Gen-Z and Digital Media: Generational Adaptations to Digital Media


Ambiguity is abolished, culture surrounds us, and marketing is a part of who we are. Amid the recent social unrest, society is on the verge of re-modeling, shifting behavior, and changing core values and goals.

Brands and their marketing efforts play a crucial role in creating change through opportunity and influence. We discuss the discovery of ourselves, media, social culture, and the process of Gen-Z redefining identity. We must take this step and challenge ourselves to a new and effective marketing model. We must also be conscious of an ever-changing society as social media and the digital atmosphere become more prominent.


Gen-Z and Digital Media: Generational Adaptations to Digital Media


Statistics

Born between 1997 and 2015, Gen-Z is the first generation to grow up with complete access to the internet and social media. They thrive in a digital environment and have complete access to digital platforms and people spanning across the world, and with access to such platforms comes power and influence.

According to a report by Dazed Media, 56% of people globally say that Instagram has the biggest influence on their opinions. While word-of-mouth is still a crucial marketing technique, direct-to-audience platforms such as Instagram and TikTok make it possible for brands to reach a wider audience. With consideration to recent trends, new media, cross-culture, and fluid identity, businesses must reflect on “what was” and “what’s next.”

instagram

An example of “what’s next” is social commerce. It has become an extremely convenient and notable way to shop. People are able to directly shop for products that grasp their attention through social media and digital platforms, so it is important that brands listen to their audience and maintain social integrity. Dazed Media mentions that 85% of people say they’d stop buying from a brand if they did something unethical, and 70% of people believe a brand with a point of view makes them more influential. Notably, online shopping and shopping through social platforms have become the preferred way of shopping for the younger generations.

Media – Everything & Nothing

As the internet continues to transform, so do our minds and behaviors. COVID-19 has amplified social media trends and also placed an emphasis on content becoming marketing’s most valuable asset. Forbes mentions that “the majority (97%) of Gen-Z consumers say they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration; 65% say they use social media to find entertaining content; and 61% of them are specifically interested in watching more video content.”

Users are now capable of streaming through direct-to-audience platforms, allowing the audience to become the producer while simultaneously allowing everyone to become influencers via social media. This statement considers more competition and an opportunity for people to utilize word-of-mouth more effectively. With TikTok as the newest and most popular platform, we are witnessing a new type of carefully curated influence.

@threepupperteers

Chef Tommy back in the kitchen 🐶 🧁 #dogsoftiktok #fyp #baking

♬ I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

As we consume a high volume of social media content, we face negative effects on our mental health and wellbeing. Advertising nowadays is almost impossible to miss, and we’re constantly consuming ads that determine our purchase behavior. Being easily persuaded to buy products has created a vicious cycle that has inevitably become instilled in us. Brands need to detect healthier ways to connect with their audience outside of purchasing and rather provide more value.

Culture – Connected

Culture is what brands strive to prioritize. It’s what unites us and keeps us grounded. Today, many brands are taking the stance to focus heavily on cultural strategy, the ultimate goal behind the marketing efforts, and companies are starting to realize that instead of just being a part of the cultural conversation, you must effectively act on it.

The real questions being asked are “What is essential in our lives?” and “What truly adds value?”. Brands are realizing that they’re a source of inspiration that others look up to and inspiration introduces us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. It is crucial for brands to distinguish their customers’ and their own aspirational identities. Fast Company mentions that “companies that transform themselves into platforms for realizing their customers’ aspirations will transcend single transactions.” Brand inspiration and customer aspirations are what will ultimately drive the traffic and transactions.

A display of company culture

Suggesting that brands make a greater effort to hold workshops that provide value to their audience will increase the brands’ efforts to create a deeper connection with their community. Ultimately, allowing culture to become an important effort in brand involvement will allow for impacts in relevancy and long-term commitment.

At the end of the day, we are on the verge of crucial restructuring, endless innovation, and constant change. The more that we understand that we play a role in making our audience happy, the more hopeful our future will be. Let’s begin this new chapter to reevaluate and rethink the way we process content and become more conscious as humans.


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Erin Heller is from Los Angeles, California and has a passion for marketing, writing, social media and creative direction. She has a bachelor’s degree in Arts Media and Entertainment from University of Arizona and works for The GCMG Agency.
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