Gen Z is Disrupting the Status Quo for Brand Relevance
In 2022, things are different than they’ve ever been before. Although this can easily be said of every time in history compared to the time before it, there are things about life in this modern age that are making those evolutionary changes in human existence accelerate at an unprecedented pace, and honestly it can feel a little complicated to keep up.
One of the ways in which we are seeing massive changes to the cultural infrastructure is in the ways we buy goods and in the ways in which we view brands in general. For older generations, this may simply mean that we’re embracing the convenience of Amazon shopping while remembering the inconvenience of pre-Amazon days. It may mean that we embrace the idea that we can Google anything we want to know about a particular brand and it might affect our shopping habits if we learn that they stand for something we are against.
Nevertheless, older generations are still geared toward brand loyalty based on things like sentimentality and previous experience. This is not the case, however, with the up and coming generation of consumers.
Gen Z is a different breed of consumer. They are a generation that’s been raised with access to the overload of information that is available on the internet, and they have more access than millennials did at their ages. Gen Z, which includes individuals from ages 10 to 20, is online all the time. In fact, it’s nearly constant, with many Gen Z’ers reporting spending 10 plus hours online every single day, much of which is via mobile devices.
Gen Z is spending their time on social media platforms, which is where they get the majority of their news, as opposed to actual news sites or TV. They’re watching the cultural trends and they’re watching brands to see which ones fall in line with their personal values and which ones don’t.
Gen Z is a highly diverse generation, more than any before them. They are well educated, often having two college educated parents, and they have information about the workings and ethics of any brand at their fingertips at any time.
This young generation doesn’t have brand loyalty built into their collective culture as former generations, but instead they are loyal to their values and ideals. They want to know that brands are operating sustainably and producing sustainable goods. They want brands that stand for ethics they value, such as inclusion, shared principles, and affordability. Gen Z doesn’t buy from brands that they see as homophobic or racist, and they value gender neutral options in clothing.
Beyond that, brands also need to realize that Gen Z is getting information about them from places like TikTok, Fortnite, Twitch, and other alternative platforms. In order for brands to keep up with the high and non-traditional demands of these young consumers, they have to meet this generation where they are and they have to be vocal about their brand principles and values.
Gen Z isn’t like previous generations. They value a brand for their message more than their product.