Many members of the Gen Z generation are now of age to vote and they are ready to save the world. These young activists are fighting in the name of gun violence, the opioid epidemic, trans rights and climate change. Why is this generation more vocal in their beliefs than previous generations? Gen Z grew up being bombarded by fear and misinformation. They have lived through the great recession, turbulent world events, mass shootings and fake news. Rather than becoming desensitized and apathetic, they have mobilized and marketers would be smart to keep up.
Constant exposure to fake news has jaded this generation. According to Gartner Iconoculture’s Gen Z survey, only 9% of Gen Z believe with ease what people say, and less than 5% say they believe the media. Brands should recognize this generation’s need to be proactive for causes as well as their distrust of media and information. Iconoculture had some tips for marketers in their “Teen Titans” article on how to encourage Gen Z’s need for positive change and avoid distracting from their priorities.
Fact checking tools: According to a Stanford University study, tweens have trouble distinguishing between sponsored content and news 82% of the time. Since it is such a challenge for them, brands must be transparent and provide them with tools to allow them to form their own opinions based on accurate information. National Geographic Kids offers fact checking quizzes to teach kids in a fun and educational way how to decipher real from fake news.
Make them feel safe: Gen Z craves security. According to Gartner Iconoculture’s Gen Z Survey, their top worries are terrorism and violence. Brands that make Gen Z feel like someone is looking out for the good of people, like Nike, which not only made social statements by having Colin Kaepernick as a spokesperson but also have a goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals into the environment by 2020.
Be active online and off: Gen Z wants to take action online and off, but they also want support. Brands must join them on the front lines, not just on social media. Lyft is doing this by offering 50% off promo codes on election days to get people to the polls and free rides to underserved communities by partnering with groups like Voto Latino, local Urban League affiliates, and the National Federation of the Blind.