Spotlight on Gen Z: the Generation your Brand May be Missing


Discover key strategies for ethically engaging Gen Z. Learn how authenticity, transparency, and sustainability can drive your brand’s success.

Four friends taking a photo

Gen Z is beginning to capture attention as a big disruptor in the marketing world. These individuals, born after (roughly) 1995, have been exposed to so much; they have seen the world change drastically across social, economic, and technological platforms. 

Unique in their primarily digital access to the world around them, they have a new threshold of behaviours and beliefs differing from the currently-hot Gen Y target. Though young, this generation already holds a strong economic influence, and brands are truly missing an opportunity if they haven’t already begun to market directly to these individuals.

Aside from the fraction of the generation that may have some discretionary income from part-time jobs or babysitting cash, Gen Z holds power over their parents’ wallets. 

According to Cassandra Report, 93% of parents say their children influence family spending and purchasing in the home. As they grow older and capture even more economic power, it will be crucial for brands to harness awareness, preference, and loyalty among them. The group seems less brand loyal than its predecessors, indicating a willingness to try new things and an opportunity for brands to ‘woo’ the generation.

But how does a brand even begin to connect?

Teens playing with coloured paint having fun

First, you must understand the Gen Z mindset. Differing from what some may call the ‘self-centered’ Gen Y, Gen Z works in a place of heightened self and social awareness. Gen Z is looking at what they can do personally. They know their purchasing power and want to direct that cash to companies making a difference. 

Research has shown a remarkable degree of altruism. Studies show that Gen Z even ranks working for a company helping to make the world a better and healthier place in the same consideration as salary! Gen Z is committed to positive social and environmental impact, and their actions back it up. 

For example, teens explain how they cut pollution by riding their bikes or walking more. One young girl even came home from school and banned water bottles in her home after learning about their negative effect on the environment.

Marketing Strategies directed to Gen Z audiences 

Young blonde woman closing her eyes

Incorporating a blend of digital and physical strategies is crucial to market to Generation Z effectively in 2024 and beyond.

Establish Clear Values & Mission

Gen Z gravitates toward brands with distinct values and missions, particularly LGBTQ+ rights, diversity, and social responsibility. Brands like Parade exemplify this by championing body positivity and inclusivity​​.

 Be Transparent & Accountable

Gen Z does extensive research into brands, valuing transparency and accountability. Skincare brand Cocokind, for example, publicly shares its team’s racial and ethnic makeup​​.

Establish Your Brand’s Personality

Move away from the sleek and minimal imagery of millennials. Gen Z prefers bold, strong voices and personalities. Brands like Starface and Crocs have successfully engaged Gen Z with unique and zany approaches​​.

 Be Entertaining and Engaging

Gen Z’s short attention span demands content that is quick and entertaining. Fenty Beauty’s success on TikTok and Instagram Reels highlights the effectiveness of engaging Gen Z with fast-paced, entertaining content​​.

Use the Right Platforms

Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube are popular with Gen Z due to their highly visual content and storytelling capabilities. Leveraging these platforms for marketing campaigns can be highly effective​​.

Create Inspirational and Educational Content

Gen Z appreciates content that inspires or teaches them something new. This could be style hacks from fashion brands or menu highlights from cafes. Influencers on platforms like Lemon88 can be pivotal in executing this strategy​​.

Keep Content Snappy and Short

Given Gen Z’s short attention span, content must be concise and engaging. This applies to all formats across various platforms, including photos, infographics, and videos​​.

Embrace Brand Transparency

Gen Z values authenticity and honesty. Brands must openly share their values, actions, and initiatives, particularly in sustainability​​.

Focus on Omnichannel Marketing

An omnichannel approach that includes both digital and physical marketing strategies is essential. Real-life experiences, like events and pop-up shops, combined with digital campaigns can effectively engage Gen Z​​.

Leverage Influencer Marketing and Memes

Influencer integrations and meme-based campaigns resonate well with Gen Z, providing a mix of entertainment and information that aligns with their preferences​​.

Highlight Sustainability and Ethical Production

Gen Z is increasingly concerned about sustainability and ethical production. Brands should focus on these aspects and communicate their efforts transparently to attract this demographic​​.

Ethical marketing practices for brands 

Three female friends on a dock

A multifaceted approach that resonates with their values and preferences is essential to engage Gen Z in ethical marketing effectively. Here are key strategies:

Greater Authenticity and Transparency

Gen Z places high value on authenticity and transparency, ranking it almost above other brand attributes like design and social impact. They are more likely to view brands negatively if there is a lack of transparency. Brands must be open about their practices and values, as Gen Z thoroughly researches before purchasing​​.

Harnessing Social Media Effectively

Gen Z has a nuanced relationship with social media. They are aware of its positives and negatives, spending significant time on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Brands must use these platforms thoughtfully, focusing on personalised, engaging content. For instance, integrating personalised videos in newsletters or live-stream events on TikTok can be effective​​.

Bridging Physical and Digital Experiences

Surprisingly, a substantial portion of Gen Z prefers in-store shopping. Brands should leverage technology to enhance the shopping experience, innovatively merging online and in-store experiences. Gen Z values discovery in their shopping experiences, preferring to try different brands. Personalization in the shopping experience can appeal to their individualistic nature​​.

Focus on Ethical and Sustainable Practices

Gen Z drives the demand for sustainable brands, often willing to pay more for sustainable products. Brands need to go beyond mere sustainability practices and ensure that these practices are ingrained in every aspect of their business. For example, Patagonia’s founder donating the company to fight climate change exemplifies authentic company values, resonating deeply with Gen Z​​​​.

Engaging in Ethical Consumption

Gen Z is inclined towards ethical consumption. They do extensive research to understand the origins and manufacturing processes of the products they buy. Brands should ensure ethical practices, from corporate policy to third-party vendors. Authenticity in ethical practices is crucial in gaining and retaining the trust of Gen Z consumers​​.

By implementing these strategies, brands can effectively market to Gen Z, aligning with their values and ethics and building a loyal customer base.

What does this mean for brands?

Two young students using a phone in the library

Invest thorough energy into understanding Gen Z and what makes them unique. If you do, you are gaining an opportunity to anticipate the behaviour and trends of a massively blooming consumer. Tap into this environmentally and socially aware generation. Be brave, earn their trust, seek their loyalty, and don’t be afraid to break the marketing status quo of Gen Y targeting.

Engaging Generation Z requires a nuanced, ethical approach that aligns with their values and preferences. As marketers and brands, it’s critical to understand that this demographic values authenticity, transparency, and sustainability. They are consumers and advocate for the causes they believe in. 

By integrating these values into your marketing strategies, you can connect with Gen Z on a deeper level. This connection fosters loyalty and positions your brand as a leader in ethical and sustainable practices, resonating with Gen Z’s desire to support companies that mirror their ideals.

REBORN stands at the forefront of this paradigm shift. We invite you to partner with us as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of ethical marketing. Our expertise in understanding and engaging with Gen Z can help your brand meet and exceed the expectations of this influential demographic. 

Reach out to us today to start crafting marketing strategies that resonate with Gen Z’s values and drive your brand forward. Let’s work together to create a future where business success and ethical practices go hand in hand.

Written by Crystal Robinson- Carroll

Business Management Executive at REBORN