Gen Z is taking over and forcing brands to alter their marketing approach

Gen Z Demands More From Brands

December 03, 2019

Abby McNabb

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The rise of Gen Z is challenging brands to think outside of the box


Be it VSCO girls, E-boys, or Soft girls, Gen Z is coming in hot. Born between the years 1995 and 2015, Gen Zers are currently between the ages of 4 and 24 years old and make up roughly 25% of the population. The main differentiator between them and other generations? Their rather unique childhood. Gen Z grew up with tablets in their hands, phones in their pockets, and an overall hyperconnected sense of reality. And don’t be fooled: this group isn’t just testing their parents, they are challenging brands as well.

These digital natives aren’t necessarily “addicted” to technology – they simply see it as an extension of themselves. So you can bet that if brands aren’t in tune with their digital needs, those brands will fail to connect with the next generation of consumers. 

It’s All About The Snacks

Don’t expect Gen Z audiences to read your 2,000-word blog posts or watch your 30-minute webisodes. With an 8-second attention span and a habit of juggling up to 5 devices at once, Gen Z audiences crave short, digestible content that sinks in quick and frees them up to move on to the next thing. Unlike generations before them that spend a majority of their time on a few key social apps, Gen Z’s consumption behavior is becoming more fragmented. Emerging apps like TikTok, Twitch, Houseparty and Imgur (feel old yet?) are stealing share from larger platforms like Instagram and Facebook, which makes connecting with Gen Z a unique challenge.

Rather than focusing on long-form content within one or two channels, marketers should build an omnichannel strategy with snackable pieces of content across multiple platforms to connect with Gen Z wherever they happen to be.

An Omnichannel Approach Will Be Your Best Friend

This also means the days of pushing out the same content across multiple channels are over. Gen Z has very specific uses for each digital platform and they expect brands to follow suit. For example, Snapchat is the go-to app for keeping up with friends, while Instagram is where they curate their personal brand, so the content they post (and consume) on these apps are very different. To be successful, brands need to follow Gen Z’s lead and tailor content for each channel or risk coming off as inauthentic and out of touch.  

Make The Experience Seamless

Another Gen Z trend to take note of? Their demand for immediate gratification. If your consumer journey is fragmented and cumbersome, you’ll easily lose the interest of your Gen Z audiences. Facebook, Instagram, and Google have already caught on to this notion and are creating ways for audiences to shop and convert directly within their platforms, which eliminates the extra step of visiting a brand’s website. Features like in-app checkout on Instagram and “Reserve a Table” in Google search results create a seamless user experience that Gen Z audiences are coming to expect. If you want Gen Z to engage with your brand or buy your products, you better make it easy.

Demonstrate Social Responsibility

Unlike previous generations that consider eco-friendly and inclusive practices as “nice to haves,” Gen Z expects brands to demonstrate a real commitment to social responsibility. Growing up in the era of discernible climate change, the Me Too movement, and the normalization of mass shootings, Gen Z is seeking legitimate change and expects brands to lead the way. Think about how your brand can join the fight in an authentic way and how to include Gen Z in your efforts. 


Gen Z is not Millennial 2.0 – their connection to technology and early exposure to a polarizing political climate has produced a very different generation. Brands who aren’t able to evolve and meet their needs will soon see their strategies fall flat. Those who should be most mindful of Gen Z’s expectations and habits? Everyone, eventually. But in 2020, any brand with a B2C component must factor them in. That’s the beauty (and struggle) of Gen Z – their influence is sure to be felt across a plethora of brands, industries, and verticals.

To ensure your brand is prepared to accommodate the growing powerhouse that is Gen Z, make sure to:

  • Create snackable content that gets to the point quickly
  • Employ an omnichannel approach and tailor content to align with each platform
  • Make it easy for audiences to engage with your brand or buy your products
  • Demonstrate social responsibility in an authentic way

Photo Source: Unsplash

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