Who The Hell Are Gen Z? The Generational Shift Coming Our Way

Jamie Davies

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Generation Z are the post-millennials that are ready to take the marketing world by storm. They’re cool with adverts in their local watering holes, Snapchat and Instagram, and think that any brand that isn’t posting online isn’t worth their time.

Who are Gen Z?

You may have heard of Generation Z before, they have also been referred to as Plurals, Founders and Becomers. Born after 1995, Generation Z are digital natives. They learnt to swipe right before they could talk and will eat all of your content for breakfast. They’re incredibly engaged on social media and super savvy – they have working knowledge of all 5 screens and 93% of US teens have access to the Internet.

Millennials are old news. So, if you’re a brand investing in social content and want to reach the real youth market, you need to understand the difference between Millennials and Gen Z

  • Gen Z are more active and aware of their online presence
  • More of them visit YouTube than Millennial-favourite Amazon
  • They’re more likely to buy into things endorsed by celebrities
  • They choose cool products over a cool experience
  • They don’t respond as well to adverts that evoke an emotional response.
  • They accept advertising on social platforms – it’s part of their daily lives to get access to the content they want

What makes someone Gen Z?

Generation Z are the first generation to see a black President in the Whitehouse, legal gay marriage in the UK and trending hashtags influencing social change. They’ve grown up hearing the voices of passionate liberal thinkers online, which they have adapted to fit their needs. Having witnessed the crippling debt racked up by their parents and country, they are far more conservative with their money and spending habits.

Needless to say, they wont be ‘living for the weekend.’ They expect honesty and respect from ‘the real world’ because they have been dealt it in fistfuls on the Internet.

They are affected by the negative impact of social media; online ‘haters’ make them overly cautious of their decisions and social idols leave their lives feeling meek in comparison.

Anxiety and depression are on the rise with Gen Z’s as a result of the pressures they face in the new social world. They are exposed to a constant bombardment of content from individuals who are creating a staged life on social media, inferring a definition of success from curated streams of Instagram-worthy moments, and often thinking it is reality.

Gen Z educate upwards. The knowledge they’ve gathered from the Internet is used to teach their peers and the older generations. Gen Z are more likely than their predecessors to question their parents spending habits and to speak up if they feel someone is being disrespectful or misogynistic.

Gen Z and Social Media

Gen Z will chew through your highly polished ads in a matter of seconds; if a brand isn’t posting on social channels regularly they can easily slip under their radar. They live mainly on Instagram and Snapchat, but are still on Facebook to stay connected to a wider group of people with minimal effort. It is therefore crucial for brands to keep posting in order to stay connected and have a voice across all social channels that are relevant to them.

Post-Millennials prefer seeing adverts on Snapchat to Instagram because the ads are more exciting, engaging and effortless. Advertising on these platforms is something they expect and welcome. The focus should be making content which is relevant and parallel to their beliefs about your product.

The future is here and, if brands don’t give into the demands of Gen Z, they’ll start to crumble. In the next 5 years, post-millennials will be 20% of the work force and paving the way for the future.

Brands need to rethink how they can create and produce powerful marketing stories or risk being forgotten by the newest generation.

Content is king, relevance is queen and momentum is key.

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