Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) now makes up 25% of the population. As marketers, it’s important to understand what makes them tick. This is no easy task. The generation hasn’t fully crystallized as consumers; the youngest members of Gen Z are just entering adolescence, while the oldest recently settled into the workforce. (Be mindful their office might be a studio apartment with fancy HD cameras and ring lights.)

The good news is we have insight into how to capture their attention and loyalty. First, some context: Unlike previous generations, Gen Zers were born into a world saturated with technology—they never knew life without the internet or smart phones. Engaging them with compelling digital experiences is key. They’re tech savvy, but wise enough to refrain from sharing too much information online. (For example, the idea of posting a hundred photos on Facebook from a night out makes them cringe.) They don’t use social media to broadcast their entire lives, but rather to connect more deeply with their circle.

Since they’ve always had the Internet at their fingertips, convenience in any experience is table stakes. But convenience isn’t the only thing they care about; they’re savvy shoppers, too. They often compare different products from different retailers so that they can get the best prices or discounts available. Gen Z also tends to look for reviews or feedback from other customers when researching online, so it’s important for companies to ensure their customer service experiences are positive ones.

Here are some high-level things to keep in mind if you want to resonate with Gen Z:

Make it Useful
Gen Z-ers seek out new technologies and applications that will make their lives easier and more efficient. Don’t just make something catchy; make something with utility.

Make it Experiential
Gen Z is all about experiences over anything else (even more than Gen Y). They want to spend their money on experiences rather than material possessions, and they want those experiences to be social and useful. 

Make it Visual
When it comes to content preferences, Gen Z gravitates towards visual content over text-based content. That means videos, GIFs, images, infographics—anything that stands out visually will grab their attention more effectively than plain text alone ever could. 

And Most Importantly: Make it Meaningful
Gen Z is passionate about making a difference in the world, and are more likely than older generations to support causes related to climate change, inequality, or diversity. They expect brands to have a position on social issues, and they use that info to make their choices.

As Gen Z continues to define itself, brands should be ready to look inward to ensure they resonate with this emerging generation. More than any other generation, Gen Z wants to interact with brands that are aligned with their worldview. Your brand needs to know what it stands for. Thing is, this has always been true. But it’s even more important today. Bring what’s good about your brand to the forefront, and Gen Z will gravitate towards you.

And if you need help reaching this next generation, or even defining what you’re all about, Illuminator is here to help.  

Illuminator is a digital-first advertising agency designed to show brands the way forward in an ever-shifting media landscape. We believe every brand has a compelling story to tell. We’ll help you tell yours.

We’re the agency you’d create if you were creating an agency today.