Gen Z is no longer babies. If you subscribe to the idea that Gen Z starts at being born in the year 2000, those iPad babies are now 23 years old. Does anyone else feel ancient?
The perpetually online generation, raised on iPads rather than the TV, as if that’s worse have pioneered change on the internet. What was their effect on the internet? We’re looking at the characteristics of online Gen Z and seeing what brands can use in their marketing to this generation.
Entering the workplace
There have been a lot of changes since Gen Z started leaving school and entering the workspace, which came to a head when the pandemic hit. It wasn’t just Gen Z rethinking about where their careers were going. Mass quittings and a lower tolerance for middle managers and working on location when it wasn’t necessary became trending topics of conversation.
But Gen Z particularly stands out for its entrepreneurial spirit. The internet has afforded this generation more chances than ever to simply make it on their own, and when big conglomerates are struggling, like the tech giants laying off staff left right and centre, startup banks closing, and better sense of knowing what they’re worth, it’s no surprise that you see more and more of this generation asking what it takes to be an influencer.
The affiliate marketing space can really benefit from this generation, that wants to work for themselves, wants to make something of themselves, and has all the online tools and skills to make it happen.
The generation that was raised on the internet is now exiting university and entering the job market, so it makes sense that they are revolutionising the way to get a job. No longer is printing off a dozen CVs and wandering around the shopping centre going to cut it. Not even having a simple CV with all your information enough. Suddenly people were sending potential employers their Instagram username and presenting it as a professional profile. There was once upon a time people were told to never share their social media with employers, lest they see you having fun and that’s not professional.
Now, LinkedIn is the hottest place to be, anything that could be considered content (audio, visual, video, etc.) is all posted on Instagram and the number of followers you have is shared on your CV as an example of your business management and social media skills.
As an extension, some studies suggest that Gen Z take their social media profiles seriously as an extension of self. This makes sense as a basic concept. You post your happy moments on Instagram, your political stance on Twitter, your funny side on TikTok, etc. And for those of us who remember Bebo and MySpace, it was all about putting your personality out there on an internet forum and there were too many utterances of the phrase “It’s not a phase, Mum!” Perhaps Gen Z simply hasn’t grown out of their phase yet, Mum.
This might not solely be a Gen Z thing, but since the mainstream acceptance of the internet, there has definitely been an uptake in holding people accountable. It started with holding people accountable for what they posted there, and expanded into “crimes” in their personal lives. These crimes can range from things that can actually be charged with by the court of law, to just offensive actions that some might consider immoral.
Over time, that has gone so far as to affect brands. People are realising that the big problems are often not brought down to one person, but things like environmental issues, social issues, etc. take aiming at the big brands to bring down.
And it shows. Brands have had to start telling everyone who will listen why they are environmentally friendly, or LGBT+ supportive, or follow their employee diversity regulations, making for an interesting shift in marketing messaging.
The Millennial Pause
And then there is this. Don’t pause after you hit record or start talking. Or edit it out. They think it’s cringe.
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