The Gen Z collective


By Jackie Grisdale

I don’t like the term Gen Z. There. I said it. If you’ve heard me speak at events, you’ll know this already, but here it is written down. Let me explain why.

Gen Z is a huge sweeping generalisation of an audience that isn’t helpful in any way. It’s provided a quick, easy, and frankly lazy approach to targeting an audience built on a lack of understanding and undermines marketing efforts.

The beauty of our so-called Gen Z is that there is as much difference and range within it as there is with every other generation combined. I recently read an article by Bob Hoffman discussing BBH Labs recent research into single-mindedness of certain groups of people (termed group-cohesion). Now here’s the interesting part. In their study they found that people who eat nuts every day have a higher group-cohesion score than all millennials combined. Crossword puzzle fanatics and Orangina drinkers also have a higher group cohesion than Baby Boomers. So why are we still categorising people based on their age range?

That’s why at SMRS we always put our audience understanding at the heart of everything we do. Oven the past 20 years, our work with young people has taught us that there are so many different segments to our youth audience. It’s not as simple as grouping them together based on their generation. Each one has different drivers, motivators, hopes, dreams and aspirations. And by truly understanding these, we can get a clear and concise picture of where they’re going, what their journey is and all the touchpoints that influence them along the way. Once we know this, and only after we do, can we start to create content that will connect, to develop messages that are meaningful, enhance experiences which teach new lessons and give insight which positively impacts the young people we want to attract.

We do a lot of research and insight work for our clients, and it’s fundamental to what we do. That’s why our collaboration with Springpod has been a truly exciting opportunity for us to explore the issues that are concerning young people. For example, how are they choosing which brand to buy? What’s influencing them? How are they choosing their careers and what drives them to apply to a particular employer?

We’ve compiled a report that answers these questions and so many more. It’s an important piece of research to us that explains what we should be doing to engage with young people.

Take a read of the report here.

We’re excited to hear what questions it raised for you, and where it’ll help you to grow your strategies. We’ll be making more reports, so we would love to hear what you’d like the see next. Happy reading!