And get through to the generation with the 8 second attention span

We’ve all seen and read plenty about Generation Z: those born between the mid-1990s and 2015. Here’s a reminder about why they matter: 60 million of them are currently teens, over one-quarter of the total US population. They account for $44 billion in direct spending, and they are expected to become the largest generation of consumers by 2020.

Havas Media wanted to understand all that was unique and important about this audience. In 2018, we published Gen Z: The Newest Normal.

The hypothesis was that Gen Z would be a shockingly different generation that marketers should consider a formidable challenge. What we were reminded is that 10 to 21 year olds are regular kids. Although Gen Z has digital in their blood, they are a pragmatic and surprisingly traditional generation. They are the most diverse generation in history, and are accepting of themselves and others. They are aware that the world is a tumultuous, political, diverse place, and because of this culture, have realistic expectations for their future. Getting a job, going to college, and spending time with their families are priorities. They expect a sense of reality from the brands they engage with too. Brands need to stand for something and to have a story of their own.

Havas Media’s research shows that Gen Z is:

  • Tech-fluent – Gen Z was born into the technology age, not knowing life without the internet.
  • Pragmatic – With limitless access to information via technology and the internet, Gen Z has developed a sophisticated world view faster than any previous generation.
  • Short on Attention – With an 8-second attention span (4 seconds less than Millennials), visual brand experiences appeal to Gen Z and are expected by them.
  • Candid Gen Z respects and rewards brands that use social media in the same way they do – beyond self-expression, as a platform to engage people in their “personal” story.
  • Savvy Limitless access to influencers empower them to pursue talent and expertise in their own right.
  • Persuasive –Gen Z knows a lot about a variety of topics and it shows when it comes to household purchases. Parents are not just listening, 

What does all this mean? Gen Z wants brands to reflect who they are, recognize their realities, and echo these 5 “truths” …

  • In Real Life: Access to real-world stories via digital channels has created an aware, pragmatic generation. Brands can foster sharing via relevant content tailored for mobile.
  • Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: There are few – if any – gaps in a Gen Zer’s day that can’t be filled with digital media. Effective brands are present throughout the day, at relevant occasions.
  • Friend Me: Personalized experiences won’t be filtered out among the noise they encounter while multi-tasking their days away. It’s these type of experiences that show Gen Z a brand really “gets” them.
  • Be Real: Gen Z expects and rewards honest, relatable, like-minded brands that make them feel a true connection.
  • Make It Mine: For Gen Z, there is no “online” or “in-store” – there is one retail experience. Retail experiences should be omni-channel for digital while in-store and engaging others in their experience.