Generation Z – children born from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s – started a new trend in the market: full integration with technology. Most of them communicate and work wherever they are connected, they are also less prone to social interactions and seek, above all, more authenticity in all their forms of expression which makes them digital natives.
As it is easy to imagine, these young people also have a different way of relating to the consumption of products and services, adopting healthier habits and demanding from companies a more sustainable posture in relation to the environment. Therefore, brands that wish to make use of the new opportunities and challenges brought by the Z generation, will need to reinvent themselves. You will know how in this text!
What are the main differences of generation Z that impact brands?
These young consumers “see” connectivity as a tool to promote changes in society in an agile manner and with a focus on collective needs and interests. For example, using what they learn in tutorials and communities to rethink old paradigms of education, appearance, relationships and consumption.
In addition, they are not afraid of what makes them different, so they give preference to brands and experiences that celebrate authenticity and self-expression. And don’t hesitate to use YouTube, TikTok or ironic memes to question the world around them. Understand how some of these behavioral changes, such as conscious consumption and veganism, are reflected in the production processes of the brands:
Generation Z young people are known for “having no hope”. Born on a planet with natural resources that show signs of exhaustion, sustainability for them is not an option or benefit: it is a lifestyle. This makes them very skeptical about ecological advertising speeches and makes them demand more concrete and immediate changes to the brands, and changes that bring positive results for communities.
For this reason, companies like Danone, Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s sought the certification of Company B, which guarantees the transparency of brands in relation to their social and environmental impacts. A report by the McKinsey consultancy, done in partnership with the fashion platform Business of Fashion, found that the number of companies in the fashion, clothing and beauty sector that are B-certified increased from 7 to almost 200 between 2010 and 2018.
Patagonia has been investing in sustainable initiatives, such as the creation of Recrafted, a collection of clothing made from upcycling, which intends to extend the life of products without reducing added value. And with the slogan: “Repair is a radical act”, the brand offers support for its consumers to repair their clothes instead of discarding them.
In search of authenticity, generation Z defies generalizations and values diversity in all its forms. Thus, in addition to including these values in campaigns, they also look for products that meet their needs in a personalized way. Therefore, brands need to embrace multicultural communities and gender equality.
A great example is Milk Makeup, an American cosmetics company that specializes in vegan products. Thus, a strong feature in the brand’s campaigns is the inclusion of people with different expressions, to emphasize that all genders can benefit from the use of makeup and skincare items.
Starface, a skincare products company, found a fun and creative way for young people to deal with acne: stickers in the shape of colorful, holographic stars that accelerate healing and leave the face looking fun, stimulating their customers to develop self-esteem.
Through mobile devices, generation Z surfs the internet in search of highly customized experiences. Thus, they tend to attend, more and more, small communities and private chats, where they can share unique experiences with friends and smaller groups, such as the virtual game platforms and the “Best Friends” feature of Instagram. That is why it is so important that brands communicate in a personalized way with these young people, through partnerships with influencers and communities.
This is the case of Glossier, a cosmetics company that offers authenticity and personalization to young people of generation Z through some Design Thinking techniques. For this, the company shares its ideas on social networks and, based on public feedback, develops new products, transforming its customers into co-creators. It also adopts a fun language and a transparent attitude – which generates even more customer engagement and contributes to the building of stronger relationships.
In 2018, the company created Glossier You, a personalized perfume, which soon became a hit on social media. Although the product has a base with woody aromas and a touch of pink pepper, it offers a different experience (and a smell) for each person, as the essences fuse with the natural oils produced by the body.
Because they are more skeptical, equipped with mobile technologies and seeking authenticity in their expressions and relationships, Generation Z offers opportunities for brands and designers who listen to their communities and develop customized solutions. Thus, the “key point” is to seek feedback, mainly on social networks, to optimize the development of new products and make the design process more collaborative.