What GenZ expects from brands. The ultimate guide

Jun 16, 2020 | Articles

Andrea Burgueño

Andrea Burgueño

Contributor

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to choose the right tone or the right content. No matter how careful they are, brands have it difficult to please everybody. Finding the balance between hyperindividualization and messages that sounds right to many different people is mandatory for every brand aiming to connect with GenZ consumers. However, knowing what GenZ expects from brands is key to succeed in that mission. Do you know what they want from you? Here is the ultimate guide to GenZ demands and wishes.

genz facts

Brands should be brands

Even though brands are deeply integrated in GenZ’s lives, they are still brands. Not friends, but brands. In other words: too much effort to be sympathetic could be perceived as lack of authenticity. GenZ values brands that don’t pretend to be something else and that stick to their own DNA and their own values, no matter what happens.

Also, in a situation like the current one ignoring what’s going on is as bad as showing some kind of unnatural exaggerated concern. So tone and message should be moderated and adjusted to reality and expectations.

They should be ethical

Taking advantage of situations like the current one is something that GenZ would never forgive. Although they are fine with brands having their own interests, they don’t approve trying to get what they want at all costs. Instead, they value responsibility and positive contributions to society. Why? Because they see brands as effectively important agents within socio-economic structures.

Ethics and values are something so important, that they demand it from brands as they would from any individual. In fact, most GenZ Americans not only support the movement Black Lives Matter, but also expect brands to do the same. According to YPulse, 59% expect brands to make a statement on social media, 58% want them also to donate and 51% think that brands should amplify the voices of black leaders.

And also consistent

People choose a brand because they like it better than their competitors or because it offers something different. Even if we are talking about two brands that sell sport shoes, for instance, the way they do it, their message, the design of their products, the brand values, etc., are different. That’s why we all, not just GenZ, get to choose one brand over another, right?

We also like it when it adapts to the times, but keeps some traditional identity, don’t we? Well, this is what GenZ is actually demanding. No matter how much your brand evolves and changes, the core values, the identity, have to be maintained. Why? Because this was the reason why we chose that brand and because we want to remain loyal to it.

Positive image does definitely not mean overpublicizing

We have repeated this many times in many different contexts. It’s not about quantity, but about quality. Brands do not need to repeat their messages a million times. It is far more effective to find a striking message instead. In other words: connecting with GenZ is not about insisting, but about understanding what they need from brands.

During the Covid-19 crisis, overpublicizing was a consequence of using the pandemic to increase visibility. It’s OK to know that a brand is there, but maybe GenZ does not need a newsletter wishing them to be safe from a shop they have not been to in three years. Maybe they just need to see initiatives that can contribute to society in a positive way. Even if these initiatives are not ambitious at all. For example, just informing properly about safety right now would be good enough. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Identity matters

Everyone is different and has different needs. Brands need to address the identity affair from a wide variety of angles. Understanding and respecting uniqueness means supporting diversity. It does not only refer to communication, but also to the way brands act.

In other words: don’t talk about e.g. gender balance, but make it happen in your company. GenZ really cares about social and ecological issues. Their worries are part of their identity too. They are individualistic enough to build an entire Instagram brand just around their personality. But they are part of a community too.

Hyperindividualized advertising is compatible with a socially responsible attitude. And since people’s identity matters, so does brand identity. GenZ is demanding from brands to support their identity without changing theirs.

Digital and social

most popular social networks among gen z
YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among US teens.

Do I really need to stress this point? I think by now, everyone knows that GenZ’s experience of the world is fundamentally digital. The opposition digital vs. analogical does not really exist for them, as it does not really exist in the current world anymore. The only difference is that they have never lived in a world where the digital factor didn’t exist.

Also, GenZ was already born in a totally globalized world. This translates into global virtual communities. Social media is not just a way to praise the individual values and present themselves to the world. It is a way to interact with others and build relationships that are as intense and real as their parent’s analogical ones.

In conclusion: GenZ expects to interact with your brand this way too. That’s why social media has such an enormous impact.

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