Are Gen Z hijacking brand loyalty?
As a brand agency we are fascinated about consumer / societal trends and need to be on the forefront of analysing trends from a consumer mindset in order to advise our clients on how to position their brands. Part of our job is applying a brand lens to what’s happening in society on a macro level and translate that to what it means for our current clients who want to ride the wave. Brands need to respond to social trends in order to tap into their mindset on a human level. People want to associate themselves with brands that are standing for something they believe in, from a social, environmental and ethical point of view. Habitual purchases are changing, and they’re changing at a more rapid pace, as the emerging generation arrived into the buying stratosphere, or in this instance are influencing their parents in what to buy.
I’m sharing a blog post from one of our incredibly clever, partner insights agency, BrandHook, as the article was so on point and fascinates me as I’ve been researching Gen Z for the past while. Gen Z is the incumbent generation after the ever-so-hyped Millenials. They’re currently aged between 5 – 20 and though the age bracket is huge, these kids have grown up with technology at their fingertips, they choose goji berries over coco pops and 100% a generation that brands need to start thinking about now. What interests me is the higher social and moral conscience this generation hold, and will stop at nothing to dictate to their parents what they want to see in the shopping trolly. Brands need to be ready for them as Gen Z are the most informed, sophisticated, brand aware generation to date. They truly want to change the world and won’t accept anything less.
The Rising Power of Gen Z: Disrupting Mums Habitual Purchases
By Eleanor Cyron
Something interesting happened to my grocery trolley about 6 months ago. Habitual purchases suddenly become not so habitual. The brands I had been buying week in week out for years suddenly were not the ones being purchased any more. Instead, many had come under harsh scrutiny, they were either in or out, there was no maybe and no product categories or brands were immune. Any product that contained Palm Oil or derivatives of Palm Oil were no longer allowed, even our dogs food.
This detective-like examination of grocery items, and whether they were allowed or not, did not begin by me but instead by my 9-year-old daughter. After learning at school about the devastating effects of Palm Oil Plantations on the environment, my daughter decided that she had a personal obligation to try and make things better. She scanned barcodes with apps, checked ingredients and searched online if she was unsure of palm oil inclusion. She was on a mission to make sure everything I bought was Palm Oil free. This meant brands I had grown up with, and had subsequently bought out of habit, were no longer purchased. Decades of brand loyalty gone in an instant.
You might argue that most kids go through phases like this, have been for generations and it is nothing more than a phase which will soon pass – well, I’m not so sure. My daughter’s absolute conviction, non-wavering dedication and the obligation she feels in playing her part to fix the current state of world affairs got me thinking. Are there a new generation of children out there, that really do care and think of themselves as a responsible part of the bigger picture?
A bit of desk research revealed that yes, there are a new generation of children and teenagers who are showing surprising ‘self-awareness versus self-centeredness’. In a report commissioned by Ernst and Young, ‘Generation Z are placing a greater emphasis on their role in the world as part of a larger ecosystem and their responsibility to help improve it”. This is explained as something distinct to the generation that came before them: ‘who were more interested in what they could gain for themselves by being environmentally conscious’.
What does this mean for brands then? As my daughter has illustrated, a lot. Brands that are not prepared to share an obligation in helping the environment, will not even reach the consideration set of this new generation, regardless of how much they may like the product or not.
After examining hundreds of different brands in the supermarket, it has become clear, which ones have already realised that they too are interested in being part of the solution. They are the ones that I now buy and are the ones that my 9-year-old daughter has become loyal too.
Insights & Strategy Director, BrandHook
With offices in Melbourne and London, Brandhook believe that in today’s multichannel world, brands and their customers are so intimately fused that the only way to grow is to understand what truly makes those consumers tick. Their passion is to find that insight anchored in commercial reality that will drive brand success.
Find-put more about Brandhook here: www.brandhook.com
Pic courtesy of Brandhook.