Since writing my previous post on the 3 most important facts you need to know about Gen Z, I just couldn’t get this group out of my mind.
I started to think more into how marketing is going to change with this new generation coming of age, so I reached out to a thought-leading research and consulting firm, Open Mind Strategy, to gain some more insights into this group. Through its countless research initiatives, Open Mind has “dug into the heads, hearts, hopes, hungers, habits, homes and hashtags” of Gen Z’ers.
Executive VP, Allison O’Keefe Wright, and Brand Strategist, Leah Perlmutter, have done so much qualitative and quantitative research with Gen Z and millennial consumers, you’d expect them to be Gen Z’ers themselves at this stage! Here’s what they had to say about how to reach the growing consumer juggernaut that is Gen Z.
First off, OMS points out that in some ways Gen Z’ers are “Anti-Millennials” and yet in other ways, they are “Amplified Millennials” or “Millennials on Steroids.” So what does this mean? Well, millennials may be tech natives, but Gen Z’ers have digital in their DNA.
Gen Z expects to be catered to by brands. Period.
They are incredibly informed as they spend countless amounts of time online, researching products, checking social channels and reading reviews (52% utilize social media or YouTube for research purposes). Brands are expected to deliver at very high standards, because if not, then they can just search elsewhere and find a new brand within seconds.
Personalization is key. With digital in their DNA, innovation is also expected (“Why is your website so difficult to use?” “How don’t you know who I am?”). Don’t bother sending them a generic email — they want to know that you remember them and value their loyalty.
Gen Z is the first generation that cannot remember a time in their lives without technology. They have been brought up able to find anything at the touch of their fingers online. As a result of this, they recognize the power of their voices on social platforms.
Social networks are becoming an increasingly popular platform for customer service, and Gen Z’ers are taking the lead. They will reach out to you whenever they want, through any platform they want. This group won’t send an email or call you to complain, they will straight up publically shame you on social. If they reach out to you over Twitter, they want to communicate with you over Twitter, so don’t try redirecting them, as it’s just inconvenient and you’ll most likely lose them along the way.
Looking for More Than Just a Product
Gen Z looks for brands that share their passions and beliefs. Not only should a product satisfy their needs, so should the brand. They need to know their purchases are making a difference to the world. They expect brands to be responsible, environmentally friendly, and to give back to the community in some way. Leah mentions that “over 25% of Gen Z has boycotted companies” as a result of some social incompatibility with the brand.
Hey! Pay Attention to Me
Growing up watching Vines lasting six seconds, you can be sure that it doesn’t take long for this generation to get distracted and look elsewhere. Create snackable content so it’s easy for them to digest.
This generation receives more than 3,000 texts per month from friends; what makes you think they’ll give you any time? Keep your messaging straightforward and short to get their attention fast. The online world is so cluttered that businesses need to reach this generation through a variety of platforms.
Allison highly recommends that companies establish their brand before engaging on social. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Authenticity is key, so be real with your content. Spend time figuring out your beliefs and passions and create an online persona that users can engage with. Whatever you do, don’t try to fake it!
Leah, Allison, and I tried to think of brands that knew the behavior of this generation and were leveraging it effectively. Snapchat, Forever 21, and ASOS all came to mind — but as much as people love to hate the Kardashian/Jenner Klan, we had to give them props, too. Kendall and Kylie are the faces of this generation, tapping into this consumer demographic flawlessly!
Here are some specific tactics that Kylie Jenner uses for her Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit to appeal to her Gen Z audience. If your brand is hoping to appeal to Gen Z’ers, feel free to take notes!
Success of Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit:
– Website is effortless, easy to navigate and has classic visuals.
– Social channels messages are straightforward.
– Personalization: Kylie herself writes personal notes to every buyer.
– Influencers wear the lipsticks and sharing content.
– As the most followed user on Snapchat, she posts daily pictures comparing lipsticks and shows “behind the scenes” previews.
– So Instagrammable! The product and packaging are so pretty that word spreads quickly online as buyers are enticed to show off their purchases.