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How understanding Gen Z’s struggle can ensure brand relevance

Right now, as generation Z is in its formative years, you can make an enormous impact as a brand. Generation Z is still developing their opinions and attitudes about the world around them as they slowly grow up. The example you set right now could create the baseline for a great image for the rest of their lives.

A recent large scale Dutch survey (June 2020), commissioned by Unicef, underlines what we’ve observed for a while already; teenagers experience a lot of stress these days. Generation Z puts a lot of pressure on themselves, but also experiences a lot of pressure from society to perform, according to 1 in 3 young people. School- and homework was perceived as the biggest source of pressure. Generation Z is ambitious. Their Gen X parents instilled in them the importance of financial security and a solid education. But this ambition comes with a flip side.

It’s exactly this focus on their school work and career that will increase the pressure in the upcoming period of their lives. A lot of students have fallen behind on their school work due to the lack of classroom education during the corona crisis. After the summer break a lot of catching up will be required. Students that graduated this year will experience a more difficult time getting hired for their first real jobs. Companies are currently still bearing the fallout of a paralysed economy and hiring new staff will most likely not be at the top of their priority list. The economy in general might take years to fully recover.

Generational Tension
The tension between younger and older generation has been building for a while, but in the wake of the pandemic these tensions will likely only rise. According to younger generations, the often vilified Babyboomers had particularly made things comfortable for themselves, at the cost of the housing market, job market and the planet. Now generation Z had been asked to stay inside during the quarantine in many countries, even though it was mostly the elderly that were vulnerable to the virus. Or as 18 year old climate activist Jamie Margolin put it: “You want young people to sacrifice — to stop socializing, to shut ourselves inside — so older people can live. But many older people aren’t sacrificing so the youth can live”.

„…52% of 18-24 year olds agreed completely with the statement that the Netherlands should lead the way compared to other countries regarding climate policy.“

Now that around a quarter of the Dutch voters is over 65 years old, the Babyboomers still have a tremendous say in the course of the country. And in certain topics the ideological differences between young and old voters contrast each other severely. A recent poll by Ipsos showed that 52% of 18-24 year olds agreed completely with the statement that the Netherlands should lead the way compared to other countries regarding climate policy. This is compared to a slim 16% of voters older than 65. With the key role climate is expected to play in the upcoming decennia, the to babyboomer’s attributed “Après nous, le déluge” (after us, the flood) might not be so far off.

Brand opportunity?
So how do you connect with this new generation? The generation that will only see its worries increase because of the crisis. A generation that balances realism, ambition and their mental health in pursuit of a brighter future. How can you best approach generation Z as we’re slowly opening up the world again? Right now, as generation Z is in its formative years, you can make an enormous impact as a brand. Generation Z is still developing their opinions and attitudes about the world around them as they slowly grow up. The example you set right now could create the baseline for a great image for the rest of their lives. At TrendsActive we’ve been studying generations for almost two decades. We are currently preparing brands to bounce back stronger after the summer break. Interested in what value we can add to your brand? Send us a mail or drop by for a cup of coffee.

 This was just one of 10 insights, do you want to know more?

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