Like many marketing leaders out there, you are probably still coming to grips with understanding and working with Millennials — the 20-somethings being courted by media and marketing alike. But now there’s a whole new generation to understand: Generation Z. Who are they? Why should you care about them? And how can you build your brand with them? Here’s what we know.

Who is Gen Z?  
Gen Z is the first generation born into a digital world. While there’s no one commonly accepted demographic definition, they are generally considered to be born in the mid-1990s through 2010. They are true digital natives who have grown up in the age of technology. The only world they know is a digital one — where they can connect anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. As a result, they are highly promiscuous when it comes to media consumption; they will be the first generation to consume more media online than offline. And Forrester’s Technographics® research shows that today 84% of Gen Zers multitask with an Internet-connected device while watching TV — using an average of 1.5 other Internet-connected devices.
Why should marketers care?
The leading edge of this generation is now aged 18 to 23, entering college and the workforce. They are financing more of their own brand and purchasing decisions and experimenting with new products and brands. This makes them a key target for many marketers seeking to forge life-long brand allegiance.
How can you build your brand with them?
Gen Zers are open to relationships with brands, so long as those brands are authentic and live up to their high expectations. To win the hearts and minds of Gen Zers, marketing leaders must:
  • Practice participation, not persuasion. Gen Z grew up with two-way brand conversations, so a traditional one-way sell just won’t work. Invite them to participate in your brand through new and fresh experiences that earn their trust. For example, Coca-Cola tapped into Kinect technology to create a dancing vending machine that challenges young consumers in South Korea to copy the dance moves of boy band 2PM.
  • Deliver a consistent brand experience online and offline. Gen Zers see no distinction between the real and virtual worlds. For them, they are one and the same. So your experience of your brand must provide them with the same seamless experience. 
To learn more about Gen Z and how marketers like Axe and Coca-Cola are building their brands with this generation, check out my report “How To Build Your Brand With Generation Z.” 
I'd love to hear your experiences. What else do you know about Gen Zers, and how are you building your brand with them?