Biz Tips: Get ready, folks. Gen. Z is in the house!

Biz Tips: Get ready, folks. Gen. Z is in the house!


Get ready, folks. Gen. Z is in the house!

How brands respond to the high expectations of today’s youth.

The 1960s paved the way for a significant boom — a new sect of people called Generation X took to influencing the way the world thought and operated.

This new generation, having cast aside the Boomers of our lifetime, craved change in every way. From clothing and food to economic stance and philosophy, fresh ideas and ideals encroached what was, until then, a glum society.

They made history.

Then came the 80s, and along with it hippies, weed culture, and some of the greatest art the world will ever see. History repeated itself as the Millennials took over industries, invented technologies, and inverted traditions.

We all knew it had to end sometime. Except for this time, instead of ending the previous generation’s impact, the newer one takes off of it.

Generation Z has its roots in the Millennial. As Millennials (Generation Y) grow up and older, they’ve become guiding beacons for the youth that can’t contain themselves from modern technology.

This generation pioneered the use of mobile phones to keep themselves from boredom. They devised tablets for work and then instilled yoga in those tablets. They embraced technology for note taking, information sharing, and connecting with their Boomer-grandparents, aside from Instagramming, Snap Chatting, and swiping left on Facebook.

Hello, world! Meet generation Z.

Gen. Z begins with “the 90s kids,” as the internet loves to address them. To be more precise, however, generation Z is made up of youth that grew up impervious to a world without smartphones and the rapid internet culture. According to Wikipedia, that’d be people born from the mid-1990s to later in that decade.

Considering they aren’t accustomed to subpar products and early versions of current trends-think Nokia 1100 or the iPhone 3GS-generation Z has a unique view on technology than the rest of the internet audience.

They don’t perceive smartphones as improving their lifestyle, but, instead, consider them as an extension of everyday activities. Taking technology for granted, they’ve never settled for anything less than the best. Which means they need high quality and aren’t afraid to criticise technology that doesn’t serve their expectations.

This quality-this straightforwardness-has forever altered the way consumers and brands interact. Companies find themselves communicating with an audience that no longer hesitates to live a public life-youth nowadays use all kinds of apps to stay connected, to share their stories, and to speak their mind. They’re willing to renounce more information with brands in return for personalised treatment. We now live in a world where consumers demand products and services that brands must oblige to, or risk losing their place in the market.

Generation Z is harsh. They know what they want, and they sense salesy a mile away. A brand that tries too hard to convince them won’t do well. Rather, the more transparent and community-oriented brands attract them.

The toll on consumerism.

As a result of the drastic expectations generation Z has inflicted upon our society, we now see more and more businesses re-strategising their marketing and processes to cater to this generation.

Thanks to the ubiquity of social media and the thousands of available alternatives, brands need to react fast and right if they’re to retain their customers. With most purchasing decisions falling on generation Z, they’ve brought to light some exceptional customer service, excellent user experiences, and most advanced accessibility functions.

Success equals storytelling and community building.

Brands have realised that the only way to attract a consumer is by engaging on a personal level. As a customer, I’d, of course, choose a company I know about, a company whose employees I’ve interacted with, whose values I resonate with, and whose work I admire. That’s where storytelling and community building have become successful marketing approaches.
Generation Z, more than any of its predecessors, places immense value in being human and getting work done. They’re unforgiving towards brands that waste their time, lack value, or transparency.

The impact on the Boomers, the X, and the Y.

While generation Z changes the world for (I hope) the better, its predecessors have remained in the back seat. But aside from observing in silence and awe, they’ve also taken to riding the bandwagon. It’s wonderful that grandparents are shuffling with iPads because they want to stay in touch with their great-grandchildren continents afar. I’m proud of my father every time he texts me back on WhatsApp. I’m amazed when my teachers like my photo, share a status, or post a selfie.

And the best of all — it’s because of generation Z and its influence on global businesses that Boomers and Gen. Xers now demand better UX on the Starbucks mobile app or upgrade their clunky handhelds in favour of sleeker ones.

So what now?

The impact of generation Z has extended far beyond the use of fancy technology to speed up lives. It’s also given birth to social and political awareness, environmental campaigning, and an overall rise in quality of life. The future holds many surprises, but a wider generation gap won’t be one of them.

Marketing to Generation Z was the topic on the #CMWorld chat on October 30, 2018. See the summary here.

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