POV (Perspective)
How To Win Over Generation Z
  • Friday, Mar. 29, 2019
Michael Scantlebury

When it comes to Generation Z, and how important they are for the future of your brand, I like to think in terms of the leaky bucket concept.

Every brand is a leaky bucket: over time, consumers will fall out. They find someone else they love more, their focus shifts, they get bored, whatever.

If brands want to be smart with their marketing dollars, it’s actually far more expensive to convince someone who’s about to leave your brand to come back, because they’ve already made that decision. 

As Byron Sharp of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute famously said, marketers ought to be focused on filling the bucket with new customers at a faster rate than it leaks.

This means finding a constant stream of new consumers – which is where Generation Z comes in.

But what really defines this audience, and how can we go about building a relationship with them?

Well, first off, Generation Z are the world’s first 100% digital natives. They’ve never known a world without the internet; they’ve never not had a smartphone fused to their hand.

Second off, Gen Z think fast. Research shows it takes them just eight seconds to decide whether or not they want to engage with your brand and, if you don’t capture their attention in that timespan, you’ve lost them.

Thirdly, in contrast with millennials, one of the most exciting things about Gen Z is that they care about brands. Even crazier--they like brands.

Generation Z adopt brands as social currency--expressing themselves through brands that speak to their interests and lifestyle; that say something about who they are.

But they want brands to be brave--to do new things that inspire them, not reflect them. They want brands to set the agenda.

So, top tips for brands looking to succeed with Gen Z are:

  • 1) Be visual. Be brave. Get weird. Don’t rely too heavily on brand guidelines; and don’t be afraid to embrace “internet culture.” It can be a remarkably liberating place.
  • 2) Be ambitious. Be fast, and be new. Consider moving to a “news, not content” strategy. In the mobile-first world of Gen Z, brands that make headlines succeed faster and last longer than brands that make beautiful film.
  • 3) Be relatable--and be authentically so. 77% of young consumers want brands to be authentically relatable, according to research from Impero--so know who you are as a brand, and stick to it.

So, for brands looking to up their game and future-proof in 2019, set your eyes on the next generation of consumers now – and make your competitors look like the tired ones.

Start getting weird. Generation Z--and your leaky bucket--will thank you for it.

Michael Scantlebury is creative director & founder of Impero, a creative agency in London.

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