Authentically you: Why brands MUST strive for authentic consumer connections
With up to US$150 billion in spending power globally*, Generation Z is the new white whale for brands and marketers. And if there's one thing that brands can't afford to ignore in their pursuit of these consumers, it's the importance of authenticity.
Study after study has concluded that, more than any other generation, Generation Z places a high value on authenticity - whether that's within friendships, from leaders and celebrities, or when engaging with brands.
When 67 percent of Generation Z agree that "being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool",** it's clear that today's younger generation value authenticity in their friendships, whether they interact with their friends in person or online. They not only accommodate, but actively celebrate, people owning and being proud of who they are, whether in terms of gender identity, sexuality, body positivity or anything else.
Having grown up watching and interacting with flawed and accessible stars via social media, rather than observing 'perfect' Hollywood celebrities from afar,** Gen Z appreciates realness when connecting with celebrities, leaders and influencers. This isn't news to us: we've already explained why authenticity is the key to influencer marketing, and why you can often expect better engagement and ROI when working with smaller, more niche influencers rather than mega-stars like Kylie Jenner.
And brands aren't exempt from this push for authenticity. One study found that 82% of Generation Z trusts a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising.* Gen Z's heightened sense of the faked and the filtered means this kind of UGC (user-generated content) is hard for brands to fake - in fact, across the generations an average of 20% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they felt their content was inauthentic.^ For Gen Z, it's not enough to look authentic - you actually have to be authentic.
...We make that real
Clearly, authenticity is the key for brands when it comes to unlocking Generation Z. That’s why at N2O, our ultimate purpose is to ‘make that real’, whether that’s through in-person brand interactions or via online experiences. Talk to us today about bringing your brand to Generation Z in a meaningful, authentic way.
*WP Engine, ‘Generation Influence: Reaching Gen Z in the New Digital Paradigm’, 2020
**Irregular Labs, 2017
^Stackla, The Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age
Photo credit: Superdrug Presents by N2O