21 Jun Gen Z is talking. Are you listening?
From ditching the side-part hairstyle to sipping on home-brewed, gut-loving fermented drinks, Gen Z is rewriting the playbook. They aren’t just following the crowd; they’re forging their own paths and leaving old-school brands scratching their heads. They have a minimum tolerance for brands that don’t take the time and effort to get to know them. Successful brands reaching Gen Z all have one thing in common: they know how to get on the same wavelength as their audience. And whilst so many marketers ‘know’ Gen Z, when was the last time you really talked to them about your category, brand and related challenges? Gen Z is talking. Are you listening?
All about Gen Z
Almost every recent pitch deck received or sent out is about attracting Gen Z consumers. Next to their buying power, what attracts brands is their influence on peers and their curious, open, and adaptable mindset. Every new generation challenges the status quo. There is a willingness to adapt to new things. They have a knack for setting trends and shaping popular culture. This generation’s digital fluency, social media proficiency and distinctive values shape their engagements with brands and fuel their quest for authenticity and social responsibility. Effectively connecting with them can unlock lasting brand loyalty, establish meaningful relationships and drive business success.
New generation. Different rules.
So, are we really that different? At the end of the day, our desire for acceptance, love and fulfilment remains remarkably the same. However, around 2 out of 5 Gen Xers and almost half of the Boomers think they’re very different to Gen Z compared to when they were young (GWI, 2021). Even half of Millennials perceive Gen Z to be either partially or very different to themselves. They have never experienced life without the Internet. Whether for entertainment, creative expression or staying current on the latest trends, TikTok offers a space where people from every generation can participate. Yet, Gen Z is by far the most active. In the Netherlands, more than 7 in 10 Gen Zers are active TikTok users (Foresight Factory, 2022). They are commonly portrayed as tech-obsessed and glued to their devices, suggesting they have short attention spans and a heavy reliance on social media.
However, these stereotypes and misconceptions overlook their social activism and passion for making a positive impact. That’s why we shouldn’t just guess what they’re thinking or define who they are—let’s bridge the gap and hear it straight from the source.
Let’s hear it straight from the source
In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, the constant evolution of niche communities and algorithmic changes, it’s vital to keep close contact with them. That’s why we’ve established Gen Z focus groups and panels. We dive into their attitudes, beliefs, motivations, and reactions to understand what makes them tick. Our Gen Z panel is all about discussions and feedback on products, services, social assets—all things social; you name it.
To give an example, last month, in partnership with Hey, het is oké, Roorda and Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, we set up multiple focus groups to receive feedback to optimise the campaign. One explored how we could increase the brand’s relevance and perception for the younger target audience. In an ideation session, we uncovered unique insights that have fueled the creativity for the next social-first campaign. While relevant for many brands, it’s essential for campaigns that talk about young consumers’ mental health. In addition, during their campaign, we have native community managers, often Gen Z, who interact with their peers. They help us understand this important group better and build stronger connections for our brands.
Our understanding of social media and direct audience engagement keeps us at the forefront. Through data-driven research, we understand both immediate and future trends, empowering us to create bespoke insights reports that fuel social-first campaigns, always-on strategies and 360 campaigns. Having these different services in-house, we can swiftly translate (social) insights into actionable campaigns and optimisations, ensuring rapid turnarounds and impactful results. Because in social media, we have to move fast and make it happen.