Gen Z. They make up almost 28% of the population—yet many marketers have no idea how to reach them. Guest writer Leah Glatt is here to change that.
Time for a quick confession: I’m a Gen Z’er. (Insert gasp here.)
Yup, I’m part of the TikTok-dancing, born-with-WiFi generation who “fairy-tweets” at 3am…all while making memes and trying not to “cancel” every off-color celebrity. (Sounds Shakespearean? This article is made for you.)
Modern brands can’t risk overlooking Gen Z. Why? They’re rapidly becoming one of the most powerful generations—and will only continue to influence sales.
But how can you reach us? We’re a confounding cohort—and critical, to boot. Have no fear: I hereby present the top four ways to increase your influence in the Gen Z era.
Authenticity is everything
Underneath it all, Gen Z wants to be understood. They’re not looking for fancy jargon or boastful claims. Instead, they want emotion. Human connection. Authenticity.
Now, be warned: Gen Z’ers detect digital deception from a mile away—and we’ll spot insincerity faster than you posted that awkward tweet (yeah, that one). To reach us, replace stuffy corporate copy with conversational language. Bonus points if it’s self-effacing!
When launching campaigns, remember that Gen Z doesn’t want to be sold to. Sales pitches make them cringe. They don’t want picture-perfect brands, because they’re not perfect themselves—so show that you have flaws, too. A humanistic approach may be exactly what you need to capture a new—and powerful—audience.
Meet them where they are
There’s something to be said for this incredibly tech-savvy generation. As digital natives, Gen Z spend more than 75% of their free time online, turning to social media as a way of expressing themselves and showcasing their individuality. If you’re not showing up on their radar, you won’t be relevant. It’s that simple.
What does this mean for modern brands? Simply put, you need to get on social media—ASAP. Instagram. Twitter. YouTube. TikTok. If Gen Z is there, you should be too.
Ultimately, engaging with audiences on their home turf can help your brand gain rapport, support, and trust—which will do wonders for your bottom line.
The bolder the better
No more sweet but subtle ad campaigns that underperform. You need energy, boldness, and spice—copy that makes you stand out, not blend in. Bring on the funny campaigns, tweets, and social media posts, because the way to every Gen Z’ers heart is through quirky humor and clever branding. (Trust me on this one!)
Of course, you need to be wary of how you do this. Gen Z has zero tolerance for intolerance. I repeat: zero tolerance! They won’t take kindly to anything even remotely hinting of the like. “Cancel culture” is alive and well in Gen Z circles, and it’s not fun for the recipient. Especially when targeting a younger cohort, you’ll need to be hyper-aware that there is a fine line between humor and offense.
Celebrate their differences
(No, this isn’t another cheesy 2000’s line.)
Gen Z doesn’t celebrate diversity—they are diversity. Inclusivity is as natural to them as anything else, and they’re on track to become the most ethnically diverse generation in history.
According to Pew Research Center, over 48% of Gen Z are a minority. Be inclusive by adding Gen Z’ers to your conversation. Don’t just talk about them—talk to them.
Poised to be the most educated generation yet, Gen Z also holds passionate political views. While celebrating their diversity is more than welcome, Gen Z will not appreciate the exploitation of their causes and beliefs for corporate gain. Encouraging their views and voicing your support for the newest generation of voters will be applauded—but inauthentic messaging and ulterior motives will not.
You now possess some dangerously good information that can put you on Gen Z’s radar—and set you apart in a crowded market. Use it wisely.
See you on Insta!