Springboard Symposium - Notes/Sources
How to connect with and sell to Generation Z
Hi friends! Glad you're here. If you want a full copy of the slides, you can download them here. But below is a summary of the key points I made in the presentation, along with statistics & sources.
Generation Z Consumes Differently
1. Consumption as a means of self-expression
- The core of Gen Z is the idea of manifesting individual identity. Consumption, therefore, becomes a means of self-expression—as opposed, for example, to buying or wearing brands to fit in with the norms of groups. (McKinsey & Co.)
- Individual identity w/o labels are very important to them. (McKinsey & Co.)
2. Ethics & taking a stand
- 70% say they try to purchase products from companies they consider ethical.
- 65% try to learn the origins of anything they buy—where it is made, what it is made from, and how it is made.
- About 80 percent refuse to buy goods from companies involved in scandals. (McKinsey & Co.)
- 79% will trust a company more if the images its brand uses are not photoshopped. (Ad Age)
- They expect brands to “take a stand.” The point is not to have a politically correct position on a broad range of topics. It is to choose the specific topics (or causes) that make sense for a brand and its consumers and to have something clear to say about those particular issues. (McKinsey & Co.)
- 67 percent of those surveyed agreeing that ‘being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool.’” One of the biggest challenges in engaging with Gen Z will be determining how to appear “cool” and change the world while still remaining profitable. (CNBC)
- They can see right through empty platitudes and have no time for it. Gen Z is also more likely to trust that large companies are operating in society's best interests only when the companies show it by their actions and their employees' actions. (Marketing Dive)
- If a company comes out in support of a cause that seems unrelated to their own mission and brand it can have the opposite effect — it comes across as a media play for public brownie points, ultimately damaging the brand reputation among a Gen Z audience. To show Gen Z your brand or identity is authentic, you first need to carefully define what that brand is. Only then can you align a cause with your brand’s mission, and be consistent in your support of both. (Cone Comm)
- If a brand advertises diversity but lacks diversity within its own ranks, for example, that contradiction will be noticed. In fact, members of the other generations we surveyed share this mindset. (McKinsey & Co.)
- The Gen Z preoccupation with authenticity — which has driven them away from traditional celebrities in favor of more intimate social media and YouTube influencers — makes them scrutinize the motives of large brands, presenting a challenge for today’s marketing and communications professionals. (CNBC)
They Do Not Want to Be Sold To
THEY WANT TO BE A PART OF YOUR BRAND (AD AGE)
1. Influencers/user-generated content
- They’re YouTube stars, they’re their own filmmakers, and in many ways, they’re their own personal creative team. Making room for Gen Z and offering them ways to be part of your brand is a great way to tap into their creative spirit—an inroad some major brands are already pursuing. (Ad Age)
2. They respond best to being human
- Here comes the authenticity thing again. They blur the lines between humans and media, humans and brands. So they want to see the humans behind the brands (again, to feel a part of the brand).
- This also means stepping up a business’ customer service game, too.
3. Be honest when you screw up
- They expect brands to be honest when they screw up - and respond favorably to this. In fact, McKinsey & Co. have called them the “true generation”
- This is important because it’s harder than ever to earn their trust (Business Insider).
Politics & Diversity Merge w/Business
1. Diversity: Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation we have seen
- Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation we have seen (Pew Research), so diversity & inclusion are incredibly important.
- This includes the body positivity movement and being “anti-beauty shaming.”
- It includes trans/non-binary folks: Roughly a third of Gen Zers know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns (Pew Research)
2. They are more liberal than any other generation
- Gen Z teens and young adults have overwhelmingly adopted left-leaning beliefs similar to those of the millennials before them. (Washington Post) Many of them identify as socialists. They are also more likely to care about climate change.