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Gen Z Doesn't Care About Your Billboards — They Care About Authenticity. Here's How Business Leaders Can Gain Gen Z's Trust and Loyalty Gen Z's buying power has reached a staggering $360 billion, and they spend over seven hours a day looking at screens. With its influence on the consumer landscape only intensifying, Gen Z is a critical audience for any brand seeking long-term customer loyalty.

By Slava Bogdan Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing to Gen Z requires a nuanced approach that prioritizes authenticity, engagement and social responsibility.
  • Use video content across most social media platforms, like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.
  • You can build trust and loyalty with Gen Z customers by prioritizing transparency, responsiveness and proactive problem-solving.
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Gen Z is a digitally native generation engaged with online shopping and social media. They value authenticity, social responsibility and unique experiences. By understanding their preferences, brands can cultivate lasting connections with this powerful consumer group.

1. Understand Gen Z's habits and values

Understanding the challenges of connecting with a certain generation is crucial for a successful marketing strategy. Gen Z spends a significant amount of time online, with an average screen time reaching 49 hours per week, making choosing the proper communication channels essential. However, standing out becomes increasingly difficult amidst the saturation of these platforms. Prioritizing authenticity in content and communication is vital because it evokes emotion and sticks in the audience's mind.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that Gen Z values social responsibility. Companies engaging in activities such as supporting the less fortunate or collaborating with charitable foundations resonate deeply with this generation. However, these actions must be consistent. One-off campaigns may be perceived as insincere, potentially eliciting negative reactions from the audience.

Related: Top Career Motivations of Gen Z and Reasons They Choose an Employer

2. Build trust

Grabbing Gen Z's attention is a constant battle. This skeptical audience craves genuine interaction, so fostering a two-way dialogue is key. This includes actively engaging with questions, polls and comments in the comment section.

But authenticity goes beyond just interaction; it's about the content itself. Highly polished, traditional marketing visuals can fall flat with Gen Z. That's where user-generated content shines. By incorporating UGC, brands tap into the power of natural, unfiltered perspectives from their community. This resonates with Gen Z's preference for relatable content and builds trust by showing the brand through a customer's lens.

Related: Why This One Unique Marketing Approach is the Key to Business Growth

3. Utilize short-form content

Gen Z prefers brief, engaging content, often finding lengthy videos challenging. With mere seconds to capture their attention, focus on hooking them right from the start. One important tip is to post regularly, several times a week. Collaborating with local creators for eye-catching content proves to be highly effective, too. A case in point: within 2 months of launching our TikTok account, we grew from 0 to nearly 300 followers. Even if you're dealing with long-form content, providing a snippet of the key moments at the beginning can pique the interest of a Gen Z viewer.

Video content is preferred over static imagery, showing higher organic reach across various channels, so prioritizing dynamic content is recommended to maximize your engagement and visibility.

4. Embrace influencers

Gen Z audiences place a higher value on influencer marketing compared to any other generation. However, simply choosing a popular creator isn't enough for guaranteed success.

One major advantage of these partnerships is the depth they provide in showcasing your brand. Influencers with whom you build lasting relationships can go beyond the surface, truly delving into the unique value proposition of your brand. This approach also helps you navigate the ever-changing algorithms of social media. By consistently appearing in an influencer's content, you build brand familiarity and trust with their audience over time. When an influencer uses your product or service regularly over a longer period, their endorsement feels more genuine, resonating better with viewers, especially Gen Z, who value authenticity.

Here's a concrete example of how long-term partnerships pay off: during International Women's Day, our ongoing collaborations with influencers resulted in 28 orders totaling almost $2,000 and 45 app installations.

Another benefit of these partnerships is exclusivity. Working with the same influencers creates a distinct brand identity, setting you apart from the competition. However, choosing the right partners is crucial. Start with short-term collaborations to assess if their audience aligns with your brand before diving into a long-term commitment.

Related: Why Leaders Need to Stop Using These Phrases if They Want to Communicate With Their Team

5. Prioritize transparency

Gen Z expects brands to be transparent and responsive. According to the 2021 Sprout Social Digital Natives Report, 41% of Gen Z audiences would choose a brand that delivers timely, responsive customer care over a competitor. Here's how my company, Flowwow, prioritizes transparency and proactive customer service:

  • Responding to feedback: We actively gather reviews and feedback through automated systems and our support team. This comprehensive approach ensures we see the full picture and address any concerns efficiently.
  • Learning from mistakes: We utilize an internal reporting system to track customer feedback and identify areas for improvement. By automating this process, we quickly address issues and minimize the chance of them reoccurring. This focus on continuous improvement helps us maintain a high average rating.
  • Scaling up for peak periods: Understanding that responsiveness is crucial during peak times, we leverage all available resources. For instance, on busy days like holidays, former customer service employees from other departments assist in processing orders, ensuring smoother customer experiences.
  • Proactive problem-solving: Our combined focus on reporting and proactive problem-solving allows us to anticipate potential issues and maintain a positive customer experience.

By prioritizing transparency, responsiveness and proactive problem-solving, you can build trust and loyalty with Gen Z customers.

Slava Bogdan

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

СEO & co-founder of Flowwow

СEO & co-founder of Flowwow, tech-entrepreneur with a 10-year leadership experience in e-commerce business. Building a glocal (global + local) marketplace that brings ultimate joy to your loved ones around the world.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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