5 ways businesses can reach 'Generation Z'

Here are five ways to accommodate the needs of Gen Z and improve your business.

Millennials, that is, those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, are a major topic of review among business leaders. In contrast to the narrative of the “me-generation” that came before them, millennials are typically seen as innovative, reflective individuals with plenty to offer the workforce.

Often referred to as a “population tsunami,” Generation Z takes up more than a quarter of the American population; however, marketers and brands have consistently struggled to build relationships with this generation of consumers. Here are five ways marketing experts are doing it correctly.

1. Appeal to their values: Generation Z grew up in a different world. Considered the most diverse generation, Generation Z abides by a “we are one” mentality based not on tolerance, but acceptance. They are committed to breaking down societal stereotypes, and companies looking to appeal to them would be wise to do the same.

2. Think fast: With so many demands and options to choose from, today’s youth seem to value their time more than their predecessors. It’s not that youth have a short attention span. Brands need to get to the point quickly. Otherwise, Gen Z will move on. They know they’ve got plenty of other choices. Think of concise tweets and punchy, to-the-point videos.

3. Cross-collaboration: Gen Z is collaborative by nature. This group's emphasis on peer interaction encourages businesses to step out of their industry silos to embrace co-creation and cross-collaborative solutions. From idea generation and open source development to consumer blogs and live conversations, collaboration is becoming a business resource for consumer engagement and innovation.

4. Reach them from every angle: Why use one screen when you can use three? It’s common for Gen Z-ers to be watching television, surfing the Internet on their laptops and editing Instagram photos on their phones simultaneously. Because of this, a simple TV ad no longer cuts it. Companies should use a cross-platform approach, sending their message through a variety of mediums.

5. Don’t fake it till you make it: Born with information at their fingertips, members of this generation are careful consumers who can sniff out sugarcoating and empty corporate promises a mile away. Transparency, authenticity and a genuine “give-back” factor are key to attracting these do-gooders.

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