If you take a look at consumers from small towns to the world’s biggest cities, you will find that there is always a huge gap in age. Companies recently had to figure out what makes Millennials tick, now the focus has shifted to Generation Z. So what does Gen Z mean for your business? Some corporations have decided to put them in the same boat as Millennials, however, that is a mistake. Although Gen Z consumers share similarities with Millennials, there are important differences for advertising your business to this new generation that you’ll need to take into consideration.
Here are five ways that Generation Z differs from Millennials when you set out to promote your company.
1. Generational gap
Every generation has quirks that make them different from one another, and sometimes these differences can make it hard to have a one-size-fits-all approach for marketing to a general audience.
Let’s look at social media usage across three generations — Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Gen-X’ers tend to use platforms like Twitter and Facebook more frequently, meaning that ads through these social media sites would be effective. Generation Z, on the other hand, prefers snappier ads in the form of posts or videos on Snapchat and Instagram, or ads taken out on YouTube and TikTok. They also respond well to witty marketing messages and tend to value the social media presence of a brand.
2. Diversity and inclusion
Generation Z is big on diversity and this effect can be seen in how they consistently advocate for more progressive stances from companies. Gen Z feels it is most important for companies to work with a diverse group of people with various skill levels. They want to bring everyone they can to a discussion as that is how they think the best results will be produced. Although many companies have adapted this mindset, as this generation gets older and becomes a more prominent part of the consumer base, businesses will be further encouraged to become more inclusive.
3. Consumption and expression
Generation Z tends to continue buying from brands that promote their sense of self. As discussed in a study by McKinsey & Company, Gen Z is more likely to buy a product that they can personalize or utilize in self-expression, that supports a charitable cause they believe in, and one that doesn’t explicitly advertise towards male or females. This is all in stark contrast to previous generations where, now more than ever, consumerism is being pushed in a new direction as this generation is using consumption as a means of expressing individual identity. What they buy isn’t just a commodity in some cases, it is a piece of what makes them themselves, and it’s important that companies take advantage of this when marketing to them.
Along with progressive causes, Generation Z responds extremely positively to companies that actively promote environmentally beneficial products and practices. For clothing brands, since they are sometimes more likely to thrift than buy fast fashion products in some cases, it’s important for companies to make sure that they are producing options that make this generation feel like they are making a difference. The changes can even be small ones at first, like fully recyclable or compostable packing materials, and eventually progress into larger efforts towards sustainability.
5. Human Element
This generation is the first that is completely surrounded by technology, but despite that they largely prefer to have a human element present when a company is promoting to them. This is because of how surrounded by technology they are and that they can more easily detect when a company is being authentic and honest with them. Gen Z can see through companies’ attempts to save face or recover from a controversy, and will not purchase from a company that they view as deceitful or trying to only get their money without providing them their money’s worth.
As a company it is important to recognize that traditional methods of promoting to consumers won’t always work with Gen Z. To appeal to this group, you’ll want to focus on branding yourself as an organization that provides the right environment and benefits they seek. When advertising, if you can show how your company is embracing this younger generation as individuals, as well as demonstrating a more progressive stance, you can become very attractive to its members.