Susan Burchill, 3rdspace senior writer and Rachael Sullivan, consumer behavioural specialist uncover key insights for understanding and engaging with Generation Z. 

As the EY Megatrends Report 2020 notes, referring to Generation Z, “The next decade will be shaped by the maturation of the largest generational cohort in history.” This cohort of people aged 10 to 24 years old comprises 1.8 billion people, which makes up 24% of the global population.

The most diverse generation yet

As populations of the world’s leading economies become more elderly, developing-market societies have growing numbers of youths, leading to the fragmentation of population distribution across different nations. According to the Megatrends report, “India stands out with a population that includes 375 million people — 27% of which are Gen Z.” By contrast, Gen Z in Japan makes up just 14% of the population. 

The Gen Z mindset on social issues can differ across geographies as well, with those in developing markets more socially conservative, as an example. “Companies will have to identify the important distinctions among Gen Zers to serve this global cohort effectively,” the report says.

Gen Z globally are united by one common purpose

Diverse as they are between countries, one of the core commonalities that unites Gen Z across the globe is their commitment to tackling sustainability. Gen Z’s fear of climate change is well-founded, with the EY Megatrends Report pointing out that nearly 60% of the Gen Z population lives in countries with a high vulnerability to climate change but low readiness for responding to it. This serves to intensify climate’s impact on this generation. 

And in the top 20 Gen Z countries with coastlines, 121 million people currently live in areas that will be below high tide by 2050, while 252 million will be subject to coastal flooding by the same date.

This is likely the greatest contributor to Gen Z’s preference for buying products from manufacturers who protect the environment and have a sustainable supply chain. While Millennials made changes in their everyday lives to be more sustainable, Gen Z is taking global action. According to Parrys Raines, Senior Consultant, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY Australia, “Gen Z are the ones creating a movement to address the climate emergency by engaging with businesses and governments at the highest echelons.”

An insight into the mindset of Gen Z consumers

The Gen Z mindset is both a product of, and different to, every generation that has preceded it. As Parrys Raines says, “Young people in Generation Z are purpose driven, solutions focused, digitally connected, collaborative, and have a sense of urgency about issues that matter for the future.”

Appealing to Gen Z starts with ensuring a brand’s purpose is at the heart of the entire business and that leaders take ownership and responsibility for the impact this has on society and the planet. The next challenge is to pivot rather than disrupt to create cut-through. 

As the world’s population makeup changes, marketers need to re-invent their approach by leading from the middle. This requires brands to adopt an impact statement and develop purpose-driven brand campaigns that purpose-driven consumers can identify with, and act on, in alignment with their own beliefs. 

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z do not see consumption as a means to an end. They see it as a reflection of who they are and the impact they want to see. For brands to become trusted in the eyes of the next generation, they must connect with the values of Gen Z using content that promotes positive action.


 

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help

 

3rd Space's Rachael Sullivan consumer behavioural specialist, explains why now is the time to revisit and reconsider your brand's purpose

Sir David Attenborough is one of the few public figures who has true inter-generational appeal, from baby boomers to Gen Z. While older fans have admired him since his earliest TV appearances, Attenborough’s unwavering commitment to preserving the natural world has also cemented him as an unlikely hero in the hearts and minds of young people. His latest documentary film, A Life On Our Planet, is described as his “Witness Statement” and a “Vision for the Future”. If you haven’t watched A Life On Our Planet, stop reading, grab your remote and watch it on Netflix now. Yes, it is distressing viewing. At times I felt ashamed to call myself a member of the human race. Yet it also conveys the right amount of hope. He reassures us that it is still possible to undo some of the damage we have inflicted on this planet - if we act now.

 

Marketing, advertising and owning my responsibility in the climate emergency. 

As the climate emergency becomes more pressing, I have started to feel less and less okay about some of the work I have done. In a marketing and advertising career spanning over 15 years I’ve worked on brand and marketing campaigns for airlines, news corporations, telcos and retailers on hundreds of briefs with objectives that went something along the lines of, “launch new product X or sell more product Y”. 

It’s not that I haven’t worked on incredible brands – I have. It’s not that I haven’t worked on really worthwhile foundation- or charity-based briefs – I’ve done that too. It’s more a feeling that, the older I get and now, as a parent myself, I realise that what I do for a living is part of a wider ecology.  

I’m opening up to, instead of shutting out, the realisation that the industry we operate in looks at briefs and projects in silo. Partly because creative people move around so much, also because the division of labour has meant the work we do is fragmented - removed from manufacturing and distribution processes. As bottom lines are squeezed, we are already consumed and consuming what’s next instead of assessing the true impact of the work we have done and the impact it has had beyond sales figures.

 

It’s time to re-visit your brand’s purpose 

As leaders across the world grapple with navigating uncertainty post COVID-19, CMOs and brand marketers are also handed a rare opportunity to reset. As companies look down the barrel of declining sales, the benefit-risk trade-off swings in the favour of purpose-driven marketing, providing a pause to think about what might be possible if we put planet before profit.

If your brand’s purpose statement was written more than a year ago, the chances are it needs a re-visit to ensure it resonates with today’s purpose-driven consumers.

Generation Z are demanding it

The latest EY Megatrends data tells us, “the next decade will be shaped by the maturation of the largest generational cohort in history — Generation Z. This cohort of people between 10- and 24-year olds comprises 1.8 billion people, making up 24% of the global population.” 

Gen Z (and the subsequent Generation Alpha) are the first generations to be born into a world where the impacts of climate change were happening around them. Many Gen Zs believe that business must play a key role in addressing the most pressing global issues, particularly climate change. Gen Zs want to buy products from manufacturers who protect the environment and have a sustainable supply chain.

 

As a collective of advertising, branding and marketing professionals we must take responsibility and show accountability.

The Gen Z mindset is both a product of, and different to every generation before. They are driven by sense of purpose, focused on solutions, digitally connected, collaborative, and are certainly not afraid of acting with a sense of urgency on issues impacting our future. 

Appealing to Gen Zs starts with ensuring a brand’s purpose is at the heart of the entire business and that leaders take ownership and responsibility for the impact this has on society and the planet. The next challenge is to cut through the deafening marketing noise to communicate with and connect with the values of Gen Zs, using content that promotes action. 

 

Brands must transform on purpose 

This change must come hand in hand with purpose – a brand’s witness statement to the world. Sir David Attenborough demonstrates that the rate of change to our biodiversity and planet over our lifetimes is unprecedented. Today it’s not enough for brands to adapt, they must reinvent frequently, to change our trajectory as a species and in doing so, ensure the course of a brand’s survival.

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3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help

 

Simon Sinek inspired audiences across the world with 2017 with his sell-out Start With Why Leadership Forum. In 2020, he returned to Australia with a new book and seminar tour: Simon Sinek: LIVE. Lucky enough to be in the audience, 3rdspace’s Rachel Sullivan has broken down her Top Takeouts from Simon Sinek: Live  to help inspire you to think about your company’s purpose and how to create content that provokes action.

 

Communicating your company’s purpose is as important as advancing a just cause 

If it’s got you thinking about advancing your company’s just cause, we’d urge you not to forget the importance of communicating and demonstrating your organisations purpose – the reason you exist beyond making money. This must be done frequently and authentically to employees and your customers so they continue to engage and promote your brand for days, weeks and years to come. We loved Simon’s notion that you wouldn’t tell your spouse you love them on your wedding day and not say it again, yet many companies take the same approach when it comes to communicating their purpose. 

 

Is it time to re-visit your brands purpose?

Attending events like Simon Sinek’s - The Infinite Game are brilliant for taking us out of our current perspective. In explaining that leaders today need to be existentially flexible - willing to make 180° turn in order to advance the organisations just cause. We got thinking about what this means for CMO and brand markets to stay relevant to consumers in an increasingly complex world where consumers are demanding more transparency. 

As we navigate uncertainly in a post COVID-19 world, CMO’s and brand marketers are handed a rare opportunity to reset as the benefit-risk trade off swings in the favour of purpose driven marketing. The key take out is to pause to think about what might be possible if we truly put Simon Sinek’s concept of advancing a just cause before profit.

 

Connecting with a new generation of purpose driven consumers 

Appealing to Gen Z’s starts with ensuring a brands purpose is at the heart of the entire business and that leaders take ownership and responsibility for the impact this has on society and the planet. This group are active in pressuring business to do and be better pushing companies to talk in terms of triple bottom lines. 

 

How brands with purpose can create content that promotes action

Today it’s not enough for brands to adapt, they must re-invent frequently, to adopt an infinite mindset to ensure our survival as a humanity, thus creating an environment in which brands can thrive. It’s not about telling customers what your purpose is. It’s about finding the stories within your business that demonstrates it.

By building a content strategy underpinned by communication pillars that demonstrate and reinforce this purpose every day. We call this your content mission.  A content mission then informs the creation of engaging content designed to provoke action - from your employees, customers and potential customers. 

If your origination has a just cause or purpose statement but doesn’t have a content mission that align to it, chances are you are missing an huge opportunity to better connect with the values of your customers.  

 


 

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help

Change is inevitable. It’s what has shaped every aspect of life as we know it. Whilst change can seem scary at first, the most successful people are those who take opportunities for change and use it to their advantage by forcing themselves out of the comfort zone.  

 Establishing and enforcing new process and ways of thinking can seem unnecessary and resource inefficient – particularly when current processes are working. However, it is important to remember that failure to change means that your business will be left behind.  

At 3rdspace we’re always looking to reignite our purpose, learning from our wins and most definitely our mistakes. Here’s three key drivers to fostering an open-minded, change-centric culture.  

ONE: Just because it works for you, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way of doing things.  

We’re all guilty of it. We have a strategy, a way of thinking or one route that gets us to where we want to go. But what if there was an express route? Starting small and considering new perspectives will harness your change-centric mindset and allow you to personalize whatever it is you chose to apply this mindset to. From a content perspective engage in thought provoking conversations with specialists in the field to understand the perspectives and processes of thought leaders and gain knowledge to shape your content strategy to drive greater results.  

TWO: Foster a data-centric culture.  

Almost every single day, we hear about the importance of data. However, it isn’t the data which will benefit your business- it's the way in which it’s used. Analyze data and use it to establish and shape the identities of your audience personas. Determine who your audience is, not by assuming from industry, but rather, understanding who is engaging with your content, on what platforms and how that engagement is nurturing new clients for your business.  

Adobe pledged to stay ahead of the game, implementing the concept of the ‘subscription economy’. Whilst most businesses neglected change, Adobe has taken advantage of an eager market hungry for doing things differently and its sales skyrocketed. Fostering this data centric culture allowed Adobe to understand the value of this investment assisted by data backed forecasts. The results speak for themselves! 

THREE: Look at the scoreboard. 

It’s easy to think that our ways are the best- at least the best for ourselves. It’s not uncommon to hear businesses preaching about their great strategy or product that you need. From a content perspective brands often get caught up in vanity metrics. We need to be thinking about results results results, How those engagement metrics and brand building content campaigns are also nurturing new data – new leads and new opportunities for the business. 

In 2020 it’s one of the most exciting times in content marketing, so if you’d like a fresh opinion and some more information on what we see happening in the world of content, we’d love to chat about how your content can provoke consumer action  

Talk to us here

All across socials last night were images and tributes to Robert J. Hawke.  

Why?

Because Bob had purpose.

Bob was plugged in to cultural context and had great insight.

Bob had a distinct personality and tone of voice.

Bob was a person of action and courage.

Like a good content strategy, he and what his team set out to achieve was to tell a story and create positive change in the world.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the main contenders for this election, will have the same impact and unfortunately the parties behind them are surrounded by very un-purposeful tacticians, that have got trapped into a lobbyist way of thinking.

In a nutshell their model is:

What do we stand for?  A good start.

What will they say about it and us. (= fear)

What will we say about them (=The lowest hanging fruit for campaigning)

Unfortunately, the “leaders” are letting the highly paid and insight-less tacticians run their race - including social tactics using micro influencers with negative, foundless smear content.

In an age where brands, leaders and political parties have so many fantastic personalised resources available to them – they treat their audiences with a lack of respect and resort to the most basic of messaging and lack of imagination in telling their story.

All we can hope is that the memory of Bob inspires new potential leaders to step up and have a go, with a focus on what our culture and community needs. Hopefully having a clearly defined purpose to create positive action in our country.

If you can find them on Saturday, I think you may have to look outside the brat pack.

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The views of the author are the views of 3rdspace.com.au

Tribes. They’re everywhere.

As humans, we want to get around people who get us. It’s in our nature. We want to feel like we belong and that our participation is important. We all want to know that we can make a difference and that our actions count.

It was once thought that the internet would be the great equaliser; that (unparalleled) widespread access to information would economically liberate the masses, but ultimately homogenise us culturally.

Social media has proved otherwise.

Not only have we seen more tribes than ever before, which connect over cross-cultural and geographic boundaries, we’ve seen more innovative ways to organise and mobilise these tribes.

We’ve raised millions of dollars for ALS research through an ice bucket challenge, which enabled a huge scientific breakthrough. We’ve brought home Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by rebel forces, all without leaving our homes.

However, there is a downside -- well, for marketers anyway: our clients are now demanding social campaigns with as much scalability as the ice bucket challenge. With next to no budget. Because social media is free, right?

Due to the success of grassroots campaigns plastered all over social media, a kind of availability bias ensues: because we are inundated with information about the movements, it makes us all feel closer to the problem and the solution than perhaps we really are. This, in turn, it makes it easy for our clients envision their campaigns gleaning a similar level support and making a similar level of impact.

While it’s very much possible to shape an advertising campaign around a social movement, that doesn’t mean that every social campaign calls for a social movement. It’s got to be the right fit, otherwise it’s going to flop. You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole.

To effectively harness the power of the social tribes, your campaign requires a few key ingredients:

  1. Disruption: your cause needs to inherently challenge some kind of status quo. As we have seen, this works particularly well for social causes, where the tribe is driven by a moral or ethical imperative. This also means that you need to propose a better way forward, and clearly outline how easy it is for people step up and make a difference.

 

  1. Connection: you need to bring people together on a social level. They’re united by a common cause, but it needs to be a real cause and they need to opt in. The people who actively opt in generally want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and as an individual, are an essential part of an important group. The impact of mobilising the tribe also depends on the strength of the call to action from the leadership team.

 

  1. Commitment: in order to make change, you need time and consistency. The group needs to see you, their leader, in the trenches day in and day out, fighting to make a real change. A two-week campaign period with two content pieces does not a social movement make.

 

You also need time to recruit supporters to your tribe, aka build up your following  -- after all, there is strength in numbers, and you’ve got to make some noise to get noticed.

So, how can it work?

Recently, 3rdspace partnered with ITF to fight a real injustice. We rallied together our own special tribe who called for Levis to provide better working conditions for the dock workers of Madagascar, who earn as little as 16 cents an hour shipping denim all around the world.

The result? We got Levis to commit to change in just three days.

Here’s how we did it.

At 3rdspace, we are always talking to our partners about the importance of developing a powerful content purpose as a way that can help guide the content team and marketing team from the inside out.

But where does it all go from there?

We’ve found a lot of brands talk about their content pillars and feel they've nailed their content strategy. The truth is, while it may mean a lot to the business and brand, that strategy and those pillars will not resonate with consumers.

There are also a lot of stakeholders when it comes to content, and everyone thinks their piece of content is the most important.

So, we’ve designed some innovative tools to help businesses not only define their content mission, but also create content that brings to life that mission in a way that has value to the audience.

We have also created 5 simple criteria to help select the best content.

  1. Is it relevant not only to the brand, but to the person we want to view it and share it? For content to connect it needs to express how our audience think and feel in a way that is more dynamic than how they would express it themselves.
  2. Does it have an “emotional gift”? Is it helpful, inspirational or does it generate humour that is reflective of the brand’s personality?
  3. Does it reinforce our brand purpose in a way that is easily understood in the language of a trusted friend?
  4. Does it start a conversation? Content should always evolve a brand story arc, but more importantly, if we can inspire our audience to share their stories, the content has more value than a “share”.
  5.  Is the format and the channel we are presenting the idea in the best way to tell the story? Sometimes a still image or a thought provoking editorial piece or quiz can be more appropriate and time relevant than a produced film. Also consider taking the idea into newer channels where you may not have huge following but can have great impact.

Always focussing on what most strongly connects you and your consumers – your Core Purpose.

Rob Logan is the founder of 3rdspace - where brands with purpose create content of value.

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