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How Brands Should Market to a Gen Z Audience

A Guide to Creating Corporate Messaging that Stands Out

Warning: The following post might possibly make you feel really, really old. 


If you haven’t heard yet, Generation Z is a rising generation with increasing purchasing power. Gen Z  is the generation born after millennials, between 1996–2010. They truly are the internet and social media generation. Given that Gen Zers were quite literally born into a digitized era they’re extremely  digitally savvy. According to the Institute of Business Management, most Gen Zers (73%) use their internet-connected devices to communicate with friends or family, while 59% also use them for entertainment and gaming. 

But who is Gen Z? According to Pew Research Center, members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation and they are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet. Given this insight, Gen Zers value diversity, and look for it in the brands they prefer. Gen Z has an estimated purchasing power of $44B annually and as of 2020, Gen Z makes up more than 40% of U.S. consumers. When it comes to marketing efforts, it's important that brands not only acknowledge, but cater to the Gen Z population. The question is, how? Here are three things to consider when marketing to Gen Z. 

1. Gen Z values

Gen Z’s core values include activism, authenticity, diversity, acceptance, and freedom of expression, to name a few. According to Ad Age, “Gen Z is looking for brands that not only sell products they want to buy, but also share their values and do their bit to make the world a better place.” Marketing to an active and outspoken generation includes being mindful of their values, which largely focuses on making the world a better and more inclusive space. 61% of Gen Z report they would pay more for products or services that are produced in an ethical and sustainable way. Now, more than ever, brands have the opportunity to attract more Gen Zers by shining a light on their core company values in their marketing messages. 

2. Social media platforms of choice

A recent report conducted by JWT Intelligence and Snap Inc. report that 56% of teens use social media apps to express themselves creatively. Gen Z is crazy about a handful of online platforms including Twitch, Reddit, TikTok, Imgur, Unfold, Brat, NTWRK, and Lomotif. In order to attract more Gen Z audiences, digital marketers must target the platforms they’re using. An ad created for Facebook won’t work on TikTok, so make sure you’re creating unique content for the platform it will be published on.  

3. Be true to your brand

Gen Zers can detect an inauthentic campaign or brand from a galaxy away. The search for truth and transparency is at the root of Gen Z’s behaviors and values. According to Non Profit Pro, Gen Z cares about freedom of expression and authenticity. Brands and digital marketers can respond to these behaviors by creating transparent campaigns that showcase their brand’s authenticity. Marketers need to ensure that information about their brand is transparent and readily available online. Marketers will also want to make sure that they don’t duplicate a competitor’s marketing strategies, as this comes off as unoriginal and disingenuous. 

As the year comes to a close, it’s important and arguably essential to incorporate marketing strategies specifically targeting the Gen Z audience. From outlining brand values, to prioritizing diversity, Gen Zers are ready to dedicate their purchasing power to brands who care about their core values. 

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