How to Adapt to Generation Z?
Gen Z is more diverse, better educated and vastly more digitally savvy than ever before. How can brands and retailers create products and experiences attuned to this generation? We've attended ShopTalk Europe 2022, held in London in June, to learn more about Gen Z, and how their preferences and behaviours are shaping product and marketing decisions.
Brands need to understand this new generation if they want their business to be successful in the future. One thing to bear in mind is that they are digital natives, and quite active on social media. They share what other people say and can also be quite critical.
“They have the capacity to make things trendy, to change the perception of things. This generation has more tools than any other generation to amplify a message. They are even more influential.” Olivia Calafat, Chief Marketing Officer, Wallapop
Gen Z constitute 30% of the world’s population and have a big spending power, despite still living with their parents. As they are hyperconnected, they tend to influence other generations too, as they did with Fridays for Future, an organised climate strike movement led by Greta Thunberg.
It’s important to build an emotional connection with this generation, it’s no longer enough to finding customers, bringing them to your website and offer a good service with attractive delivery and payment options. The emotional connection is what can provide a competitive advantage.
This is where purpose comes in, and Gen Z cares about sustainability which impacts 70% of their purchasing decisions. It’s important to inspire a more sustainable way of consuming and bring this to the forefront of your message.
Bear in mind your communication strategy needs to be authentic, as otherwise it can backfire, and brands can simply be accused of greenwashing.
This generation doesn’t take anything at face value and loves getting involved. Sandra Kampmann, Director of Insight and Analytics at ASOS.com referred to their Black Friday’s Alter Ego campaign on Tik Tok to promote their face and body products.
It was a hashtag challenge, where people were asked to put a lot of make up on, and create a video about it. This ended up being a massive hype and allowed everyone to be part of the experience.
“We need to rethink marketing and really do everything differently. That's a very big challenge for brands on the one hand, but also a big opportunity. If you’re not perceived as a cool brand, don't spend a lot of money on an advertising campaign and expect them to find it cool, because that's not going to happen.” Leonie Schüssler, Managing Partner, Strategy, Ogilvy
Gen Z doesn’t want to be taught by a brand how to do things, but to create on their own. The main point is to get them involved while being as human as possible. Schüssler recommends: “We talk a lot about humanising brands. Be very aware of how you talk, how you act as a brand, how your community managers talk. That's really important. Drop the corporate vibe.”
Her other suggestion is to stop developing an idea and adapting it to different platforms. It’s all about understanding how and why they use a specific platform, and finding new ways to add value.
Olivia Calafat from Wallapop alerts against assumptions, saying that within Gen Z there are the activist Gen We, and the self-centred Gen Me, interested in building their own personal brand and style driven, so brands are likely to find contradictions on their data.
In any case, this generation is a source of business growth and your future consumers, so it’s important to engage with them and learn to navigate these contradictions in due time.