand what the Metaverse is (besides a buzzword) and how we brand shapers can engage.