Generation Z is coming!

Marino Sigalas, Account Director at The MediaShop, shares tips on how to deal with condescending eye contact, zero attention span and multiple platform viewing.

Just when you started getting the hang of Millennials with their smug self-confidence and need to feel like they are making a difference… along comes ‘Gen Z’.

Gen Z are typically kids born after 1994/5 or as we would call them here in SA, Born Frees. If you thought Millennials where a challenge wait until you meet Gen Z, that’s if you can get them to look up from their smart phones long enough to make condescending eye contact.

These youngsters are independent, want to change the world, have an ingrained sense of justice and are more tolerant than any generation before when it comes to diversity. They were born connected, have had easy access to info all their lives and therefore haven’t got a clue what an encyclopaedia is. They are also likely to be the first generation to never experience the angst of a paper cut.

With Gen Z and their overly evolved smart phone thumbs galloping at us at a rate of knots (or GIGS in their terms), I thought I would impart the little I have learned about them and some tips on how to market to this youth sector.

Tip 1: Make it snappy! They are competing with gold fish when it comes to attention span, just 8 seconds in fact and 11% have ADHD (Siri tells me that’s more than 1 in 10 people so beware). Ensure your ads get to the point FAST, don’t bore them with heavy text and use pretty pictures to tell stories.

Tip 2: Mobile first…. duh. They are one step away from having their phones physically implanted into their bodies, even more so than their older cousins the Millennials. Use this to market to them and ensure that your communication fits the little screen first before thinking about the big screen. BUT… remember that they also have access to as many as five different screens – smartphones, TV, laptop, desktop and Ipad so be multi-platform.

Tip 3: Let’s get Creative! This group has been creating content on social media since they could kick their mama on a sonogram. Involve them in the conversation and allow them to manage the flow of the content. On average, a Gen Z loads one video a week and is in love with hyper-personalisation so build some brand love and let them write the script.

Tip 4: Don’t rely on TV alone: they watch way less TV than the rest of us. Plus their fragmented attention span means they are second screening across multiple platforms and couldn’t care less about your ad in Idols.

Tip 5: Ok this is the last one since your attention is probably waning. Don’t rely on Facebook and Google to hit this market. Facebook is for Grannies. Snapchat and Instagram’s visual and easy to digest formats make sense to Gen Z so find a way to integrate your brand into these platforms. It’s no accident that several of Snapchat’s most popular ad formats involve brands creating filters for their audience, again allowing them to create their own story while involving the brand.

So in a nutshell, don’t broadcast to them, rather ask them to join the conversation across platforms but do so in an engaging and to the point manner while remembering their pursuit of fairness and justice. And beware, because they aren’t kids anymore, they’re the new intern and just maybe, your next boss!


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