What do Gen Z want from brands?

In a nutshell, they want brands to fix the world.

Call them Generation Z, or Zoomers, or the iGeneration, but the cohort of people born between 1995 and 2012 seem to think of the world quite differently to those of us who grew up without 'the Internet'.

Sadly there are those, that in their efforts to try and understand the Gen Z cohort, that tend to make dangerous generalisations about their behaviour that can be misleading.

Not all of Gen Z are addicted to TikTok, not all believe in Cancel Culture, they are not all aspiring influencers; but having grown up in the age of 'Digital Connectedness' they do have a pervasive generational worldview that highly values safety, social unity and care for others.

In recent research done by Edelman the Gen Z lens was applied to the question of how brands might build greater levels of trust with this emerging consumer group.

The findings were that 14 - 24 year olds will go out of their way to support brands that (1) make them feel safe, (2) use their scale and influence to solve some of society's most pressing issues and those that genuinely (3) give a damn about treating people well.

Simple right?

Not sure there are too many South African brands that I can honestly say do any of those things particularly well; most of them just care about the wellbeing of their shareholders.

This understandably opens up a gap in the marketplace for local brands that are built on a platform of truly making a positive difference in the world.

The message is clear - brands need to take action, rather than just have a purpose.

See the full Edelman report here:

Trust & the Future Consumer
This isn’t the influencer generation. This isn’t the cancel generation. This isn’t even the TikTok generation. This is the generation of sensibility.