FRIDAY 22 MAR 2019 10:58 AM


Companies must evolve to survive. For many companies, change is coming rapidly with the new generation of young adults, known as Generation Z. Now, businesses must rise to the challenge of understanding this generation both in terms of bringing them into the workforce and developing brand loyalty among them.

We Are Social, a global creative agency which has worked with clients such as Netflix, Google and Samsung, has launched ‘We Are Gen Z: Their Power and their Paradox.’ It is a new ethnographic study in which the agency immersed itself into the lives of 12 Gen Z individuals from various locational, familial and socioeconomic backgrounds across the UK, with the goal of observing how these people reacted to situations in their daily lives. The only criterion present was each subject had to possess a distinct passion for something, such as music, sports or fashion.

From We Are Social’s primary research, six overarching inferences were drawn, all of which indicate Gen Z is a more complex generation than it has been given credit for. First, Gen Z is quite comfortable with cognitive dissonance, or the process of holding two or more opposing views in the brain which a person agrees with. Second, Gen Z can easily dismiss unscrupulous information online, which is likely a product of growing up in the era of fake news.

Keeping with the trend of digital scepticism, Gen Z does not grant as much credibility to social media influencers (YouTube stars, Instagram models etc.) as it does to people with tangible skills. This desire for tangibility helps to explain another finding: while streaming services and electronic platforms are more ubiquitous than ever before, Gen Z wants to be surrounded by tangible objects to maintain a sense of grounding in a world dictated by fluid movement. This may be why sales of vinyl and physical books continue to increase, despite both mediums objectively being less fiscally sound and more technologically archaic.

The final two findings indicate Gen Z has a strong desire for unity but feels more divided than millennials in terms of economic class, education and race. Interestingly, though these factors have proven to be increasingly divisive, Gen Z also does not limit themselves by one or two overarching factors, instead preferring to be as unique as possible. This appears to tie back into Gen Z’s comfort with cognitive dissonance.

We Are Social’s findings may be able to aid brands as they seek to form solid connections with this new generation, of which there is still much to be learned.