I was selected by publisher Kogan Page to read an advance copy of one of their upcoming titles, The Gen Z Frequency (scheduled for release on September 28). Over the last few weeks, I’ve worked my way through the text with relative ease. It’s a well written, fun book.
In what I would now call the quintessential guide-book for marketing to Gen Z, authors Gregg Witt and Derek Baird explore everything from finding relevance with the cohort to the procedural steps needed to align with Gen Z’s culture and expectations. The book’s tips and frameworks are explored via well-known brands, but examples including Nike, Lego, Carhartt, Glossier aren’t the same stories you’re used to hearing. There are even some case studies from unnamed companies exposing how they’ve failed trying to implement tactics to reach Gen Z. It’s all incredibly insightful.
Here are some key take-aways about Gen Z that you’ll get to explore even further throughout the book.
- is comprised of individuals born between 1996 and 2011 (approximately)
- is estimated to be a little more than 1.9 billion, or 27% of the global population, with the most significant proportions being in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa
- is estimated to be between 62-65 million people in the US
- has a minimal tolerance for companies that don’t take the time to get to know them individually (you’re going to need better data)
- expects brands to see and adapt to trends before they become cliched
- rejects being called anything besides Gen-Z, as the notion of a cohesive generation is nonsense to them
- is open to all ethnicities, races, genders and orientations; and expects that those values will be reflected in the brands they are loyal to
- manage their social media profiles more like brands, having watched and learned from Millennials mistakes of over-sharing
- tends to reject companies without a clear brand story that they can ascribe cogent values to, if they can’t find out who you are and what you stand for, they won’t risk buying from or working for you
- seeks brands that connect with their passions and interests, and contribute to their lives (are you adding value, or selling stuff)
- expects “unique”, hyper-individualism is the norm
- wants to interact with companies who produce content that makes them feel cool and look unique, using all the digital assets available today like emoji, artificial and mixed reality, stickers, etc.
The latter half of the book is filled with deliberate examinations of and recommendations for building a marketing ecosystem that works for Gen Z. The authors expose you to their “youth culture engagement playbook”, which, by itself, is probably worth the price of the book. They also break down specific social strategies for each and every dominant digital platform, explain content strategies and appropriate brand voice development, and they explore how you can parlay engagement with your content into the creation of a vibrant community.
There’s a lot here, and the book doesn’t waste words. Gregg and Derek are the experts that have been working with the biggest brands in this space, and their experience and omniscience is clearly evident. It’s an engaging and illuminating look into the next big driver of our economy, and subsequently, your organization.
The Gen Z Frequency is a worthwhile way to start exploring the audience you’ll be working with, and the marketing operations you’ll need in place in the not-so-distant future.