Today, companies try to be as innovative as possible. They share their purpose on all major platforms and spread the message about being sustainable. Some corporations are successful, others not so much. Covering and promoting sustainability, purpose and innovation is challenging because they are ever-evolving. What was “in” and true yesterday might be “out” and untrue tomorrow. To stay on top of the game, companies have to evolve at the speed of consumer culture. Who is the main driver of consumer culture? Gen Z.
How Gen Z is Transforming Brands
“Most of the major trends we see in sustainability and innovation are fueled by youth culture, by Gen Z, by young people.”Jeff Fromm
Many people and companies believe that purpose and profit are conflicting objectives. This might have been true in the past and might work in the short term today. But, when done properly, purpose and profit are in no conflict with each other. Because when brands have an authentic purpose, share it with the world, and truly stick to it, people are more than willing to pay a small premium. This is true both for Millennials as well as Gen Z.
Therefore, Gen Z is encouraging brands to become more purpose- and value-driven. Young people are spending their money on brands whose values align. With this money, they are fueling the company’s purpose and encouraging them to continue on their path.
What makes a company trustworthy for Gen Z?
In a recent Moonshot Pirates Panel discussion, young minds named three things when it comes to trusting a company. First and foremost, it is purpose. As mentioned above, thriving businesses have a purpose that customers can identify with. If they secondly are honest and thirdly transparent, success is almost guaranteed.
When it comes to products, packaging still has a great influence on the buying decision of the new generation. Besides bright colors on the outside, the ingredients are more important than ever before. If a product declares to be clean, it has to fulfill its promise. Green-washing is not accepted.
How Gen Z is Shaping the World of Work
Money is still important for Gen Z, but it is usually not the most important factor when choosing an employer. For Gen X and the majority of millennials, the order of their career goals was first to figure out what they want to do, then make more money, and finally reflect and think about how to p(l)ay it forward.
For the majority of Gen Z, this script is completely reversed, starting with the question of p(l)aying it forward and thinking about what they actually want to do much later in their career.
This means that the young workforce generation wants to feel like they are making a difference and making the world a better place. Therefore, they will choose to join the enterprise that fits best with their values and that will give them responsibility and space to be creative.
For example, one of the young pirates would love to work for Canva, because they have great leadership and provide their employees with lots of freedom to be creative. Freedom is also one of the main reasons why so many young changemakers want to become an entrepreneur and create something great in the world.
Why should companies work with Gen Z?
Obviously, it will be very challenging for large brands to ignore Gen Z, as they are the customers of the present and the future. The companies that are listening to the future generation and learning how to incorporate them early into the innovation and leadership cycle will be the future winners. And what is Gen Z saying?
“The future I want to live in is one where everyone all over the world has equitable access to opportunity. The SDGs are fundamental to our success. And if we can achieve those Sustainable Development Goals, then we are moving towards a future that has equal opportunities for everyone. And that’s one that I would really love to live in.”Charlotte Chang – Panelist
How can companies connect with Gen Z?
Creating brands and advertising that specifically targets the new generation of consumers is a good first step for sure. But in order to truly connect to and understand Gen Z, companies have to directly get in touch with this group. One way is to join the Young Advisory program, where several young changemakers work with and give direct feedback to the corporation. Find out more here.
Are you interested in hearing more about the panel discussion? You can watch the recording here: