Understanding and marketing to Generation Z

Despite being the most cash-poor generation, Generation Z (those born after the mid-90s, one generation after Millennials) have a huge amount of influence with brands. Recognising the importance of these emerging consumers, brands are trying to find ways to better understand and market effectively to this elusive group of people.

Generation Z

generation z behavioural trends

As members of digital insights library Canvas8, a few of us here at Collider attended their recent talk Trailblazing Teens: Demystifying Gen Z. Promised a session which would deconstruct Generation Z to reveal how brands can better understand them, we weren’t disappointed! Packed with insight, it left us buzzing with the possibilities it highlighted for brands.

These are the five key behavioural trends we were taken through:


Showing your imperfections and being emotionally intelligent is now on trend with this crowd. Brands need to approach them with a ‘soft touch’ like Netflix did with their cease and desist letter


Being yourself is so in. Brands that tap into this generation of fluid identities and expression will reap the rewards, like River Island did with their labels are for clothes campaign


Being involved and having a conscience is cool amongst teens these days. While this generation want brands to take a stand, be careful not to fall on the wrong side of this like Dove did with their body-shaped-bottles.

BEING +, or in other words, ambitious

Ambition is important to Generation Z with 76% of American Gen Zers seeing themselves as ‘owners of their careers’[1]. This is highlighted by the craze in 12 year old entrepreneurs making slime for dollar.


The problem with teens putting so much pressure on themselves to be emotionally intelligent, being truly themselves, having a conscience and starting businesses at 12 means that they need an outlet to let go – cue that Kenzo ad


Just days after this talk, we saw one of the behaviours mentioned come to life when a group of 20-year-old students from Toulouse Business School came to Collider as part of their studies. Putting their bright minds to the test, we gave them a brief and one hour to respond to it. Not only were the results very impressive but we were handed a CV at the end of it! If that’s not Being +, we don’t know what is.

 launch intelligence research

Here at Collider, we’re always looking for consumer insights to better shape our strategy and creative; we recently did a piece of research around brand launches which likewise revealed some interesting generational insights. For example, when it comes to recalled launches, 3x the number of Generation Zers recall health and beauty launches compared to Baby Boomers, whilst the opposite is true for domestic appliances[2]. We can also see differences in perception and resonance of brands depending on what sector they’re in. Applying this research to well-known behavioural models, we created a framework to help categorize brands, with the purpose of better understanding how to create more effective strategies to engage consumers of all generations.

If you’d like to get in touch to discuss how we can apply these behavioural insights and learnings to your brand, please get in touch.

A big thank you to Canvas8 for inviting us to their fascinating talk and we look forward to the next one!

[1] Monster, 2016

[2] Collider, 2017

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