generation Z: born to be wired

Two-year-old Addison is slowly building her verbal vocabulary, but she is already fluent with the smartphones in her life. At 14 months, she was given a broken iPhone and quickly learned how to make it play her favorite music and operate her favorite app, which repeats anything she says to it in that magical language only toddlers understand.

New communications – and brand engagement – come naturally to Generation Z. Technology has shaped their perceptions, and marketers need to adjust messaging accordingly to appeal to Generation Z’s self-directed brand affiliation.

esd and Z

Kids are engulfed in information – when esd communicates with Z, we want to make sure our message gets noticed, and understood. When esd approaches this challenge, we make sure:

  • the language is accessible: with Social Health & Research Council’s Bienestar nutrition programs, we are involved with a bilingual K-8 curriculum based on cultural environments, featuring appropriate vocabularies and concepts for different ages, grade levels and cultural backgrounds
  • the art is bright and colorful: nearly everything we do that addresses kids or the people who love them is dressed in bold primary colors; edgy, hand-crafted lines; with positive, emotive images – see Club40.org for an example
  • the web applications are as engaging as a computer game: more than 1,000 kids log on to San Antonio Sports’ Valero GoKids Challenge to use highly interactive web-based tools to learn and track exercise routines in a fun, exciting experience
  • primary messages are repeated in a variety of forms and approaches

reaching Z by speaking their language

A 2005 University of Michigan article states that small children have a $50 BILLION annual influence over their parent’s spending. Growing up connected to social networks, Generation Z is surfing at light speed. Sparzoo says there will be a push in marketing to:

  • create more captivating campaigns, focus on entertainment: 60% of Gen Z want to consume relevant, interesting advertisements – esd is currently producing a video for the Health Collaborative that has kids interacting in very natural, age-appropriate situations that just happen to involve talking food – a rejected pizza and a suave carrot
  • embed self-publishing tools into marketing campaigns: make a connection, then add a brand message – several years B.F. (before Facebook), esd established “Talk It Up,” a social forum where teens could post their attitudes, feelings and problems and receive peer support and understanding
  • let Gen Z take control of the brand by fusing entertainment with user-generated content – not only do you post your media in a social setting to invite consumer comment, but invite the user to create their own video or graphic descriptions of their brand experience

engaging their favorite brands

Generation Z lives in a world we would not have recognized 10 years ago – highly connected, communicating through text as well as voice and passive viewing. They are wired, and use their connections to seek, relate and shop – to engage with their favorite brands and products.

“They’re a bevy of group-oriented individuals, a tough crowd of skeptical idealists. They’re smarter than us, and they’re demanding we take them seriously as future consumers,” Angela Cross-Bystrom wrote on iMediaConnection.

talk, text, chat, skype with the kids

Our kids will grow up to think differently than we do, and play in a digital universe that will look vaguely familiar, but supersede our wildest ideas. As esd builds digital brand platforms for our clients reaching out to the wifi generation, we’ll communicate with Addison and her peers in a magical language they can understand.

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