How Brands Should Approach Gen Z

How Brands Should Approach Gen Z

How should brands approach Gen Z and tap into their purchasing power? 

Youth drives culture

And historically so. By the time the 1950’s rolled around, one sector of society began listening to young voices the most: commerce. With companies realising that teenagers - a relatively new term for this age group at the time - could also be influencers, they set their eyes on the prize, marketing to the teenagers who were setting the trends in fashion, music, lifestyle and beyond for great profit. Now in 2022, there’s a new generation in town - Generation Z -  that’s shaking things up and leaving many companies scratching their heads as they try to understand them.  

Gen Z have an outsized impact on culture and economy

Gen Z account for around 32% of the world’s population (Ogilvy), and social media platforms, podcasts and limitless digital access have given this age group a bigger voice than ever, along with more places to cultivate their own communities. Their outsized impact on culture and economy is palpable, and as a business, understanding the unique Gen Z is key, particularly as young consumers enter the workforce, drive new trends and shift buying behaviours. Even if they aren’t your target customers today, they will be your customers of tomorrow. In 2021, Bloomberg reported that Gen Z had $360 Billion in disposable income. 

Gen Z are the first digital native generation 

Richard Fisher said it best for the BBC: “Back then it was all about capitalising on rebellion, hot-rods and rock n' roll. Today it's TikTok.”  The rebellious edge remains, with Gen Z revolting against picture-perfect Millennial minimalism. They are a group who are certain about both what they want and don’t want, and they’re not afraid to say so.  But brands must take into account that the environment Gen Z grew up in is what makes them unique in how they share their thoughts, values and behaviours. Growing up as digital natives, the most tech savvy, connected and online generation ever requires a different approach to building strong brand relationships.

Brands need to rethink how they delivery value 

From the platforms they prefer (Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok) to their preferred style of content (real, raw, relatable and snappy videos) they are a generation who are constantly seeking creative inspiration, authenticity and most of all, truth. Businesses must rethink how they deliver value to the consumer with Gen Z in mind, striving for more personalisation than mass production and practicing what they preach when it comes to ethics and values. To reach success, brands need to win Gen Z over, build their trust and continue to effectively engage with them.  

How should brands do this? Gen Z puts more thought into where they spend their money than previous generations. Brands can build trust with Gen Z by delivering quality on a product and service level, increasing attention towards sustainability, providing accessible customer service, depicting real people/life over stylised visuals, offering personalisation, co-creation or unique experiences, and translating purpose into actions. A whopping 70% of Gen Z wants brands to add value to society (Ogilvy)

Ultimately, to tap into the purchasing power of Gen Z, brands must consider how they are perceived and actively communicate their values, mission, and purpose in order to connect with Gen Z and fulfill their unique expectations. 


AXJ is a London-based digital marketing agency dedicated to bringing hospitality brands to life on social. If you're looking for ways to reach Gen Z audiences with your social media marketing strategy, let’s start the conversation.