How businesses need to adapt to win over Gen Z

It has been said for years that times are changing. But what does that mean?

Gen-Z is the first generation that knows no life without the internet and smartphones. They are the ones who grew up with, and in social media, and helped them to triumph. For them, digital life and digital services are a given. They are globally connected and digital real-time communication via messenger and social media is almost the only way of communication for them.

Gen-Z is united by something else besides all the technology: awareness of mental health, equality and environmental protection. These issues are a central part of their youth and adult culture and self-image. Companies and brands need to understand this. Gen-Z cares more about being mentally healthy than working 40 hours a week. The impact that products and production chains have on people and the environment is very important to them, and through their global networking they also know how brands operate in other regions of the world. In addition, Gen-Z also has impressive research skills across different media – a result of the permanent availability of information.

So what does this mean for brands?

This generation expects full transparency from all companies and brands. Purchase decisions are often only made after consulting with friends or doing research. Influencers play a leading role here, who are also perceived by young people as “belonging to their circle of friends”.

Companies are expected to show credible commitment in areas such as social justice, mental health and environmental protection. In this context, it is no longer enough to dazzle this target group with empty marketing promises. “Walk the Talk” – Gen-Z looks very closely at the promises and actions of brands – and punishes brands that make empty promises by “cancelling” them.

This is nothing less than a revolution that is going through the brand world and must continue to do so. Globalisation has brought wealth to the developed world – but at the expense of the environment and Second and Third World countries. This reproach to the Boomers and Millenials is carried deep within Gen-Z and they have the will to change the world. Brands that do not want to follow suit out of greed for money will be the losers.

This article is from the 6th edition of Pioneer Magazine.

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