Gen Z Are Changing The Game, Here's How You Can Learn From Them
If you want your business to survive and thrive in the digital age, you may want to take a leaf out of Gen Z’s book.
Generation Z are about to take a wrecking ball to everything you think you know about business.
The youngest generation - aged anywhere between five and 25 - have never known a time before rampant technology and tumultuous economies. Gen Z have spent their entire lives adapting and responding to life-altering change. And if you want your business to thrive in the digital age, you have to keep up and stay right beside them.
Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘Hey, my business doesn’t even target Gen Z. Why do I need to need to worry about them?’ Well that’s easy - whether or not you’ve identified Gen Z as your consumer demographic, you do need to understand them. Because their affinity for new technology is slowly shifting consumer behaviour across the board.
Recent figures indicate that 50% of Generation Z spend 10 or more hours a day connected to the internet, and they influence an astonishing $600 billion in family spending in America alone. Closer to home, a number of Australian businesses have looked at these figures and seen an opportunity to tailor their marketing towards the digitally savvy generation.
Take Jimmy Elias for example, co-founder of Melbourne-based cold drip company First Press Coffee. Jimmy and his team have employed a number of youth-specific business strategies in order to grow their brand. And their tactics are insightful to anyone looking for a practical example of how to respond to Generation Z and changing consumer behaviour.
Social media is a non-negotiable
“I think it’s become extremely obvious that it’s becoming impossible to run a physical product without going into the e-commerce space,” Jimmy says. Social media is imperative in 2020, and ‘digital natives’ are inherently talented at it.
A digital native is a person raised in the age of digital technology. Gen Z barely remembers a world before Instagram, let alone a world before the internet. And as a result, they can sniff out when a brand is being inauthentic online.
“It’s less about large-spray mass marketing,” said Jimmy on the power of targeted social media marketing. “You can actually focus on a really defined demographic of people that you know will have a higher chance of loving your product.”
Visuals are everything
Attractive packaging can make all the difference between a product somebody likes, and a product somebody posts.
“We took a lot of love and care in making the product look good visually,” said Jimmy when talking about the early stages of building his brand. “Because we knew that even when people picked up the product and had a positive experience with the taste, if there is also visual affirmation, they were more likely to spread the love.”
The quality and function of your product is as important as ever. But Generation Z want you to take the time to think of the way it will look on ‘the grid’. Social media is a space for beautiful things, and the recommendations will come thick and fast if your audience are pleased with your visuals.
Wear your values on your sleeve
Gen Z have a high level of what’s called ‘media literacy’ - a concept that describes a consumer’s ability to look at content through an informed, discerning lens. Because every answer in the world is only a Google away, Gen Z are far too critical to take your brand messaging at face value.
This is why it is so important that you are as honest and transparent with your consumers as possible. And this especially works in the favour of sustainable and Australian-made brands.
In Jimmy’s experience, young people were very receptive to the fact that First Press Coffee is an ethical, environmentally conscious business. “We found that there was a higher percentage of the younger demographic who were wanting to choose something healthier, and they were more willing to experiment with different styles of coffee.” A product like coffee can be very routined and traditional, but as young people seek to break the mould and make more eco choices, local brands became their go-to choice.
Your business’ values and practices can be the deciding factor in a young person’s choice to try your product. And if they find it to be a great fit, they are much more likely to share that recommendation with their own online communities.
In the digital age, every customer is an influencer to some extent. So make it a habit to check in with Gen Z and monitor their consumer behaviour and digital trends. After all, they are the future. And the faster you accept that, the better you will be at future proofing your business.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Abbey Lenton is one of the freshest voices emerging in the lifestyle space. The young journo specialises in nostalgia, health, and sustainable fashion, and has been published by the likes of Network 10,whimn.com.au, and Body + Soul. When she’s not out seeing local bands or tending to her houseplants, she’s tucked up at home with her one true love, Kath & Kim. Abbey is a sucker for all things Australiana, and she’s thrilled to be a part of the Buy Aussie Now team as a freelance contributor.