Understanding Gen Z

June 3, 2019

Insight
By Evan Pitchie

In this article, I’d like to share my interpretation from a panel discussion I attended at C2 Montreal on how brands can communicate with Gen Z.

The speakers of this panel were:

  • Manish Vora (Co-founder and President of Museum of Ice Cream)
  • Piera Luisa Gelardi (Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of Refinery29)
  • Steve Ellis (Executive Vice-President for Ad Strategy and Business Development for Viacom)

Let’s dive in!

Born With the Internet

Gen Z is known for being born with the Internet and incredibly mobile. Advances in technology and cultural adoption have made it easier than ever to connect with people around the block or on the other side of the planet.

A by-product of this is the power to create and share content. A large advertising budget and elaborate production equipment are no longer necessary to send a message to the world.

In fact, during the discussion, a point was made about the power of selfie-culture. Gelardi mentioned that selfies have “allowed under-represented people to insert themselves”. In other words, it gave people that didn’t fit the traditional image a platform to share their thoughts and expressions.

Values

Gen Z puts a heavy level of importance on values. In a poll, 80% of Gen Z would boycott a brand if it didn’t fit within their values. This means that if companies want to attract the next generation, they are going to have to be more mindful of their actions.

Seek Experiences

Whether it be online or offline, the next generation is hooked to experiences.

From a digital perspective, the ads that are being created will need to provide some sort of experience to consumers so that they can remain engaged. On Snapchat, it is estimated that users will decide in 3 seconds or less if they will continue to watch or skip to the next. That is incredibly short and will most likely extend to other platforms.

Offline, because Gen Zers are often engaging in a digital world, when they have an opportunity to have an experience in real life, they will appreciate it.

What the Future Looks Like

The world of tomorrow is one of hyper-connectivity. Having so much access to so many people will require creative and possibly even new rules of engagement in order to cater to the interests of the upcoming generation. This could include a mix of online and offline tools that our current generation has never seen before.