The pandemic has altered the way we live our lives in drastic ways. From how we work to what we do for leisure, even our shopping habits have seen a salient difference in the past few months.
With everyone being stuck at home, consumer attention has shifted from physical marketplaces to online platforms.
At the frontline of these consumer changes are Gen Z (currently aged 8-23). According to Vogue Business, Gen Z accounts for 40% of global consumers to date.
Having been born into a digital era, Gen Z is tech-savvy. And with the older ones of the generation entering adulthood, they are set to overtake the millennials and baby boomers as leading consumers, as their spending power increases in the coming years.
Various studies have concluded that the shift in browsing patterns is set to remain for a while, even as quarantine measures around the world begin to ease.
It is essential then for brands to be aware of this disruption in consumer behaviour and start developing a deeper understanding of Gen Z, to predict and influence subsequent consumer behaviours and adjust!
It’s always good to be one step ahead.
A market research study by GlobalWebIndex revealed that Gen Z is likely to hold back from making purchases during Covid-19.
However, this doesn’t mean brands should just sit back and do nothing! Now’s the time to build and strengthen your relationship with Gen Z consumers.
With this, here are some ideas on how to better connect with Gen Z during Covid-19.
💻 Find Your Place in Digital Media
It’s undeniable that the past few months have seen a boom in e-commerce sales.
Being digital natives, Gen Z should have little trouble seamlessly integrating into this new normal of turning to online solutions for their consumer needs and wants as well.
Therefore, your brand needs to be online, Gen Z consumers need to see you.
You can’t stay top of mind when they don’t even know you exist.
Strengthen your online presence (if you haven’t already), and also look for new ways to reach your customers online!
Examples of solutions that brands have seen range from posting more user-generated content, to live-stream shopping, or even the employment of AR technology for personalised product previews.
While youths in Gen Z usually have high levels of digital literacy, your solutions should still be customised to your brand, depending on the nature of your product or service!
💯 Clearly Outline and Uphold Company Values
One characteristic of Gen Z is their high levels of empathy.
Their concerns lie not just with the quality and price of the product or service, but also with how brands are treating their employees.
Taking advantage of the Covid-19 situation to push sales will not reflect well on brands, with a number having already been called out on social media platforms the past few months.
During this time, brands need to recognise and acknowledge the concerns of their consumers, while effectively relating messages to consumption occasions.
Twitter is an example of a brand that handled this well, being one of the first big companies to implement a mandatory work from home model in response to the global situation.
In part of prioritising the welfare of their employees, they were also quick to provide additional support to ease difficulties faced at home in light of the pandemic and its effects.
This help went beyond the provision of resources that would benefit them in their work, to their own personal lives at home, helping them not only set up their home-offices, but also covering any additional daycare costs incurred as a result of new arrangements, ensuring that the little ones are well taken care of too.
In their product itself, Twitter took ownership of the impact that their platform has and implemented guides to safeguard users from potentially manipulative or abusive content. These contingency measures continue to review and protect public conversation surrounding Covid-19 in their bid to keep their users safe.
Given the mass number of tweets going out each minute, and much less each day, placing the onus on users to fact-check for themselves definitely has the potential for the disastrous spread of misinformation.
And Twitter took it upon themselves to minimise that possibility as much as possible! Kudos to them, truly.
Empathy and good action was certainly demonstrated in various aspects of their brand, highlighting who they are beyond their business model.
Overall, what you want is the youth of this generation to have a positive impression and resonate with the values of your brand.
Brands should be authentic as much as possible, and not come off as opportunistic during this time.
🙋♂️ Encourage Collaboration and Participation
This period has seen people seek human connection more than ever as we remain socially responsible and are forced to minimise contact as much as possible.
Even as countries begin to ease their stay-home measures, research shows that people won’t be jumping back into their old habits so quickly, with many Gen Z consumers expressing that they would choose intimate and safe settings over large group events.
Brands can thus step in to help fill this gap by creating communities for them.
Some notable examples include fitness studios offering live stream workouts, with some classes even being conducted through video communication platforms to facilitate a familiar environment of communal exercise.
Several social media challenges also emerged during this time, as the youths posted videos of themselves completing the Chloe Ting 2-weeks shred challenge, making whipped Dalgona coffee, and baking burnt cheesecakes, to name a few.
We saw some brands incorporating these challenges into their marketing plans and encouraging their users to take part using specific hashtags as well. In doing so, these youths are empowered with the feeling of being a part of something bigger, creating conversations and a sense of community among them too.
Being natural digital creators, Gen Z will find no difficulty in coming up with content at home, which can then be repurposed by brands for their social pages.
📖 Give Them Something to Take Away From Your Brand
This can even come in the form of empowering these young ones with new knowledge about your product, service, or even industry.
Gen Z is known for being future-oriented and naturally entrepreneurial.
Being at home and having more time saw the rise of many businesses selling crafts, goods, whatever they can think of. Many took this time to learn new skills and put them into practice.
So what you want is for your brand to place on their hands, something your Gen Z audience can run with.
A creative example that we love is Ikea’s do-it-yourself recipe for their signature meatballs.
The infographic is definitely a genius play on their universally recognised instruction manual to show customers how they can make the dish for themselves.
Of course, this does not mean that you need to spill the tea of your business in order to remain relevant during this time.
Takeaways can also come in the form of handy tips and tricks relevant to the nature of your brand. Presenting them in simple, easy-to-read formats like listicles work great too!
For companies that offer online courses, this is definitely your chance to shine. Offering free classes or trial sessions can help allow your Gen Z consumers see the value in your brand and aid in defining your relationship with them.