December 15, 2022
December 15, 2022

What Does Gen Z Want From Brands?

How brands can effectively market to a generation with $4.4 Trillion in global spending power.
Man with headphones on looking at his mobile phone and smiling
Generation Z are not kids anymore. In fact, they’re the new generation of consumers that brands and marketers need to think about. With an estimated collective buying power of $150 Billion in the US alone, and $4.4 Trillion on a global level (that’s a whole lot of buying power!) marketers are starting to take notice.

The sell here isn’t that you need to market to Gen Z, but HOW you need to market to Gen Z
Unlike the generations before them, these consumers are digital natives who are growing up in different times, including the pandemic disrupting major life events like graduation and first jobs. 
Gen Z requires an updated media and communication planning strategy that’s not only authentic, but relevant to the lives they live. According to findings from our recent research conducted in partnership with Omnicom Media Group’s (OMG) Global Research team, context matters for this generation and how brands show up – through messaging and media selection. If brands nail these two concepts, they’re already winning. Don’t worry, it's not a complete redrawing of the plan but rather a meaningful adjustment in your planning process that will help you move the needle among Gen Z. 

Content - It's NOT complicated, but complex!
Yes, we all know that this generation consumes more digital content than other generations. One of our new key findings from our recent study was simply “why” this generation consumes more digital content unlike any other. An analysis of motivation drivers revealed a far more complex relationship with digital and social content than in other generations. Content consumption by Gen Z is driven by a desire to keep up-to-date, and this generation seeks content that aligns with their values and  lifts their spirits and engagement, while non-Gen Z’s motivations were less complex, with more emphasis on keeping up with others and with current events.

Snapchat  - the platform that’s checking all the boxes for Gen Z

If they have such high expectations from content, are they happy with any platform at all? The simple answer is yes. Snapchat delivers on the emotions that Gen Z seeks and it does so consistently across the platform in areas like Discover, Stories and the Camera. 
Emotional payoff: What Snapchatters want to feel vs what the actually feel, in the context of Snapchat Discover, Stories, and Lenses/Filters

Gen Z demands so much more from brands (and advertising) than what they’re getting

Nothing gets past this cohort! This is a generation that is well-versed in digital marketing, since more of them are engaging in building their personal ‘brand’ online. About three-fourths of Gen Z say that they are to be loyal to a company that speaks to social issues, posts information, or has advertisements about social change1.
This generation cares about a lot of issues. And this came through across all the markets we studied. 
Gen Z expects brands to be drivers of social change and look for fair labor practices, inclusivity and sustainability. There are several ways in which brands can create socially impactful content that focuses on how the people, environment and product are treated. Diversity also came out as a big driver of societal impact for this generation – whether in terms of values or ownership.
What values are likely to drive purchases, and which brands Gen Z favors

Reaching Gen Z is one thing, but to effectively connect and engage with Gen Z, well... That’s a whole new playing field

Any brand or marketer can get on any app and start targeting Gen Z. After all, Gen Z is digitally native. But to effectively connect and engage with this generation, that takes a different, more intentional type of platform – Snapchat. 
To confirm this sentiment, we looked to understand whether or not Gen Z is really about what they say they are – an authentic, values oriented and expressive group. To do that, we used a neuroscience measurement called Immersion to measure reactions to different brand messaging – specifically brand purpose messaging vs. non-brand purpose messaging. Immersion captures attention and emotional resonance through variations in heart rate rhythm collected by smartwatches2
Guess what? Apparently Gen Z really does walk the walk and it couldn’t be more evident than on Snapchat, which showed the highest Immersion score for Brand Purpose Messaging.
Snapchatters respond more to purpose-driven messaging: Gen Z is more immersed in Brand Purpose Messaging than Non-Brand Purpose Messaging

What is brand purpose and how can brands get this right?

When we talk about brand purpose, what do we mean by it? We mean your brand’s “why” – your reason for being and what you stand for – beyond just turning a profit – is what really resonates with Gen Z, especially on Snapchat. 
More specifically, purpose to Gen Z means seeing their values and motivations reflected in the messaging and brands standing up and being involved in social issues and social change that matters to them. Action is important, honesty and transparency is critical and staying relevant and inclusive is an expectation!
A second expectation is responding to things as they happen – something that Gen Z is used to as digital natives. And responding to these cultural moments in a powerful, authentic manner is therefore equally important.
Snapchat partnered with Omnicom Media Group’s (OMG) Global Research team to evaluate the motivations Gen Z have when using different platforms and understand if they respond to advertising messages differently than older generations. This multimodal research was conducted by the market research consultancy Alter Agents in the US, UK, CA and AU and included a quantitative phase among ~2000 consumers, mobile ethnographies with daily diary interviews, immersion research with neuroscience and interviews with academic experts in generational research.

Snapchat can help your business grow.

12021-22 Alter agents study commissioned by Snap Inc and Omnicom Media Group (OMG).
2Immersion has proven to be a predictor of consumer action with 80% accuracy and is viewed as an index score from 0-100, with current video benchmark at 43.