How to Appeal to Generation Z

They’re ambitious, mature and ready to change the world with the confidence of their own convictions and creativity. They are generation Z.

It’s no surprise if you’ve grown a little tired of the word “millennials”– it’s everywhere at the moment. And rightly so – as one of the most fascinating generations, we as marketers should pay them close attention.

But what about the next generation? UKcentric recently had our very own generation Z in our midst for work experience, so we took this opportunity to get their take on everything digital. Making up about a quarter of the UK’s population, it’s definitely worth dedicating time to reach out to this group.

Nathan, a 15-year-old pupil, chatted to us about his regular digital routines and his views on each of them.

Facebookfacebook

“I hardly ever go on Facebook”, he admits. As a bright and energetic teen, Nathan said that Facebook definitely seems like a network for older people.

“There’s nothing people would need to contact me on Facebook about,” he said. “If my friends really wanted to tell me something they’d do it in person.” Not to mention the lack of relevant news that Facebook seems to produce for our generation Z.

“I don’t want to see everyone’s selfies. It’s boring. I’d rather spend my time finding interesting stuff on Twitter…”

Twitter

Surprisingly perhaps, most of Nathan’s friends have Twitter accounts.

“I don’t tweet though – I don’t have anything I want to say, I use it to find things.” Unlike the #hungry and #selfie cults of Twitter, Nathan does not use his own account for what some critics describe as ‘digital shouting’, but to find articles, videos, comics – anything he has an interest in.

But this is a generation of do-ers. Should they not be actively joining in with the conversation specific hashtags like #GBBO or #xfactor? No doubt some do; but Nathan prefers to engage in one thing at a time, leaving the tablet browsing whilst watching telly down to the millenials and upwards (sorry to anyone who spent a long time learning how to multi-task in order to do this).

Instagraminstagram

Nathan’s younger sibling is a young generation Z and does not have a Twitter or Facebook account, and this isn’t unusual.

“They all use Instagram. It’s the fastest way to get a message across – that and Snapchat.”

As the younger generations find their digital voice, the content becomes more and more image focused.

General online use

As a very pro-active generation, there are no surprises that the Zs like the most up-to-date websites to browse. This extends further than preferred aesthetics – they also place more trust in the newest looking sites.

“I wouldn’t buy anything from a website that looked like it was designed a few years ago. It might work fine, but there’s something untrustworthy about it looking old …”

As a more visually driven age than the millennials and beyond, Nathan told us how memes were also a large part of not just his social media interaction, but meetings in person with friends and classmates.

“There are certain memes that are very funny and really relevant to you in your everyday life at school.”

As well as being good comedy material, memes also play a large role in community spirit for this young generation. If a classmate makes reference to a particularly well-shared meme, most people will understand the joke. This is a fascinating new approach to bringing what is online into the classroom.

“There was a boy who come late into a maths class and entered with, ‘Sorry I’m late. I’ve just picked up a Mayo Chicken for 99p’. So if everyone knows a particular phrase or something from TV, it’ll often become a sort of meme in real life.”

Being able to embrace the online world and immediately use it in social situations gives us a key insight to the Z-style:

  • Things must be immediate
  • Things must hold factual or interesting content yet other ads can still triumph with a catchy, gimmick approach (but it doesn’t last long)
  • Illustrating concepts, products and philosophies through imagery is absolutely key

Something that Nathan has really taught us, is the rapid ability that generation Z’s has in adapting to new technology. So whatever marketing strategy you choose next – it had better be cutting edge, to the point and happen quickly, or this generation will have moved on.

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Winner, Kingston Business Excellence Awards 2018, Customer Service category