What goes into the purchasing decisions of Gen Z? Why do they buy some products and services and not others? What gives Gen-Z the ick and what brands have that rizz? To get to the bottom of this, we asked a resident Gen Z team member to provide his perspective on this generation. Listen in as Cody Kimmel, Content Director an older millennial hipster, talks with Shea MacDonald, Social Media Manager and Gen Z spokesman.
Here’s the tl;dr summary of the interview.
Cody: So what makes Gen Z want to buy something?
Shea: The most important factor when I decide to buy something is whether it feels like it was specifically designed for me. In other words, will this fit into my life and make it better or not? I care about the values of the company and whether or not I trust the person or community recommending it, for sure. But the most important factor is whether or not it actually benefits my life.
Cody: How do Gen Z consumers find out about new products?
Shea: Because of the nature of advertising and social media, I rarely ever go out looking for products. It has more to do with the brand meeting me on my own journey. Once I see a product that strikes my interest, then it comes down to trust and whether or not my community likes it.
Cody: What gives you the ick when it comes to advertising?
Shea: Easy answer, inauthenticity. If I don’t believe the person telling me about the product is genuine, then I really don’t want the product. This can either be a brand trying too hard to seem like a Gen Z brand, or a brand that panders to our values without really doing anything that shows they actually care. Of course, we gravitate to advertisements or endorsements from people like us, so Gen-Z representation matters. But if a brand or a person is not Gen Z, it’s better to be authentic then pretend to be something they are not.
As a generation, we are coming to advertisements as cynics. We are looking for reasons to not trust a brand. So brands shouldn’t give us a reason to not trust them. Authenticity builds trust.
Cody: For Gen Z, is there a difference between digital community and physical community?
Shea: For Gen Z, the physical and digital world are so deeply enmeshed, there really is no distinction. If I turned my phone off, I wouldn’t be able to buy meals, get into my dorm room, or know where any of my friends are. Of course, this means that brands need to understand that world, which is why it’s important to bring Gen Z into the conversation when making decisions on how to advertise to Gen Z.
Cody: Can I pull off your haircut?
Shea: Maybe just be yourself…
To learn more about reaching Gen Z, check out our five takeaways from the Beyond TikTok Roundtable.