13 May 2021

How To Get Your Startup Gen Z Ready

Startup, Entrepreneur, Gen Z, Social Media, Build Brand

Gen Z (born 1995 – 2010) are the future of the consumer market. In 2020, they represented 40% of consumers in the UK and this number is growing fast. Yet not every market is fully prepared for this new demographic. What are the fresh takes Gen Z are carrying with them, and how can startups build their brands in harmony with these new ideas? 

Not a One-Size-Fits-All 

Gen Z refuses to fall into neatly packaged categories. There has never been a generation that has valued individualism more so. Startups need to ensure they do not treat them as a homogenous group but take time to understand the sub-groups within the generation and tease out the true target market. Generalised advertising campaigns appealing to the similarity of Gen Z will fall flat in the face of individuality. 

Inclusion Enthusiasts 

In 2020, Gen Z made up the most diverse generation in US history. It’s not surprising that given the diversity of the demographic, Gen Z not only values inclusion but sees it as a fundamental tenant of any successful business.   

Gen Z welcomes new diversities in orientation and identity as well as championing inclusion for ethnicity and gender and startups ought to keep in mind the value Gen Z hold as a diverse population. Many reports that their identity is neglected from marketing campaigns. Expanding the reach of inclusion initiatives as well as marketing towards the heterogeneity of Gen Z keeps businesses in line with the ever-growing importance the generation places on diversity. 

Startup, Entreprenuer, Gen Z, Influencer, Social Media

Image via Imagen (Medium).

Speaking Up for What is Right 

Gen Z recognises that businesses hold power within society; that they can have an impact on changing the world beyond the products or services they offer, applauding the moves made by big retailers to save the world e.g. Nike’s trailblazing efforts in using 75% recycled materials. Gen Z channels consumption into brands that share the same concerns for the wider world. The point here is not to speak up for every issue, but for what your company has an impact on beyond sales and profits. Speaking up and acknowledging your power held as a business, is the best way to appeal to Gen Z’s search for authenticity. 

Brands must build WITH Gen Z, not for them.
Jay Richards, CEO of Imagen

Understanding & Being Ready for Gen Z’s

These points are all well and good for a general understanding of the Gen Z demographic, but what about the specifics for your industry? Think-tank startups have harnessed the power of Gen Z insights. Carrying out tailored market research allows startups not only to build for Gen Z but with them. Imagen, a think-tank providing brutally honest Gen Z insights, has worked with major companies including eBay, Pepsi and the NFL to prepare them for the future of the Gen Z market. Speaking to Floww, CEO of Imagen Jay Richards explains that “Qualitative insights from Gen Z enable brands to not only understand what Gen Z thinks of a brand in its current form, but also what they believe a brand needs to do over the next decade to thrive. Brands must build WITH Gen Z, not for them.” 

Utilising Gen Z as co-creators is the easiest way to understand their values. User-generated content, authentic influencer partnerships and establishing a channel for consumer-seller conversation allows brands to develop in line with the new values Gen Z hold. 

As Gen Z begin to grow into young adults who are entering the workplace, their purchasing power will grow, and they’ll channel their consumption into companies they resonate with. To maintain growth as the target market changes, industries will need to align their principles with the new demographic.   

Startups should act now to get Gen Z-ready.  

Header Image via Dianna McDougall; Sources: Getty Images, Payton Hartsell.

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