Generation Z is set to be the most important consumers, and sooner than you think. Defined as the cohort of the population born roughly between 1995 and 2015. As of 2019, they are the largest cohort by number of any generation alive, meaning that the first half of the generation is fast becoming a key market for brands.
Gen Z is different from previous generations and causing headaches for brands. Social media is without a doubt the best place to engage with them but the challenge is how to do this effectively.
They were born into tech.
From the day they were born, they have been connected. Be it the earlier half of the generation who grew up with mobile phones, leading into camera phones, then flip phones, and eventually smartphones, or the latter half who had their first moments broadcast to the world on social media. They have been using modern technology and social media from a young age and have the expectation for brands to be as savvy as they are if they want to win their business.
They can smell a (digital) rat from a mile away.
A criticism often heard is ‘kids these days are on their phone too much’. Whether or not this is valid is a matter of opinion, but the significant truth behind it is that growing up in a digital world means that Gen Z has grown up navigating a sea of online content - whether that be organic, influencers or ads.
The exposure that Gen Zers have had to online content has made them very good at knowing what content adds value and what content is fabricated. This has become a headache for companies as any content posted that isn’t 100% accurate will not only fail to add value to a brand but detract from it. Even influencer marketing that worked so well for millennials lacks credibility for their younger peers.
What can brands do to win over Gen Z?
Target smaller influencers.
Recently, influencers have been getting the reputation that they are able to become rich overnight by recommending a product (whether or not they wholeheartedly agree with what they’re saying).
In a lot of cases, this can come across as lacking authenticity, even if the product is something that the influencer is passionate about.
A recent trend in influencer marketing is to target micro or even nano influencers (up to around 5,000 and 1,000 followers respectively). Influencers at this scale are believed to be relatable enough to engage Gen Z but have a big enough following to be of value to brands.
Be more genuine themselves.
If a brand wants to be genuine and relatable to the next generation of consumers then a key way of doing so is to do away with big budget content and prioritise more genuine content.
CSR is something that has been increasingly talked about in recent years, something which is a great way to engage the 92% of Gen Z who believe that helping others in need is important.
Using platforms such as Seenit is an innovative and forward-thinking way of connecting the next generation of consumers with genuine employees and customers of the brand. It is through showing off not only that a brand cares enough to consider it’s environmental and social footprint, but also by showing off how it will make a difference.
One key way of engaging Gen Z is by creating content that is relatable and engaging through style and message. Seenit’s platform is built with this in mind, recognising that more and more people are demanding short, spontaneous, and authentic video, as opposed to videos with high production value that are time-consuming and quickly outdated.
In 2019 Gen Z is set to become the biggest population cohort in the economy - if you’re not catering to Gen Z then the likelihood is that you will be overtaken by your competitors that are.
It’s imperative that brands embrace the channels that Gen Z inhabits and that they produce the right kind of content. To get results, brands need to be smart in how they spend their budgets, using (and often creating) engaging and honest ways to engage with the next era of consumers.