Since early June of this year, tensions have risen between Gen Z and generations X and Y. Gen Z is blamed for the language gap between them and their parents. Gen Z uses the words we use today, like “cool,” “hip,” and “tight.” Gen Z also has taunted the hipsters for using popular words like: twee, trap, and Kopi Luwak. In a July issue of Harvard Business Review, researchers discussed how Gen Z and Y differ when it comes to verbal communication.
The researchers defined Gen Z as people born in the year 1996, compared to those who were born in 1998. Gen Z can be described as a brand of individuals with an increasing focus on individualism and mobility. According to the study, Gen He’s “show more distrust of brands and authority figures than any other generation.” What does this mean for brands? Two big changes recently revealed by The New York Times, explains why some brands are losing sales to Gen Z.
First, brands should think about creating an identity that is distinct from that of the existing competitors. A brand should be “different enough from existing brands to create a gap that may be bridged by Gen Z consumers.” Brands need to consider hiring influencers to become familiar with Gen Z and shape their brand image and messaging to appeal to Gen Z consumers.
Second, many Gen Z users are turned off by the often stiff policies used by major companies today, such as Twitter and Facebook. Therefore, some brands may want to consider engaging with Gen Z by creating a more personal relationship with them. An example might be a podcast, which allows Gen Z to feel like they are hearing directly from a brand representative. A third option is to create an app specifically designed for Gen Z, which targets their interests and communicates key company messages. With these three points in mind, Gen Z-targeted brands will be able to appeal to the interests and needs of Gen Z consumers.
A smart idea for Gen Z-targeted brands is to use social media platforms to promote their brands and create a sense of personal engagement. Twitter is a great place to start, as it provides a unique platform that Gen Z-users are more likely to respond to. The rise of Vine, another mobile video sharing platform, also points toward brands that need to consider how to get their stories out in front of Gen Z. Brands that rely solely on traditional channels, such as television or print, may find themselves losing out on younger generations who prefer to consume information through more interactive means. Gen Z is looking for brands that connect to their audience on an emotional level, leading brands to take notice of the social media movement.
Finally, Gen Z needs a brand that understands the importance of analytics. Without this, a brand’s data will be useless, since it is not possible to measure and predict customer responses to campaigns. Brands that are successful in the past are those that are able to understand and adapt to changes, whether it’s through product lines or marketing initiatives. This ability to evolve will help Gen Z-targeted brands maintain a competitive edge, which is critical if Gen Z Consumers are to form their own distinct identity. In essence, brands that understand and incorporate analytics into their business will be those Gen Z consumers will turn to for advice. Gen Z-targeted brands that do this stand a better chance of ensuring success, ultimately improving their standing among Gen Z-umers.