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Why you're repelling Gen Z customers

Updated: Jun 29, 2023


Gen Z makes up 40% of the global consumer population. Like with every generation, this younger section of your target audience is different from the generations before. Born between 1997-2010, Gen Z grew up with technology, social media and the internet meaning they are digital natives and have had access to the internet’s vast knowledge. Many are now more aware of societal issues than any other generation. These young adults spend their money with brands that align with their more positive values. You need to consider how to target and appeal to this unique generation.


Blurring the truth

Almost half of Gen Zers (45%) say they’re motivated to engage with a brand if it “appears trustworthy and transparent”. This generation grew up in a time dominated by uncertainty and lies. Terrorist attacks, financial crashes and pandemics became normal during their most important developmental years. Powerful sources were also found to have shared false information. It’s no wonder that now this generation wants to spend their money with honest brands.


This means you need to be careful with any credentials you claim to have. Positive steps you make need to be backed up with hard evidence. Your brand needs to be prepared for an interrogation of your background and practices. The media has always served as a watchdog. Therefore, they will pick up on any public consensus and give it a platform. You should be prepared for an interrogation with expert support for any potential communications crises.


Failing to go green

Three-quarters of Gen Zers (73%) are willing to pay more for sustainable products. This generation is switched on to the climate crisis and is spending its money with companies that are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.


Are you using sustainable materials? Do you have a recycling scheme for customers? Are you offsetting your essential carbon output? Have you partnered with like-minded green companies to support your growth?


Greenwashing is when a brand shouts about its sustainability for financial gain but in practice has poor credentials. Gen Z is one of the most switched-on and knowledgeable generations about climate change. Your credentials need to be backed up with actions.


Positive values

Gen Z is spending with companies that align with their values. Sustainability is a good place to begin, but employee well-being, the ethos of your brand and the founder’s story and values are just a few other points you need to consider. Build a positive and authentic company from the inside to appeal to Gen Z.


In recent years, many brands have felt the raft of Gen Z’s pulling their spending due to poor brand values. From poor employee treatment to CEOs who fester a toxic work culture, we have all seen the stories in the press. PR can be powerful. But this also means when it’s a negative story, it will have the opposite desired effect.


As well as building a truly positive and authentic brand, you should prepare for any potential questions or concerns from Gen Z. Preparation and knowledge of crisis management is key to driving a positive brand image.


What action can you take?

81% of Gen Zers aren’t impulsive shoppers. Marketing needs to be conscious of this and drive your positive positioning into their mindset gradually. Showcase why they should shop with your brand.


Perhaps you are making progress on some of these, but do Gen Z know about it? Your priority is right - ensuring you are building a more positive brand. However, you also need to let people know about it. You need to educate potential customers on why you’re a brand that aligns with their values.


If this resonates with you and you want to attract this audience who will soon be one of your dominant customers, you can book a free PR Strategy Audit with us. We’ll analyse your strategy and suggest how it could be optimised to reach this audience and convert to sales.

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