What Does Gen Z Want from Brands?

What Does Gen Z Want from Brands

Can’t seem to get Gen Z to loosen their purse strings? Here are some tips that might help!

As of 2022, Generation Z has a collective purchasing power of US$360 billion. Every business wants a part of this massive consumer base, but getting on Gen Z’s good side isn’t easy. Dealing with the 2008 recession, the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing economic hardships have made Gen Z expert savers

So, if you are hoping to get Gen Z to open their wallets and buy something from your brand, you need to understand their core values and make a marketing plan that they can identify with. Here is an overview of what this generation cares about and how you can incorporate their values into your marketing strategy.

What does Gen Z care about?

Born between 1997 and 2012, the oldest members of this generation are 25 years old (as of 2022). As the first generation to be born and brought up with the internet and social media, Gen Z is uniquely aware of world events. Unlike their predecessors, they can’t make the choice to tune out information and thus are proactive in fighting for social change. 

According to research conducted by public-relations and research firm Edelman, 70% of Gen Z is involved in a social or political cause. They are likely to boycott companies or even countries at large, based on their political and social views. This generation also cares deeply about the environment. According to experience management company First Insight, 73% of Gen Z is ready to pay 10% more to buy environmentally friendly products. 

As previously mentioned, this generation is careful about its spending habits. This may be because the generation has gone through multiple financial hardships. They tend to heavily research products before making a purchase and are always on the lookout for the best deals as opposed to being loyal to a specific brand. 

How to market to Gen Z?

Now that you have a clear idea of what this generation cares about, here are some tips on how you can effectively market to them. 

Don’t be shy to highlight your brand values 

If the previous section showed anything, it was that this generation cares about social causes and the climate and isn’t afraid to put its money where its mouth is. So, the first thing you need to do is to show them how your business contributes to the community. 

A brand that is doing a good job of being both socially responsible and sustainable is Patagonia. The company uses 87% recycled materials for its clothing. It also cares about its employees, with all its factories not only complying with the local laws but also with the Patagonia Supplier Workplace Code of Conduct, which ensures fair, healthy and safe working conditions for all employees. It is perhaps all of this that makes Patagonia one of Gen Z’s favorite brands.

Leverage social media effectively

As the most tech-savvy generation so far, Gen Z spends a large portion of its time on social media. 44% of Gen Z are inspired to make a purchase because of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. So, to get them to buy your products you need to have a good reach on these platforms. 

You can accomplish this by hiring influencers or even by conducting live streams to showcase your products. A brand that has succeeded in effectively using social media is the Chinese fashion retailer Shein. As of writing this article, there are 6.8 billion videos under the hashtag #SheinHaul on TikTok. The brand has partnered with mega influencers, such as Addison Rae, who has nearly 90 million followers on the platform, as well as smaller creators to expand its reach. It has also previously invested in live streams where it shows models and influencers wearing the brand’s clothes so that customers can understand what they look like before making a purchase.

Prioritize honest channels of communication

At this point, Gen Z has spent so much time on the internet that they are able to see past fake sales or aggressive marketing copies. Instead of being fed this kind of content, they want to engage with brands in real and meaningful ways. According to research by the discount website UNiDAYS, 76% of Gen Z wants brands to respond to feedback and view it as a measure of the authenticity of a brand. 

An example of this is the tech giant Apple. The brand has an official customer support Twitter account called AppleSupport which promptly responds to customer complaints and also encourages them to follow up on the issues they face through direct messages. It is perhaps because of their prompt grievance redressal system that Gen Z is deeply interested in the Apple ecosystem with 87% of American teenagers saying they own an iPhone. 

Finally, the last thing you need to remember is that Gen Z values their individuality and considers the products and services they purchase as a way to express their identity. This is exactly why they hold companies to such high standards. As a Gen Zer, to me, it matters whether the companies I choose to buy from support the same causes I believe in because every purchase I make is a reflection of who I am as a person. Others from my generation share a similar mindset and see purchase decisions as a means of self-expression. As long as you are mindful of this and follow the tips above, you should be able to create a strong relationship with your Gen Z customers. 

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Header image courtesy of Freepik

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