For any brand looking to create a higher awareness and presence in their respective markets, generation Z is all the talk. Gen Z is populated by those born after 1997 making them 23 years of age and younger today. They are the first generation to be true digital natives, having grown up with the rapid evolution of technology and communication that the rest of the world had to learn to adopt. This generation will be the toughest to connect with and understanding them now can help your brand be ahead of the curve.
Loyalty For Gen Z
From a loyalty perspective, this generation will be very tricky. Earning their trust is elusive, they will do their research and not typically believe what the brand tells them at first. As digital natives, people in this generation have been exposed to online resources since an early age and know how and where to find information. Bad reviews could kill the perception and trust of your brand to a Gen Z so it is important that you maintain a polished reputation as a brand and loyalty program.
Gen Z consistently desires the wow factor. At 10 years of age, Gen Z kids were witnessing the rapid growth of smartphone technology, year after year and still to this day there is something new and exciting to look forward to. This generation was molded for higher expectation in a shorter time frame. With loyalty it is important to win them over at every touch point, whether it is in-person offers that drive engagement to your loyalty program or internal program rewards and engagement tactics that are new and exciting.
Value is an important term when thinking about how to best form a loyalty program for Gen Z users. Value now stretches past simple economic value or engagement value and is rather now defined by what your brand is doing for external efforts that Gen Z cares about. Most of the time that is societal impact. Partnering your loyalty program with charity organizations and giving your Gen Z customers the ability to donate their point value to charities, for example, will help your brand resonate with this generation.
Environmental impact is also important to Gen Z, how can your brand show them that you are striving to decrease carbon footprint? It is important to remember that your loyalty program is a piece of your brand as a whole and that environmentally conscious decisions your business decides to make or not will be broadcasted. Like previously stated, this generation does their research and they do it quickly while forming a decision and outlook on a brand faster than ever before.
Communication & Reach
Omnichannel communication and engagement is huge for this generation as well. They will research information on Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc., before being directed to your brand’s domain. Rarely is it even a google search, kids in Gen Z typically read about information on social sites before diving into their own research so higher presence and promotion on social networks may be very beneficial. However, it is imperative that your messaging matches directly with what is being offered, or there is a breach of trust. Integrating social platforms with your loyalty program will put your program ahead of the game of appealing to Gen Z users. Digital word of mouth is the most valuable form of advertising a brand can achieve today and a part of attaining that is having a presence online.
Above all else, Gen Z customers want to feel emotional about your brand. They want to feel as if your brand and loyalty program are expressions of themselves and their lifestyle. Customization is also key, while this generation loves to fit in with a trend or something that the general population of their age is doing, they also want to do that thing in their own unique way. Take Starbucks for example: their loyalty application allows users to reach bronze, silver, and gold status. The Gen Z Starbucks drinkers would all be fitting in with drinking that coffee but unique in their status as a customer which sets them apart.
Here are two stats to help drive home the importance of understanding Gen Z:
-Gen Z influences 80% of household purchases
-By 2030 Gen Z will make up 30% of the workforce
Gen Z customers, like others before them, will soon be the ones establishing new norms for how products and services are created, bought, and sold. By understanding what the big drivers are for Gen Z customer loyalty, your brand can set itself apart for a new generation.