Will Gen Z demand a new level of collaboration?
While much has been said about the digital prowess of the Gen Z generation, less attention has been paid to their yearning to contribute and participate with brands.
A global survey from the IBM Institute for Business Value and the National Retail Federation of 15,600 Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 21 shows that, if given the opportunity:
- Forty-four percent of Gen Zers would like to submit ideas for product design;
- Forty-three percent would participate in a product reviews;
- Forty-two percent would participate in online game for a campaign;
- Thirty-six percent would create digital content for a brand;
- Thirty-eight percent would attend an event supported by a brand.
In related findings, 60 percent felt it is important for brands to value their opinions. Further, 55 percent want to have control over what information to share, and 54 percent want to have control over how brands contact them.
The report, also informed by interviews with 20 senior executives, found three distinguishing characteristics that separate Gen Z from previous generations:
Immune to marketing hype: Maturing in an age of “alternative facts,” Gen Zers are practical and skeptical and their focus is on quality and authenticity. Thanks to their technology savviness, they’re not easily fooled.
One size does not fit all: Technology has provided a vehicle for Gen Zers to interact with brands on their own terms. Their ever-changing platforms and apps makes them difficult to target.
Less loyal: While technology has made Gen Zers brand enthusiasts — they’re open to active engagement with brands — this group is also less likely than other generations to be brand loyal, defined by repeat purchases.
“Gen Z represents the latest iteration of consumer evolution — one in which control of the brand experience has gradually migrated from organizations to individuals,” wrote IBM in its report. “Companies no longer direct the conversation. At best, they can be willing participants and engage the new generations of consumers according to the preferences of individuals.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Gen Z stands out as a participation-oriented generation? What does that mean in terms of engagement and collaboration for retailers and brands?