The Sense of Belonging or How to Approach the Gen Z
While Millennials are still perceived as the most powerful consumer group, Gen Z has started rapidly moving under the spotlight of major brands. Gen Zers are almost 26% of the world's population. That translates to 2 billion Gen Zers worldwide, and data shows this already is the largest cohort alive.
Business Insider states that soon, Zoomers are expected to account for 40% of consumers in the US, while being the most diverse age group.
Generation Z has a lot of qualities. This cohort is all about diversity, activism, and technology. As the first “digital natives”, Gen Zers want to create their own “brand” and are not afraid to use all types of creative tools. Creativity is not only a side outlet, but a rather vital attribute of daily life. Zoomers want to share and be involved with the brands they interact with.
What does that mean for the brands?
This generation is more likely to share their opinions with brands and expect a response. Gen Z users should be considered as co-creators by brands. Companies could portray their brands as rising co-stars who assist young people in pursuing their own goals.
Start by creating a community of shared values
Young people aren't just using social media to get likes or to present a certain version of themselves. They're using it as an opportunity to form communities, seek out advice and learn from others like them. Companies have to harness this by building the brand with the community, not for them.
The majority of brands have established a presence on significant, public social media platforms, which they primarily employ to raise brand awareness. However, they frequently experience poor levels of engagement from the very customers who use their goods or services. It is essential to reduce the defensive management of the community and to put more effort towards developing other leaders to aid in its evolution. The users are showing up to realize a shared vision, not to watch the brand realize it for them. Sharing is essential for Gen Z, and maintaining a group, based on shared values is crucial for a brand's longevity.
Empower the creators
Creators are scalable friends, educators, and retailers. Brands should support Gen Z creators, who see themselves less as a simple distribution channel for brands and more as online peers, producing increasingly popular content and impact of their own. All of this while aiding brands in defining and guiding their online presence. Even smaller creators will look to businesses to help them grow by giving them the latest tools and platforms that allow them to be heard, seen, and understood on their terms.
Make the community action-oriented
72% of Gen Zers in the UK claim that since the pandemic started, their interest in activism and social causes has increased.
Additionally, diversity and representation are significant factors in activism. Gen Z values diversity and regards it as a strength. That is the reason why youth movements are mobilizing at spectacular speeds to fight prejudice and discrimination. Today’s youth is looking at business to help them solve the world’s flaws. Gen Zers are expecting their favorite brands to join their fight, co-create working solutions, and work together to drive change.
Don’t be afraid to face new media
Brands can interact, share, and grow with active groups of like-minded Gen Zers on virtual platforms. By using the metaverse, you let Gen Zers spend more time on experiences that make them feel included. Companies will need to engage closely with Gen Z to develop interactive areas where consumers can participate in activities, play games, enter competitions, try on clothing or even test drive cars. Businesses should start asking themselves “How does our brand show up in virtual reality?”. Good examples of brands that explore the metaverse as a participatory social media are Heineken, Prada, Nike, and even Billie Eilish. No matter if you are buying shoes or just having a beer, all of it sooner or later will be a virtual experience.
Although the importance of community is nothing new, the idea of letting go of control in order to win over Gen Z could seem quite overwhelming. In order to attract the next—and largest generation of prospective new consumers, businesses must learn to feel comfortable co-creating and surrendering full ownership.
Are you ready for the change? Don’t hesitate to reach out.