A new study into Gen Z from Atlantic Re:think, the Atlantic’s creative marketing group—in partnership with Comscore and Harvard College Consulting Group—finds that Gen Z and Millennials perceive brands and media outlets in dramatically different ways.
While the creative marketing group studied young adults within the 18-24 age range, they discovered, for example, that out of 60 brands adored by Millennials only two received a solid “like” from Gen Z: YouTube and Apple.
This came as no surprise though, because video was reported by Gen Z as the most preferred platform. A study participant confirmed, “I like videos because they are visual things. Visuals make things more concrete.”
The sources through which Gen Z is getting their brand awareness also differs from Millennials. About 55 percent said they use products recommended by a friend; 48 percent were influenced by social media ads; 40 percent said ads on their favorite media encouraged purchase; 36 percent used products advocated by an influencer and finally only 24 percent emulated celebrities in their shopping choices.
Brand’s physical stores encouraged 41 percent of participants, while only 10 percent were influenced by a brand’s e-commerce site, which shows that real-life experiences still matter to Gen Z. For brands like GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch and others that provide beautiful in-store shopping experiences this could be a boon.
Many news sources that target Gen Z come off as patronizing, the study reported. By keeping this in mind, though, marketers can benefit from helping Gen Z to better understand the world around them, as only 34 percent of the participants claimed they were “exceptionally aware” of current events, world affairs and politics, compared to 84 percent who are only “curious” about those.
But it is important to note that while still very young but as opposed to Millennials, Gen Zs appear to be more empathetic and concerned with inclusion and diversity. For instance, 61 percent of Gen Z talked about being more likely to buy brands that have spokespeople who are more diverse (versus 52 percent of Millennials). Also, 62 percent are more likely to buy brands that have spokespeople they aspire to be like rather than spokespeople their age (versus 66 percent of Millennials).
“If someone I look up to likes the product, and especially if they recommend it without getting paid, I’m willing to take their word,” a study participant said.
Gen Z also believes that technology makes them more informed, connected and open-minded. And, nearly half of respondents said technology makes them anxious or stressed.
The research proposed some vital strategies to become Gen Z’s favorite brand like how enjoyable it to visit and shop in a brand’s stores; company’s treatment of its employees; the presence of options and ability to customize products and last but not least, the brand’s personality, eco-consciousness and the use of innovation.