Decoding Gen Z: How brands can connect with this powerful consumer base

Gen-Zs hold a paltry 1,730 positions out of the 74,877 civil service jobs across the MDAs.

Photo credit: Pool

As witnessed in the past week, Gen Z, the generation born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s, is rapidly becoming a dominant and influential force in many domains. Their influence is undeniable but their ability to influence each other is even more exceptional.

Unlike previous generations, they've grown up in a hyper-connected world, wielding a strong sense of social responsibility. Thus, they come with a unique set of expectations for the brands they engage with. This presents a unique opportunity (and challenge) for brands in building lasting connections.

Authenticity is the new currency: Forget the airbrushed, overly produced marketing of yesteryear. Gen Z craves genuineness. Embrace user-generated content that showcases real people interacting with your brand. Raw videos shot with a mobile phone will triumph over professionally produced commercials. Let diverse voices within your company tell your story. Advocate for causes they care about, from sustainability to social justice, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to these initiatives through your actions, not just empty words.

Speak their language in bite-sized pieces: Gone are the days of lengthy marketing brochures. Gen Z consumes content quickly, so keep your messaging concise, engaging, and visually appealing. Leverage the power of platforms like TikTok and Instagram to tell your brand story through short-form videos, interactive filters, and eye-catching infographics. Remember, a picture (or a well-crafted meme) is often worth a thousand words.

Mobile-first is the only way to go: They live on their phones, and their attention spans are shorter than ever. Ensure your brand experience is seamless across all mobile devices. From social media interactions to a user-friendly online store with easy checkout options, prioritise a mobile-first approach. If your website isn't mobile-optimized, you're essentially shutting the door on a huge chunk of potential customers.

Values drive decisions, not just desire: Gen Z is purpose-driven. In brands, they support those that align with their values. Be transparent about your company's social and environmental initiatives. Showcase your commitment to fair employment practices and sustainability efforts. Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk. Partner with organizations that share your values and actively participate in making a positive social impact.

Community is the new marketing channel: This generation thrives on connection and a sense of belonging. Foster a sense of community around your brand. Encourage user-generated content by hosting interactive contests or challenges. Partner with micro-influencers who resonate with their values and can speak authentically to their audience about your brand. This two-pronged approach allows you to tap into the creativity and reach of Gen Z, while simultaneously building brand loyalty.

Embrace the power of co-creation: Gen Z doesn't just want to be sold to; they want to be involved. Consider co-creation initiatives like design contests or product development polls to tap into their creativity and foster brand loyalty. This allows Gen Z to feel like they have a stake in your brand's success, creating a deeper connection and a more enthusiastic customer base.

Stay nimble and adaptable: Gen Z is constantly evolving. The trends they love today might be passé tomorrow. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and adapt your strategies to resonate with their ever-changing interests. Be prepared to experiment and iterate your approach to keep pace with this dynamic generation.

Joyce Kagwe is a digital marketing expert and lead strategist at SWAY Digital. | [email protected]

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