It seems that everywhere you look, you’re bound to hear at least one person discussing Millennial-targeted communication. And while your brand should still keep Millennials top of mind, it’s important to plan ahead for Generation Z: the next generation of consumers born roughly between the mid 90’s and 2010. While they may not yet rival the purchasing power of Gen Xers and Millennials, the kids and teens of Generation Z already account for over a quarter of the U.S. population and have an undeniable influence on their parents’ shopping decisions.
Leverage these five communications tips to help your brand connect and relate to this rapidly growing market:
1. Engage with them now.
Born in the age of technology, Gen Z is the “always on” generation. Because they’re always searching, it is important to grow with this generation to truly capture their interests and earn their trust. With a weekly allowance of about $17 (for a total of $44 billion in spending power), Gen Z is already able to make purchase decisions and build relationships with brands. Getting to know this Generation from the get-go will help your brand to evolve with changing consumer preferences while capturing who they are and what they want.
2. Make your content accessible for different screens.
You’re no longer dealing with one, two, or even three types of channels–Generation Z uses an average of 5 different screens! And what’s more– approximately nine in ten say they use the Internet daily, and nearly a quarter admit they’re almost always online. Brands need to get creative in order to engage with Gen Z everywhere they go, across a range of different platforms. Make use of a livestream channel, leverage new advertising features in mobile apps, and build presences on Gen Z-preferred social media platforms (such as Snapchat).
3. Keep it short and simple.
If you thought Millennials had waning attention spans, think again. Generation Z has an average attention span of only 8 seconds, which is even shorter than many YouTube ads. If you plan on capturing Gen Z’s attention and keeping them engaged, it is crucial to embrace the way that they quickly consume, and move on from, information. Keep your media “snackable” or bite-sized and visually appealing (think emojis, GIFs, or vines) to align with consumption habits, and make sure that all content is shareable to maximize chances of gaining influence with a Gen Zer’s wider social network.
4. Be authentic.
With a 24/7 lifeline to social media and a waning attention span, Generation Z respects their privacy and is wary about anything they deem fake or invasive. They have no problem doing their own research, which makes it easy for them to figure out false advertising. And they definitely do not want a sales pitch. Gen Z wants to see real, relatable people using products that reflect and reinforce their unique personal brands. Many turn to YouTube stars over celebrities for advice, trends or entertainment. It is essential for brands to communicate core values in a manner that is both relatable and shareable in order to win the larger Gen Z audience.
5. Involve them in discussions and appeal to what they’re interested in.
It’s not enough to have an authentic core–relating your brand to the right topics and consciously creating avenues for customer feedback are just as necessary. Over three in four of Gen Zers feel concerned about detrimental impacts to the planet, and three in five want to have a job with positive impacts on the world. Appealing to the sense of “doing good” is just one of many topics that your brand can explore to foster a connection with Generation Z. Similarly, opening up an ongoing dialogue with younger consumers will make them feel heard. Their input may even help guide your future brand strategy.
Gen Z is the first generation born into a truly digital age. The consumers of tomorrow will know exactly when and how to search for what they’re looking for, and companies must fully understand their needs and evolving preferences in order to compete. By endeavoring to understand and reach out to Gen Z early and often, your brand has the opportunity to foster a long and successful relationship that grows in tandem with this generation’s purchasing power.