Communicating with Generation Z: go pure, go authentic

27 février 2023

'Tomorrow's story' made up the core of the tenth edition of the Content Marketing & Web Editing Congress organised by iO. Today's young adults, also known as Generation Z, play an important role in this story. But what is important to this generation and how do you tie them to your brand? Find out in this blog.

Gen Z

The characteristics of generation Z

The importance of tailoring your communication to your target group is something we’re all well aware of. One way to do this is by looking closely at the characteristics of a specific generation. Want to sell a loaf of bread? For baby boomers, good value for money is key, while Millenials value a good customer experience above everything. How do capitalise on generation Z and with what? When communicating with this target group, keep these five characteristics in mind:

Generation Z breathes technology
Young people from Generation Z are growing up in today’s digital world. There’s a reason why we call them digital natives. Whereas earlier generations had to adapt to the internet and learn to deal with technology, Generation Z experienced them both as self-evident. To a larger extent, they live their lives digitally.

Generation Z is inclusive and diverse
Generation Z is the most inclusive generation to date. Especially in the cities, these young people grew up surrounded by people of different backgrounds, genders and sexual preferences. This increasingly diverse and inclusive picture shows in the worlds of media and music as well.

Generation Z is multidisciplinary
Thinking outside the box continues with this generation. Multiple roads lead to Rome and several ways of making money. Generation Z is entrepreneurial and does not easily commit to a single job or company. This generation thinks in terms of possibilities. A side hustle, such as selling homemade clothes or organising festivals, is something many young people do on the side.

Generation Z is conscious
Generation Z stands for a better world. These youngsters only think about the climate, but find it equally important that, for example, the people who make their clothes do so under good working conditions. They prefer brands that speak out about social issues and handle ethically and with care.

For Generation Z, health comes first
Not only should the world be a better place, safeguarding one's health is also paramount for Generation Z - both physically and mentally. Expect a generation closely guarding its limits. Structural overtime? No way. Healthy diet and regular exercise? A definite yes.

Generation Z’s trust is never a given
Generation Z consists of critical thinkers. Whereas older generations took statements from the government, media, institutions and large organisations for truth, Generation Z’s trust doesn’t come so easily. It’s a generation doing its own research and forming its own opinions.

How to reach Generation Z

In this whitepaper, you will learn who Gen Z is, what it expects from organisations and how to approach this group as a brand in an authentic way.

Whitepaper Gen Z

Here's how to tackle communication for generation Z

Does generation Z fit your target group like a glove? In that case, it’s important that your message and organisation match these young people's values, or at least secure their support for your message. This is how you do it:

1. Representation from the start
Generation Z is diverse and inclusive but finds it important that the companies they join match their values in this regard. Are you shooting a commercial with only white, abled people? Think twice. Make sure you paint an accurate picture of today’s society. By the way, representation goes beyond the final product. Starting from the brainstorming stage, surround yourself with a diverse group of people. That way, not only will you ensure a more inclusive message, it will also likely be more appealing to a larger target audience. But: make sure you treat the (sub)cultures included with care and respect.

2. Involve people from the target group in the process
No matter how well you apply the tips in this article, Generation Z tends to know best. To make sure you get it just right, it is advisable to involve one or two youngsters belonging to Gen Z in the creative process. That way, there is a good chance that your message will connect best with the target group.

3. Go for authenticity over marketing
Young people from generation Z do not easily identify with the masses. Young people decide for themselves what to do, who to watch and what to listen to. Marketing pitches are often wasted on this generation. In fact, slick videos and pictures make them doubt the sincerity of your message. It does not always have to be perfect and polished, as long as it is genuine. For example, are you unable to meet certain standards associated with being a sustainable company? Then avoid engaging in greenwashing, but be honest about it. Sincerity is appreciated.

Want more in-depth information on how to properly handle social positioning? Download our whitepaper: "Brand positioning on social issues: do's and don'ts".

4. Open your mind to a new approach
You don't appeal to a new generation by doing things the way you have always done. Like generation Z, dare to think outside the box and give new things a try. This generation loves all things experimental and, again, does not expect them to be perfect.

Help in communicating with Generation Z?

A long story short: if you target young people in Generation Z, keep it pure and sincere. Be clear about what you stand for as a brand and be kind to animals, people and the environment. Do not force a match, because Generation Z will see right through that. Do you want advice on how to get your message across to generation Z? Get in touch with us. We will happily schedule an introductory meeting.

Kirsten van Ewijk
About the author
Kirsten van Ewijk
Medior contentspecialist | iO

As a content specialist, brand thinker Kirsten van Ewijk has experience in external and internal communication for commercial companies and educational institutions. She knows exactly how important it is to tailor the message to your specific target group.

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