There has been a lot of discussion about Millennials, hashing and rehashing the different impacts they have as a generation. Much less attention has been given to the post-Millennial generation, a generation which Pew Research Center defines as those born in 1997 or later. While the most popular name for this group is Generation Z, many other names have been tossed around, including Generation K, Deltas, iGen, and the Homelanders. All of this is in an attempt to capture the scope of what it means to be born into the world during the 4th Industrial Revolution, as rapid technological change has become integral to every part of our lives. So how can we identify and engage this generation?
Engage on multiple digital and social media platforms
While Millennials adapted to technology as it emerged, Generation Z was born into the technological world. These digital natives have always assumed the presence of technology. As a result, this generation has a much stronger digital presence than any preceding generation, yet their preferences for its usage are quite different. Rather than being centered around ‘traditional’ social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Generation Z prefers platforms that provide more immediate gratification, like Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr. That’s not to say they exclusively use such platforms – this generation is connected to a variety of digital services and devices, especially on mobile.
Crave personal (or personalized) interaction
Being enveloped in a constant barrage of content across many digital media platforms, they are much less focused and are natural multi-taskers. This also makes them more aware of ‘cookies’ or other mechanisms designed to target them as buyers, imbuing a corporate distrust. With this in mind, the role of ‘micro-influencers’ and their smaller, more intimate online communities have become increasingly important for brands attempting to engage this demographic. In other words, Generation Z values authenticity. They do not just want to make transactions, they want to shape and be a part of their preferred brands, meaning curating a personalized customer experience is of paramount importance for organizations seeking to engage them.
Globalized, but value individuality
With so much of their time being spent on digital devices, Generation Z is more globalized than any other generation – they may even share more characteristics with their counterparts across the (developed) world than with older demographics in their own country. While this presents an opportunity for organizations to expand their customer base globally, it is also important to consider this generation’s deep desire to find ways to distinguish themselves as individuals in the midst of an increasingly saturated digital environment. Having a unique, emotional appeal is key to navigating the vast sea of digital content to connect with Generation Z.
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