Article

Daniel Bakst
Daniel Bakst 25 January 2018

Generation Z: Their Expectations of Brands and Experiences

As the purchasing power of customers in the Generation Z segment continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important that your brand provides a specific value that caters to this group. In doing so, you can contribute to forming lifetime relationships with this segment. The first step to establishing these customer relationships is understanding what value this group desires, and then figuring out how your brand can work to provide it.

Forming long-term relationships can serve as a foundational aspect of success for brands across different industries. This is especially true for those industries that are targeting Generation Z consumers, because this group’s purchasing power is positioned to grow exponentially in the coming years, scheduled to account for 40% of consumer spending within the next decade. Brands that can establish a loyal relationship while these consumers are young are setting themselves up to reap the benefits of a lifetime of spending. However, it can be challenging to not only understand what these customers desire, but also to provide that value in a way that captures the attention of this fickle audience.

The first step to establishing this level of customer relationship is figuring out what kind of value your Generation Z customers are looking for. Typically, this means maintaining and optimizing your brand image across every different touch point, especially online frontiers. Over half of this population would prefer to purchase a variety of different products online, and your brand needs to be able to provide a leading Customer Experience within these platforms. In practice, that means providing a consistent level of service and value regardless of whether the customer is interacting via online, on-site or over the phone. Typically, this group of younger customers will stick to online channels, specifically mobile devices, during most of the customer journey. As a result, it is especially important to monitor your brand’s online performance, if you are hoping to form long-term relationships with Generation Z consumers.

Beyond setting up your organizational infrastructure to provide this value, the real challenge in reaching this customer segment is understanding how to capture their attention long enough to make an impact on their mental real estate. These consumers sift through so much information online every day, that your brand needs to find a unique way to establish significance. Avoid traditional advertising tactics, because 69% of Generation Z consumers find these ads disruptive rather than informative. Creating content that has more of a narrative than traditional ads is an effective way of breaking through with this segment, because they are more interested in narratives surrounding real people. While this style certainly requires an investment of more time and energy, the long-term benefits of forming a relationship with Generation Z consumers will undoubtedly counter those costs.

One of the initial steps of establishing this level of service with any customer segment is conducting research programs that help collect information about whatever demographic you are targeting. The insights provided by programs like mystery shopping, voice of customer survey and social media reputation monitoring can help you find key data points with a direct impact on the way you interact with customers. The desires and values for consumers in Generation Z are changing rapidly as the population becomes older, so it is important to consistently conduct these measurement programs. Doing so will help you capture insights about what these customers want, and determine how well your team is doing at meeting these desires.

 

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