Knowing The ABCs Of Gen Z: How To Advertise To A Younger Demographic

Group of multi-ethnic friends taking selfie on smart phone. Happy men and women are standing on street. They are wearing casuals in city.

Despite the fact Gen Z now makes up around 32 per cent of the global population, many marketers are still unsure about the best way to reach this young audience. Chatting with B&T ahead of her appearance at Pause Fest in Melbourne next February, WGSN senior editor, insights, Sarah Owen gave us her tips on Gen Z.

As a trend forecaster, Owen’s job is all about knowing what the future holds. And while there is never an exact way to do this, statistics show us that Gen Z – those born between 1995 and 2015 – will soon be the dominant consumer.

This means there is a big reward on offer for those brands that are able to crack the code of Gen Z.

So what’s the secret?

“Uniqueness is a priority for Gen Z,” says Owen. “For Gen Z, there’s more emphasis during adolescence on creating their own path, whether that means building new educational systems or their own personal brands.

“Gen Z wants to reframe outdated social constructs and create new ones. Brands that do the same will resonate with them.

“They sway towards brands that celebrate self-expression and empowerment. They don’t want brands that cater to everyone, they want brands that cater to the individual. Brands that foster to one-to-one relationships, or what we call “brandships” are able to establish more meaningful connections with consumers.”

Owen’s advice to marketers looking to reach Gen Z is literally to “leave behind the old marketing rulebook”.

Purpose and Diversity matter

Unlike previous generations, ethnic diversity is in the social fabric of Gen Z. The current “population tsunami” means this generation is poised to be the largest ever.

“Gen Z are the most ethnically diverse generation in history, and so difference doesn’t scare them as it may have in the past,” says Owen.

“They are civically engaged and use online platforms to communicate and organise, while ensuring their daily activities bring them purpose. Gen Z use their spare time to educate themselves, speak out about inclusivity, diversity and the environment.”

It is also essential for brands to know their purpose, says Owen.

“For Gen Z, brands should make sure they recognise that purpose isn’t a marketing tool, it’s a long-term company commitment; a commitment to your brand values. Increasingly, young consumers want brands to stand for something larger than themselves,” she says.

“All the stats point towards their being a decrease in trust in institutions and government, and the demand for brands to step up to the plate is crucial to reaching Gen Z.”

So Who’s doing it right?

With so many subtleties to take into consideration when speaking to Gen Z, it is no surprise that there are only a select few brands currently nailing it.

“Brands that foster to one-to-one relationships, or what we call “brandships” are able to establish more meaningful connections with consumers,” says Owen.

Some examples of such brands are Australian beauty brand Fluff, Rihanna’s beauty company Fenty and gender-neutral retail store Phluid Project.

To hear more from Owen, click here get your tickets to Pause Fest 2020 today.



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