Speaking Gen Z
“Idk, bae said my outfit was on fleek but then he saw on ma phone I took a belfie and went kray af, throwing shade. I was like wtf calm yoself or we’re going to miss the party and cba to get fomo because im in the mood to get turnt! Tbh even after dat he was still up in my George Foreman.”
Confused? Not surprising. Even for the youngest of Millennials, GenZ speaks a whole different language.
Now this does not mean brands should start all ad campaigns with a “yo” and refer to everyone as ‘bae’. In fact due to inquisitive, skeptical nature of Gen Z they would probably see right through this. However brands need to speak the language of their customers and there is no doubt brands need to take the time to understand the dialect in which this new, young generation runs by.
Tech Savvy/ 5G Pace:
Generation Z is incontestably tech-savvy and content-hungry. On average, Gen Z use their smartphones a staggering average of 15.4 hours per week. They live at a 4G going on 5G pace and expect brands to do the same. With ‘refreshing’ becoming a unconscious ritual, each new piece of content is replaced by the next, then the next, then the next. Content in this sense has to be more current and reactive than ever before. Brands such as Oreo who created their Super bowl ‘you can dunk in the dark’ content in response to a black out, and ASDA who produced a print campaign in the Metro stating “we love marmite” the morning after the Unilever #Marmitegate scandal, are starting to understand the speed at which content needs to be produced. Brands need to be speaking the language of speed and agility in order to keep up with this fast-paced content consumption.
Gen Z, growing up in an age full of distractions, have developed a shorter attention span. As Obama stated in his ‘good luck America’ Snapchat interview “the way they (GenZ) consume is chopped up,” hence why short form content produced on Snapchat has succeeded so well. According to some research, Gen Z has a 4–8 second filter that scans and critiques info from up to 5 screens at a time. This, therefore, puts them in what is called a constant state of ‘partial attention.’ However although this may insinuate that GenZ doesn’t pay attention to content let alone long-form content because of the hyperactive busy nature of their minds, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, this method of ‘hyper-scanning’ means GenZ are professionals at cutting through the nonsense and clutter, especially when it comes to digital content. GenZ’s may consume content fast but they consume with intent. With brains processing information at rapid speeds, brands must target the Gen Z mind tactically and strategically. In this sense, a brand’s content must be kept punchy, excitable, visual and importantly to the point if they want to speak to GenZ.
Access all Areas:
The phone for a GenZer may as well be an extra body part. In fact, a recent study from the University of Maryland showed that 79% of GenZer’s displayed symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices. Additionally, 90% would be upset if they had to give up their mobile Internet connection. Although seemingly extreme, these statistics highlight that GenZ has been born into a mobile ‘Wifi-age’ in which they can access information seamlessly at anytime anywhere. Instant and consistent access is an extension of their everyday life, not a privilege. What can we take from this? Not only do brands need to be fast paced they must ensure the days of single platform ads are left far behind. A brand, just like the mobile internet, must be omnipresent.
Give me a Story:
Growing up in an era where crafting personal stories on social media is a daily ritual, GenZ has a preference for storytelling. Recently science has proven that a story with a beginning and end can be the best means of conveying information. According to studies stories release dopamine into the system which evokes all types of emotions, aiding the recall of details. Therefore brands taking on this format for producing campaigns can be extremely beneficial in general. However, it is important to note that GenZ in particular due to their upbringing being immersed in Instagram stories and Snapchat stories and so forth are constantly looking for the next level of experiences. Importantly they want to be taken on a journey. Brands, therefore, should always consider an interesting narrative.
Being brought up surrounded by economic disaster, the war on terror and debates about racial, religious, ethnic and sexual equality GenZers have a greater interest in the socioeconomic and humanitarian global issues around them. Since a young age these GenZers have been surrounded on the internet by global prevalent issues, never able to turn a blind eye, giving them a heightened sense of awareness and concern. Moreover, growing up in the digital age means GenZers are not just passive observers. Many utilise their social platforms to not only talk about change but try and enact change in the world. Almost 1 out of 4 claim to actively volunteer and support various good causes. In this sense, brands need to embrace combining making profit with a greater good if they want to appeal to GenZ’s ‘do-gooder’ sensibility.
With the combined buying power of $43 billion and influence an additional $600 billion of family spending, they are a Generation not to be forgotten or over looked. Its time to make sure we are all speaking their language.
N.B: Now just in case you are still racking your brains. Here is a literal translation of the original GenZ text:
“I don’t know, my before anyone else told me my outfit was lovely but then he saw on my phone i’d taken a butt selfie and went mental, saying mean things. I was like what the fuck calm down or we are you gonna be late and I cant be arsed to get fear of missing out coz im in the mood to get wasted! To be honest even after that he was up in my grill.”