Having been a member of Gen-Z, Yashaswini Chhaparwal provides brands with advice about using this great cohort in their marketing strategies. Her current role is as the Working Capitol’s Creative Director. She has worked with audiences in South Asia and has worked with the Asian market for several years.
How do we define Gen-Z? A new generation of consumers born between 1997 and 2015. Gen Z is also called Zoomers. Generation Z succeeds millennials and precedes Generation Alpha.
How do you describe yourself?
I belong to a generation referred to as “Gen Z”. Although my generation is a generic pool of a generation, there is still something unique about it. My profession and I are part-time creatives and creators. As an admitted news junkie, I rarely check the news or watch BBC, but my Instagram feed keeps me updated on the most recent events. My attention span may limit me from consuming more than 10% of the content consumed every day because I usually scroll through 500 posts a day because I’m impatient.
Being a member of the digital generation, the difference between digital and real is fuzzier than ever, they coexist seamlessly now. It doesn’t really matter how many Instagram stories I post, a simple click of a button has enabled me to expand my reach and share what I feel whenever I feel like it. So, there you have it, some characteristics of someone from the ‘generation now’.
Marketing can reach this hypercognitive generation with a click of a button via social media, today. Gen Z holds great purchasing power and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Due to easy access, brands find themselves competing for attention against online content dumped in large quantities.
It takes courage for marketers to compete in this market. You’re on the edge of going viral and getting ‘canceled’ for the rest of the year if you cross that thin line.
Following are some tips on how to market to Generation Z in 2021 and beyond. Today, it’s not about selling the dream. Instead, it’s about selling the truth, without the gimmick.
Genuine goods are being sold to genuine people. Selling the emotion is more effective than sugar-coating it. This is an ugly story selling a beautiful product. You’re marketing the struggle without hiding it. Authenticity is being sold without intimidation. A brand does not need to act like a god nor do they need to preach. You do not have to be perfect to impress your audience. There is nothing wrong with brands as long as they are okay.
It is okay to make mistakes, but they must stay vulnerable and be willing to come clean when they do and own up to their mistakes.
Good storytelling is not enough. As marketers, they believe that good storytelling is all you need. Start telling good stories that are relatable, instead of good stories. You want to tell stories that resonate with your audience deeply despite their imperfections. Do you remember the time when an amateur cartoon would get a thousand likes while a studio shot picture didn’t get more than 100? That’s because the cartoon was illustrating a comparison between a good and bad haircut day.
Do you have a fly brand personality? Because that isn’t enough. Brands today each have their own personality. It looks like the new skincare brand is totally fun, like something straight out of a tropical getaway. The brand exemplifies endurance, grit, and passion. The models and Instagram feed on both might be attractive, with excellent product photography and stunning Instagram feeds. It is not just personality that these brands need, but also empathy in order to succeed in the very long run. Brands should feel what people feel. They should be grieved when people are grieved, and they should be joyous when people are joyous. In order to adapt to changing times, they must renew themselves.
EQ is as important as IQ for brands to succeed. Design your products with EQ rather than IQ to be successful. To be successful, products must be intelligent and work. The reality is that brands are nothing more than perceptions. For brands to be perceived positively, they need to be emotionally intelligent. For brands to not only survive but to contribute to building a better world, they need to listen, support, and uphold values of good ethics.
Have an obligation to the world. To earn the attention of their audiences, brands should provide value in exchange for their products and services, today. People think that brands have a platform. They think that brands have resources and that today brands are not only expected to be ethical but are also required to be. To make a positive impact, they must speak up, take a stand, and act.
One size fits all marketing strategy does not work with Generation Z. Additionally, individuals have unique expressions, so one size does not fit all marketing strategies for them. You don’t need to conform or stand out. Be yourself authentically. For such an audience, a brand cannot target the masses, rather they must target a niche. In order to design relevant experiences for them, the company has to identify smaller communities, not large generations. People need experiences that allow them to express themselves freely, experiences that allow them to feel seen, experiences that allow them to share and connect.
Yashaswini Chhaparwal is a Generation Z consumer and creative lead for The Working Capitol in Singapore.