At the Youth Marketing Australia conference this year, we hosted a panel between our Founder Gordon and three Gen Zs – Tommy, Bridget and Zoe. It was a diverse panel which touch on the things that Gen Z actually care about – because in a world of over 30 conference speakers talking about Gen Z, we figured it was important to hear from the actual people we’re trying to engage.
So here are the five things the guys spoke about the most on the panel.
Climate Change & Social Issues
We know Gen Z (and even Gen Alpha) are being defined as warriors of change when it comes to climate change and wider social issues. Unlike previous generations, we’re seeing Gen Zs actually do something about it and make their voices heard. Whether it’s climate change, going vegan, ethical practices in business and life, or LGBTQI equality – brands need to be on the same wavelength or risk missing the boat all-together.
But as Tommy mentioned, sometimes we fail to think big picture – unlike Gen Z. What is the actual reason behind supermarkets banning plastic bags? Why is going vegan more than just not eating meat? Why is the government so out of touch with young people? Gen Z are thinking beyond the surface level of these topics, and your brand should be doing the same.
Zoe made the point about how affordability as an umbrella topic was super important. Gen Zs want to have independence, but rent alone is a hugely concerning stress point for so many Gen Zs. Tommy added to this about how he was working three jobs at the moment purely to pay rent. And Bridget said how she still wanted to have something resembling a social life, and that made it a bit of a juggling act to pay for everything and still save some cash where possible.
Music (In All Formats)
Music is something that genuinely brings this generation together in a positive way. Whether it’s listening/streaming music on a daily basis, going to the odd live gig every few weeks, or hitting up a festival a few times a year. It’s almost a social currency of sorts, music makes Gen Zs feel free, stressless and open.
Bridget mentioned how she spends most of her free cash on festivals and gigs, because she just gets a source of happiness from them that nothing else compares to. While Tommy said he listens to a minimum of 4-6 hours of music a day, whether it be on his commute to work or even making his own music. If your brand isn’t into music, it’s time to get into it.
Memes are probably the one thing that older marketers suck at. And I mean SUCK. It’s obvious when a Boomer is making a meme about being stan, and honey, just no. But memes are a new form of language, a humour driven dialect that hits the feels, gets a laugh or is just way too relatable.
Tommy made the point about how memes are way more than just a low-key joke. He mentioned how sometimes tagging a mate in a relatable meme is a good way to give them a laugh when they’re feeling down, and how that plays into a wider mental health conversation. Your brand needs to start using memes, or give us a yell if you have absolutely no clue and just want to figure out how to start.
Not Being Lied To In Advertising
And the panel finished on this very point – that a brand does more damage when they clearly lie in advertising. Zoe said she felt constantly let down when fashion brands would promote an ethical arm of the business, when it was clear they are very mostly unethical. Bridget added to this, saying it often impacted her purchasing decisions.
So if your brand is trying to get some good PR, maybe figure out the things you already do really well from an ethical point of view and push that. Rather than try and spin an angle that is clearly not that true.
So that’s it folks, five things Gen Z genuinely care about right now. Feel a bit overwhelmed by it all? Honestly, probs fair enough. It’s a lot to take in, so let us do the work for you and bring you further insights on Gen Zs. We can help you with a strategy for reaching them, content that’ll engage with them or we can run your own focus groups to further understand them. Get in touch below!