Generation Z - Chasing butterflies (Part 2)

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This is a continuation of Marthinus Van Loggerenberg and Tuelo Lechuti’s essay on how brand practitioners can offer lucrative solutions and offer ingenious platforms to Gen Z’s and how brand practitioners attract these butterflies.

Portfolio living

In a nutshell, Gen Zs would prefer a ‘portfolio living’ career. This is made up of working multiple part-time jobs with different employers that, when combined, would be the equivalent of a full-time position, but inevitably offers more flexibility, variety and freedom.

A portfolio living career would most likely become norm and brands that support Generation Z’s multi-faceted life with different income streams and lives the values of co-creation, authenticity and transparency will continue to meaningfully connect.

Unlike their millennial predecessors, Gen Z are savers. They tend to avoid mistakes made by previous generations, for instance, burdening themselves with massive student loans.

Many of them open bank accounts very early in life, either in their own name or as a joint account with their parents. Importantly, Gen Zers expect extraordinary security on their bank accounts. The opportunity for financial institutions is to reassure them while creating highly customisable savings products.

Social media is bound to become a major shopping channel as more Gen Zs expect innovative cross-platform solutions to simple, secure and accessible shopping. Gen Z is more than keen to share product reviews on social media, YouTube being the most popular social media platform.

Gen Z shoppers also look forward to super-customisation in the form of subscription-type offerings and automatic replenishment. Gen Z would be most willing to pay for speedy delivery. Innovative technology options such as voice-activated ordering are just one of the possibilities that retailers can experiment with.

Involve me – World view

Gen Z is being raised with the perception that health and wellness is about holistic balance: getting enough sleep, managing stress and their grades, building self-esteem and aiming for healthy socialising with family and friends.

As a result, health and wellness benefits are set to play increasingly important roles in purchase decisions for Gen Zers. Fresh, natural or organic ingredients combined with sustainable packaging technology practices (in terms of affordability and ethics) will become mandatory product attributes.

Exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle feature more prominently than with any other generation, so fitness apps and brands that provide fitness solutions will succeed. A healthy, balanced diet is top of mind for Gen Z and they would expect fresh and less processed distinctions in their choice of food. Finally, since Gen Z believes that all information is at their fingertips, be transparent with ingredients and product scoring.

Gen Z is not very positive about the future and generally believes the world is becoming a worse place to live in. Brands and tech ought to step up in creating a hope for humanity. Education is the primary source of hope, especially for Gen Z in developing countries. Enablement of education is pivotal.

Brands, and especially brands that employ tech and are socially responsible and eco-friendly, will gain the respect and wallet of Gen Z. Brands, therefore, ought to continually provide innovative environmental sustainability solutions and communicate it clearly but authentically to Gen Z, involving them in the process if possible.

Gen Z is very willing to spread the word about brands that meet their expectations. On the flip side, they’d also be willing to get involved in petitions or boycotting brands that exercise unhealthy brand principles. Content that garners more talk on about environmental issues and global warming, for example, Louis XIII’s Cognac Pharrell Williams campaign will strike the right cord.

Gen Z loves to travel with family members from multiple generations to connect or reconnect. They also look for alternative tourist destinations such as Iceland, Russia, Vietnam, and the Turkish and Caicos islands. Brands and tech should make provision for personalised travel experiences, deeper cultural immersion and travel experiences to be captured in a truly high definition way.

Understand me – I

Social media’s is still a pivotal factor when it comes to how Gen Zers feel about themselves because they are masters at shaping their personal brands online. Projects from income-generating hobbies will become increasingly important to Gen Z, and digital and tech solutions that enable exposure and the ability to easily generate revenue even more so.

Investing time and love in family and friends is a priority for Gen Z. Gen Z seeks honesty, sincerity and loyalty in their friendships and embrace closed groups with regular interaction. Commoditised digital connectivity is a given with tech add-ons giving brands the ability to generate innovative revenue streams. Social media groups that can facilitate real-time, media-rich solutions in this space will continue to win.

Gen Z acknowledges that social media impacts their dating prospects, success and failures. But, compared to other generations, Gen Z is obsessed with privacy preferring closed groups. This obsession with privacy explains why Gen Z prefers receiving information digitally, as opposed to sharing it. This is why social mediums like Snapchat are popular; whatever is posted does not linger forever in space.

The opportunity is for brands is to create tools and platforms for seamless shareability of not only everyday moments but capturing and curating memories. Additionally, brands could educate Gen Zers on personal brand development and help them to contextualise themselves in both the digital and real world.

However, the question must be asked, giving their status as digital natives and understanding the true nature of social media, could Gen Z start avoiding social media on a public scale to immerse themselves in selected circles?

In conclusion

Butterflies represent spiritual rebirth, creativity, change and endless potential. Butterflies like bright colours, and sunny, healthy gardens and are attracted to flowers that nurture them and can make them thrive.

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How do we as technology companies and brands energise them in the most relevant and authentic way? How can we as brand practitioners engineer a sound, diverse and intelligent world that engages them?

We clearly need to construct a world that needs to change for the better, and Gen Z’s ingenuity will be focused on doing so and their support will be bespoken for those who shape such a world for them and with them.