How to market the ‘generational change’, today’s conscious consumers
Young consumers are more committed to social good than any other demographic. And to connect with them authentically, brands can’t rely on performative activism, but must face the challenge of real change, writes Brent Farrell, COO of brand agency Soldier. Unlimited.
As marketers and communicators, we usually group buyers into generational segments for easy targeting. Gen X grew up with minimal adult supervision and pushed the boundaries of work-life balance. Millennials are seen as a pampered person, eating avocado toast and outperforming digitally. And now the conversation has evolved into Gen Z.
Generation Z encompasses individuals aged 6 to 21, born at the top of access to information with a deep focus on personal and mental health. But I believe Gen Z is not a demographic cohort at all, but a representation of a much larger psychographic shift in consumer expectations and direction that I call ‘Generation Shift’, or Generation C. .
Members of this generation have earned this nickname because they are conscious consumers who look far beyond the products. They pay attention to the social causes that businesses champion and, by default, change the way brands market their products to consumers.
Consumption habits of Generation C
Overall, consumer demand has shifted towards ethical brands with strong moral commitments outside of the products they sell. And today’s consumers choose with their wallets and their voices. A recent Corporate Knights Report identified that companies practicing true sustainability or corporate social responsibility had a lifespan over 40% longer than those that did not. Today more than ever, consumers believe that brands must play a role in positive change.
For Generation C, the behavior of brands and what they stand for are essential. Companies that genuinely prioritize people and goals are more likely to resonate deeply with those consumers, who want to see real commitment to causes. Equality, diversity, inclusion, regeneration processes and sustainability are just a few of the things they look for when deciding who to support.
How brands can align with today’s conscious consumers
It can be easy for brands to ‘participate’ in social movements through social media or one-off statements, but to be positively received by Generation C audiences, brands will need to be fully engaged in the social causes they are intended to address. line up. There are several brands that have set a precedent for success in this field.
Going far beyond performative action, Ben & Jerry’s authentically oriented its long-standing corporate activism towards supporting the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd. As other brands tried to catch up with the movement by posting black tiles on social media, the ice cream brand posted a powerful statement calling on Americans to “dismantle white supremacy” with concrete steps on how to join the effort. The brand understands that performative activism falls flat in the eyes of Generation C.
Meanwhile, brands like Patagonia have been involved in environmental causes. Patagonia consistently ranks among the top 100 companies on the Axios Harris Poll list for reputation. The outdoor company is widely regarded as a leader in the cause of environmental responsibility. It donates to companies to defend our air, our lands and our waters around the world and has even implemented a self-imposed “land tax”, which commits the brand to donate 1% of all its sales to environmental organizations. local.
Ultimately, the companies that will lead the charge after the pandemic are not just signing up for the “cause of the month” to attract consumers, but making concerted commitments to these important causes that foster a growing community. Millennials are more interested in what brands are going to do in terms of diversity and inclusion throughout the year than what brands are doing in Pride Month. They are not afraid to make their voices heard and are dedicated to doing justice to brands acting unethically. In today’s consumer world, it’s crucial for brands to go beyond the products they offer and truly consider whether their values are up to par.
Brent Farrell is COO at Unlimited soldier.