Marketing to Gen Z
Gen Z wants brands to be fun, authentic, and good.
Gen Z doesn’t buy brands, they buy into brands.
They’re looking beyond products to understand what it is that makes the company tick. What’s its mission? What’s its purpose? And what is it actually trying to build for us as a society? They want to know the why before the what. Attention is scarce, but you can reach them if you connect where they connect, the way they want to be connected with.
Gen Z are experience-based spenders, at over a 3 : 4 ratio over things. They have doubled down on this Millennial philosophy, and are currently driving the global festival industry. They want brands to connect with them where they connect - in fun, social, stimulating environments. Statistically:
- 90% have more positive feelings about event sponsors and brands after attending (EventMarketer)
- 85% are likely to purchase from brands after participating in events and experiences they sponsored
- 65% attending or planning to attend a festival in the next year (Student Beans)
Gen Z wants the brands they invest in to be honest and real with them. It’s become a critical component of how they evaluate products and services. So much so that:
- 96% of Gen Z respondents indicate that they ‘are willing to pay a premium for brands they deem transparent’ (DeVries Global survey)
- 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising (Marketing Dive)
- 32% point to brand authenticity as a motivator for making a purchase (Forbes)
- 23% of Gen Z ranks authenticity as important - more than nearly any other product or company attribute (CM Consumer Research)
- 22% of Gen Z notes that a lack of transparency reduces their opinion of brands and products, more than any other generation (CM Consumer Research)
Gen Z gravitates towards brands who better lives and elevate communities. Less logos, more values. 94% believe that businesses have a responsibility to make the world a better place (3BL Media), a majority (56%) consider themselves socially conscious and more than half report that knowing a brand is socially conscious influences their purchasing decisions (Marketing Dive). According to Fuse Marketing, after learning a brand supports a social cause or is socially responsible, Gen-Z consumers are:
- 85% more likely to trust a brand
- 84% more likely to buy their products
- 82% more likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family
- 6.9x more likely to talk about brands that have ethical practices in place
- The first generation to grow up with technology and social media, they are tech-savvy, mobile-friendly and like to stay connected to their circles - especially around experiences of common and shared interests (music, fashion, causes, etc).
- Brands can benefit from elevating the digital and physical social experiences they crave, and generating hype with limited-edition drops, short-term offers, and custom items. Moreso:
- 97% of Gen Z consumers say they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration
- 65% say they use social media to find entertaining content
- 61% of them are specifically interested in watching more video content.
- 56% saying they would like to see brands use Instagram more, 38% saying that of YouTube and 35% saying that of TikTok
- 56% follow specific social networks and make a habit of sharing their experiences, interests, creations, influences and entertainment accounts. They also prefer video content, sharing their experiences, interests, creators and influencers, and entertainment accounts.
The most individualistic, expressive generation, Gen Zers are focused on being the best version of themselves - and expect the same from the brands that they purchase. Give Gen Z the products and services they need to curate the lifestyle they want to lead, and you will have a winning strategy. Brands that are not afraid to stand out and enable them to stand out will win Gen Z over. To the extent that:
- 66% prioritized quality when it came to choosing which brands (IBM)
- 58% percent of Gen-Z would rather stand out than fit in (Y Pulse)
- 20% more likely than other generations to try a new product to see if it aligns more with their lifestyle than their current brand or product (Pinterest)
Gen Z embraces change and refuses to accept the world for what others tell them it is, because they believe in what it can be. Technology is their form of empowerment and their tool to drive local and global change. They want to wear your brands like a badge, but to do so you have to get on their frequency:
- 82% wants brands to be more efficient and responsive to customer feedback (pos or neg)
- 73% say brands should take risks in the form of redesigning their products, expanding their offerings, or growing beyond their basic products/services (Snapchat)
- 64% think brands have a responsibility to innovate (Snapchat)
- 62% think brands have to innovate to stay relevant with them (Snapchat)
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"JK is a visionary, strategist and tactician - he sees the potential of any product or service clearly, crafts a potent strategy, and is an effective leader building a team who tactically can reach any goal. An early adopter, he was a leader nationally in merging business with philanthropy and community benefit, always including the ROC (return on community) to the ROI."– Gill Holland, Entrepreneur | Community Builder