For the past few years, companies have bombarded the generation with ads and campaigns customized to secure attention and loyalty. However, companies are shifting their focus to a new generation — Generation Z (Gen Z).
Gen Z accounts for over one-third of the U.S. population, with a projected growth of 40 percent by 2020, according to CMO.com. Anyone born after 1995 has become part of the new target audience in the world of consumerism.
Fortunately, this isn’t a cause for worry but rather one of opportunity. Here’s why:
Generation Z is Tech-dependent
Gen Z has never experienced a world without technology. High quality sound and visual media are the norm. Gen Z has an average 8 second attention span and prefer communicating through images rather than words. Social media plays a key role in communication and identity. For this generation to listen, companies must stay relevant through high resolution graphics and by publishing real time updates through social accounts.
More Money, More Problems
Through watching millennials experience the Great Recession, Generation Z has grown up to be a group of frugal savers who are less likely to splurge on popular names. Research from Mediapost.com revealed 63 percent of teens now prefer one-of-a kind purchases rather than buying what everyone else has. Gen Z supports brands that are authentic, transparent and dedicated to bettering humanity. They’re likely to perform in-depth product research and trust individuals, such as social media influencers, over big companies.
It’s “In” to Stand Out
Generation Z has been raised with a “think outside the box” mindset — they’re story creators. Through experiences like electing the first black president and legalizing gay marriage, diversity and open-mind thinking mark this generation’s mentality. Gen Zs are characterized as less judgmental and more accepting of individuality.
Go Hard or Go Home
Generation Z has accepted the mission of rescuing the U.S. from further economic and financial crises, according to Fast Company. For a time, there was a sense of job entitlement among millennials, resulting in high levels of unemployment. Gen Z plans on not repeating this mistake. A CNBC survey of over 4,000 respondents reported that Gen Z tends to be self-motivated and hardworking. Scared of not getting hired, they apply themselves in school and accept low-level jobs in order to work their way up the corporate ladder. Through the opportunities of online education, Gen Z is projected to spend less on college and graduate with minimal debt.
Post-college, Generation Z will embrace collaboration and flexibility in a modern and upbeat workplace. Their social media behaviors of real-time updates and peer communication will be incorporated into work so companies that employ them will stay relevant.
The world is rapidly changing. So, either embrace it or get left behind. The attention may no longer be on millennials, but we have new opportunities to learn and enhance the profession with Generation Z.
Hannah Hock is a junior studying strategic communications and graphic design at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the creative director for Liberty’s PRSSA Chapter and loves anything involving people and the outdoors. Connect with her on LinkedIn.