- Gen Z (those born after 1995) do not trust businesses to act in the best interests of society, according to a the results of a new survey by brand consultancy BBMG and strategy firm GlobeScan that was shared with Marketing Dive. The study of 2,058 U.S. consumers looked at the relationship of this age group to brands.
- Gen Z is twice as likely as any other generation to care more about issues of equality and three times more likely to say that the purpose of business is to "serve communities and society," a statement about the survey said. Gen Z is also more likely to say it can make a difference on issues through its own online efforts, a claim made by 43% of this generations versus 30% for all others.
- Gen Z is also more likely to trust that large companies are operating in society's best interests only when the companies show it by their actions and their employees' actions.
BBMG said its research points to five strategies that brands can employ to appear more authentic to a Gen Z audience. These include standing up for Gen Z's values and beliefs, viewing Gen Z as active co-creators to help shape conversations, standing up for those left out, acting as platforms for the personal journeys of Gen Zers and speaking honestly about brand's strategies and challenges.
The new survey is the latest to indicate that Gen Z consumers want brands to do more than just make and sell products.
Earlier this month, a new study from consulting firm DoSomething Strategic — which sampled 1,908 members of youth-oriented social issue organization DoSomething.org — found that two-thirds of Gen Z consumers experience an increase in positive feelings about a brand because of an association with a social cause, and 58% said such an association could spur a purchase.
A study in 2017 by Boston-based Cone Communications found that 87% of general consumers would purchase a product if an issue advocated by the brand resonated with the consumer. Similarly, reports in 2018 from SAP and Sprout Social also found consumers reacting positively to the brands supporting social causes.
However, brands needs to proceed thoughtfully when they attach themselves to a cause. The DoSomething report found that many such efforts are not breaking through and getting noticed by Gen Z, underscoring the need to loudly broadcast such tie-ups and to consistently integrate them across an organization. New research recently published in the Journal of Advertising Research suggests that brands should avoid being overly emotional or relying on guilt in their cause-related marketing.