Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Companies interested in entering new markets should look no further than Generation Z, which is composed of individuals born between 1995 and 2012. The New York Times describes Gen Zers as “ethnically and culturally diverse, entrepreneurial, technology-obsessed and gender-neutral." With an estimated spending power of over $143 billion, Generation Z should be–and rightfully is– a huge target audience for many start-ups and companies alike. Generation Z’s support can lead to businesses seeing significant increases in their revenues, and the ability to reach a wider audience. That being said, gaining the support of younger audiences can be a lot harder than it sounds. Gen Z will not support just anyone but, when they do, it leads to significant gains for the business. Here is a guide on how to win over Gen Z, and help your business grow from it.
Younger generations put a strong emphasis on integrity and honesty. So much that 90% of Generation Z cares about whether they are receiving transparent and honest information about their products. As tempting as it may be to take up practices such as greenwashing, Gen Z would much rather have you tell them the truth about your product than they would find out the truth later. Gen Z wants to be content knowing that the products they purchase are what they claim to be. As much as the youth dislikes companies who take up unethical practices, companies who are dishonest fall even lower on the list. Companies can show integrity through the creation of a culture where openly sharing information is a norm, and taking accountability for actions, especially when they may negatively impact business, also happens. Establish clear policies and decisions based on their needs, rather than being vague and making empty promises. Transparency in all aspects of business is critical if you want to win over Generation Z’s minds and dollars.
The world is filled with injustice in many forms. Younger generations such as Generation Z and Millenials have their hearts set on working towards a solution. For Gen Z, equality and equity is a must since they are the most diverse and equal generation yet. Racial equality, gender equality, sexual equality, cultural equality; equality matters to Gen Z, and they need to see it in companies and brands. From the workplace to any kind of advertising, equality and diversity are crucial to appeal to the youth. Before you wonder why you cannot grasp the attention and support of Gen Z, ask yourself:
Is my workspace diverse?
Is our branding inclusive?
Do we openly support the basic human rights of all human beings?
If you answered "no" any of those questions, your company needs to reevaluate. Generation Z will not give their money to companies who haven’t made equity and equality a top priority. By practicing inclusivity, working towards building diverse communities, and ensuring everyone has a voice, your brand is one step closer to gaining Gen Z’s complete support and loyalty.
The clock is ticking for climate change. As one of the first generations to feel the wrath of a changing climate, Gen Z knows how urgent and important climate action is. Because of this, sustainability is a drawing factor and a must if you want to enter the Gen Z consumer market. Gen Z takes climate action seriously, and when they see businesses and companies do the same, they are immediately inspired. Research shows that products marketed as “sustainable” grew 5.6 times faster than conventionally marketed products. However, let us be clear: this does not mean practicing greenwashing in marketing and product claims. Sustainability in business means sourcing your materials responsibly, working towards carbon neutrality, and giving back much of what you take from the Earth. With only seven years remaining to take action on climate change, Gen Z will not support your company if fighting climate change is not a top priority. Once you turn away from greenwashing and start implementing real, actionable, plans, and steps towards fighting climate change, Gen Z will be immediately attracted to your business, and you’ll once again be even closer to gaining the support of the youth.
As a generation of justice and peace advocates, it is no surprise that Gen Z cares a lot about ethics and morality. Business practices must be clean, involve zero child labor, and no forced labor. Gen Z also demands safe working conditions and adequate pay for all employees. In today’s world, workers are exposed to dangerous working conditions, especially in developing countries. Thousands are sacrificing their health for an inadequate paycheck, and Generation Z is well aware of these inhumane practices. If you want Gen Z’s support, make sure your employees are supported first. Ethics and morality are also important to Gen Z. Make sure your material is sourced sustainably, be honest about your business practices, treat everyone equally, and watch your profits soar.
With an enormous spending power and social influence, companies, brands, and businesses, that can attract Gen Z’s support will automatically experience significant gains in popularity and revenue. Rather than focusing on new marketing strategies, refine your current practices to better suit the interests of the new generation, and watch your business soar.