Decoding Generation Z

Posted by Nell Jonason in Advertising, Case Studies, Marketing – March 29, 2017

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Generation Z was born into a digitally fluent world. While millennials grew up with the revolutionary World Wide Web, generation Z grew up with social media. They are more socially and globally connected than any generation before them. Today they account for approximately 27% of the global population and are about to come of age. Marketers are now working overtime to decode their digital behaviour, terrified of repeating the lengthy confusion we went through with millennials. In an effort to prepare for the shift, we’ve mapped out what we know so far about the changes ahead of us.

What we know

1. Gen Z are wary of brands. They are impatient, prefer one-to-one connections, and set high expectations on connected experiences – not to mention visual and technical excellence.

2. Generation Z were born into a world overrun with digital technology. Today they are talented multi-taskers, criss-crossing between devices, applications, conversations and platforms.

3. Generation Z will be the first to call themselves mobile-only. Smartphones will become our one way ticket into their lives.

4. While millennials prefer personalized media and content, Generation Z will value their personal privacy a whole lot more. To them, personalized content comes off as intrusive.

5. They have Sky-high demands on transparency and consistent brand values. Having witnessed more corruption, recessions and global crisis than most generations, they are less interested in digital trends. Instead, they want to contribute where they can.

The challenge

1. To avoid a whack-a-mole nightmare. Marketers have to adapt to more thorough cross-platform strategies. There’s no one-size fit all strategy as Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube all cater to different needs and behaviours.

2. To find strategies that combine owned media and sponsored content opportunities to convince generation Z that their values match. Influencer marketing will become all the more important in this segment.

3. To satisfy a more hands on generation. Using consumer data to personalize websites, content and campaigns, will likely drive Generation Z away. Instead, building co-creative platforms could prove a lot more effective, giving them a chance to try your product, take it apart and recreate it.

4. To refrain from disruptive marketing. Such linear digital campaigns won’t bite on this generation of brand-wary digital natives. They respond to imaginative technologies such as AR and VR, nonverbal immersive formats, music and stronger visual imagery.

5. Turning the brand ambassador model on it’s head. Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young explains: “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.”

Who’s doing it?

Huffington post has launched The Tea, a weekly email newsletter featuring celebrity interviews and unpublished content that will be exclusive to the newsletter. It’s the first out of a series of test that they will run this year, in an attempt to connect with generation Z.

Trident’s vines with Nicholas Megalis and Rudy Mancuso are wonderfully creative examples. During Vine’s short reign, many brands teamed up with top Vine influencers to create 6 second commercials targeted at generation Z.

Rookie Magazine have been targeting tweens since 2011 and have proven their expertise by successfully adapting to the needs and behaviour of the up and coming generations. They feature fun and sincere video series, advice from celebrity role models, and a whole lot more creative and useful content.

Considering where the world is headed digitally, it’s actually all rather logical. But if you need more help decoding it all, don’t hesitate to contact us on our website. Let’s tackle it together!