One of the most diverse, and largest age groups in the U.S. today is Generation Z. Gen Z accounts for 37% of the country’s population. They are opinionated, demanding, brand conscious, and have high expectations of things that they are surrounded with and from people they interact with. For this reason, brands have to know how to effectively market their products and services towards this varied demographic. How can brands cater to such a diverse and demanding population? Here are some ideas.
Gen Z is an extremely individualistic generation. This creates a craving for personalized products that match this individualism. In the new year, brands must create a personal connection with their target demographic of consumers. For example, companies can support certain social justice groups, and market products as part of their brand awareness strategy. For instance, a clothing company could convey its support for BLM, and release a clothing line. This would cater to every young teen who supports BLM, a fairly large demographic. Also, connecting the demographics’ personal beliefs to the product. As a result, actualizing a sense of personal connection with the product, thus with the brand.
Gen Z expects complete transparency from companies they buy. Consumers need transparency in the authenticity of a company’s product, and what it stands for. It is necessary for advertisements to be relatable to Gen Z as well. This is done by using people-to-people ads, aka hyper-realistic ads to cater to the individual preferences and tastes of consumers.
The unrealistic advertisement makes a product seem inauthentic to Gen Z. An example of this would be Gatorade’s campaign with Michael Jordan in the 90s’. They essentially said, drink this, you’ll be like Jordan, and the public back then loved it.
But, times have changed. While celebrities and superheroes are still a good way to mass market a product, specifically, Gen Zers put more value on the authenticity of an average Joe’s opinion. For this reason, many brands go on social media, and have random people review their products. This gives the brand authenticity. Random, unbiased reviews are the most trustworthy, as they create the expected transparency.
Another way to attract Gen Z is by using influencers who have a loyal fan base. These influencers will have audiences that correlate with the same values the brand has. All in all, this creates a new target market within that audience. Hypothetically, if an athlete, with a loyal fan base were to promote a brand of energy drinks, his audience would assume the drink is top quality.
By using influencers and their audience, a person to person connection is established, giving advertisements authenticity, and transparency. For this reason, brands such as Spotify (musicians like Hozier), Netflix (Addison Rae) and YouTube (Ryan’s Toyreview) are always seen connected with some influencers or the other to help expand their reach among Gen Zers.
Finally, Gen Z looks for brands with an iconic positive image. For example, the reusable water bottle brand, Hydroflask has gained popularity among Gen Zers.
A lot of the product’s popularity stems from its image. It is marketed as a sustainable brand, tasked with reducing plastic and helping the environment. Hydroflask highlights how the metal used to make its bottles is reused, and how with every purchase, money is donated towards saving the environment. The brand was created with the idea of getting rid of plastic usage, and as a result, people made it a trend.
As the brand’s popularity grew, a social media trend where people would take pictures of their Hydroflasks in nature grew. This solidified the brand’s image as environmentally friendly, and made it soar in popularity even more. As a result of the positive image and trend, high school girls around the country made it a staple accessory. Even though the trend is over, there is at least one Hydroflask in every high school classroom across the country.
To sum it up
Understanding the demands of Gen Z, to be unique and have personalized relationships with brands should be today’s top brand’s priority if they want to succeed in targeting this demographic. Products with personal connections, brands with positive images, and transparency are just a few requirements that Gen Z expect from their favorite brands. These needs call for a different approach to marketing, and if the marketing method is not changed, consequences may occur, such as, going bankrupt, as apparent with Toys R’Us.
On the other hand, winning over Gen Zers is the ultimate reward in itself because this group of consumers is loyal, passionate, and highly brand conscious.
Danial Dodhia is a business student looking to expand his writing prowess. He’s looking to
understand the world of branding from his writing lens. He writes about branding, business, and
their impact on the young generation.