They prefer texting over talking. They were the first to grow up with access to the internet, smartphones, and social media. They are a generation of digitally connected individuals, using technology to communicate, to stay informed, and to participate in online communities. ‘They’ are Generation Z. And in order to effectively engage with Gen Z, you better get familiar with their world.

“Brands are talking about WHAT they do, I’m wondering WHY I should care.”

That pretty much sums up how young people are looking at your traditional communication. At BelgaClub's 3rd edition of the afterwork event hosted by TomorrowLab, communication specialists discussed the future of communication and media. Focusing on Gen Z (age 10-25) people are often saying that they have an attention span of 8 seconds. But maybe, they only need 8 seconds to decide whether your content is valuable to them…

Why is it so important to engage Gen Z?

The answer is simple: they are your future employees and customers. The Zoomers, as they are affectionately called, even when not in your target group today, are expected to account for 27% of the workforce by 2025. Today they make up 32% of the total global population, with increasing buyer power... and using their own arsenal of technological tools.

While Facebook is still very popular amongst the older generations, youngsters favor Instagram Reels, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitch, an interactive streaming platform that accounts for more than 1.2 million users in Belgium. According to ByteDance’s 2022 figures, TikTok ads reached 31.3% of all adults aged 18 and above in Belgium.

TikTok is the new Google

So can you still ignore TikTok in your communication and marketing strategy? Definitely not. They use this application as their source for news related videos and even more, as a search engine. So if they would like to visit Barcelona, they are not checking the top 10 places to visit on Google. They look for nice vlogs and videos of Barcelona created by the first influencers showing up in their feed.

You’re not a B2C company? Then you can have an interesting TikTok strategy too. An inspirational example is Dassault Systems. By getting very appealing videos out there, showing their simulation of wind tunnel on cars, trains and aircraft, they reached around 750k likes and videos going up to 3.5 million views.

What are you waiting for?

Start reaching a new powerful consumer base

How to reach Gen Z?

As a rule of thumb, these 5 tips offer a basis of how to charm Gen Z in your communication.

  • Focus on authenticity. Make sure your message is honest and real. Do not use the perfect stock pictures, but just show the real world. Show the imperfect perfection. Respect reality, diversity and inclusivity.
  • Be brief, be concise, be creative. They are certainly open to intellectual and complex material, but preferably in bite-sized chunks. An interesting mini video-serie, blog or instagram carousel or push-notifications are great to keep them involved.
  • Build a community and engage actively in it. Partnering with influencers to get your message out there is a good start.
  • Adopt the Beesechurger humor. This abstract, dark and absurd humour is a means to cope with the social problems of today, such as the housing crisis, the Ukraine war, Covid, the economic crisis etc.
  • Use mixed reality technologies. Gen Z gladly immerses itself in mixed reality experience in which they are technologically stimulated.

Those elements will force you to change your tone of voice to be able to talk to Gen Z. You have to know the rules, values and culture of each platform and create content that is entertaining and valuable first. Just remember: the era of just pushing information and expecting people to care is done.

On the upside, by understanding the needs and values of Generation Z, you can create a successful communication strategy that will help you reach this powerful consumer base. With the right message and approach, your business can leverage the increasing buying power of Generation Z to your advantage.

How? By taking part in the creator economy.

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