MONDAY 29 FEB 2016 2:21 PM


The practice of generation profiling is not an exact science. However, certain trends and outlooks do hold true. For brands, many of whom set the tone for generational pop culture, understanding the mindset of each age group is an important brand positioning and marketing tool.

Thus, London-based creative agency Unity, held an event to better understand Generation Z, defined as those born from 1993-2002. Speakers say brands should know how to communicate with this audience. “Stop talking and start acting,” Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson says, as advice to brands. “Do things that matter to you or they will walk away from your brand. Don’t do ‘one-size-fits-all,’ Don’t follow the fashion. The most useful thing to do with this generation is act.”

Unity says the key fact about Gen Z is that it is the first group of true digital natives. Members of this generation have never lived in a world without the widespread use of computers and mobiles. They have also come of age during the recession, giving them a similar attitude toward achievement as their counterparts in the Great Depression. That has left Gen Z, as it did teenagers in the depression, with a lack of concern for material acquisitions and a more risk-friendly attitude toward personal achievement.

Jo Burford, community manager for the UK and Europe at Twitter, says Vine has a small, but wide-reaching community of influencers that brands can work with to make interesting content and build awareness. She warns, though, that Vine users find highly-produced content off-putting and fake and brands achieve the best results when they work with existing popular Viners. Brett Booth, a youth insight specialist, says that influencers want to work with brands, but only in a way that works for them. They care most about their audiences, but, he adds, brands can work with that in an authentic way.

The importance of good content was emphasised by Charlie Gardiner-Hill, chief operating officer at the Tab, a media platform for young journalists. He says brands should gear content toward shares, not reach, because the power of personal recommendations is acute. He also notes that content is often more internationally translatable that brands may think, “A good story is a good story, it doesn’t matter where it’s coming from.”

Generational profiling is by no means perfect, but understanding the world in which a group has been born into can help brands communicate more effectively with members of that generation.