Sara’s right: we probably should get it together. I have two from Generation Z myself. One’s a nine-year-old, and the other’s three. Two girls. The nine-year-old loves Chick Fil A waffle fries because they look like hash tags, and the three-year-old plays a mean game of Temple Run.
Both of these little Z’ers are already in tune with digital media, and they both recently reminded me of a few things that are easy to take for granted as we practice digital marketing.
Good design matters
One morning as we sat in the car line at her school, the nine-year-old got quiet, which is rare. I saw that she was staring at something, and I asked her what it was. She pointed to two political campaign signs by the road. One sign was dark blue with white lettering and no graphics, and the other was a white sign with light green lettering and an outline of an apple. I asked her which candidate would she vote for, and she immediately said the one with the lighter-colored sign.
“He’s probably nicer because his letters are lighter and easier to read”, she said. She expounded that because he chose an apple on his sign, he’s probably healthier. As it turned out, she was right: the person she would’ve voted for won the election. And while his win was likely due to more than his campaign sign’s stellar design, don’t underestimate the visceral power of the visual. We are living in an unprecedentedly image-driven era, and the average Web user sees hundreds, if not thousands, of visuals each day. It’s important, then, that you take a thoughtful approach to the art or images you choose to represent your brand.
Why you yellin’?
As we made our trek in the car line another morning (carline, for non-parents, is the ideal venue for great debate and parent-child connection), my nine-year-old got out of the car and started walking down the sidewalk to go into school. Because the cars were bumper-to-bumper in line, I was still parked where she got out of the car. My three year old and I could see her making her way up the sidewalk when I was able to slowly drive along, and when were lined up beside her, the three-year-old rolled down the window and yelled to her sister, in front of dozens of kids and teachers, “Have a nice day, big sister! You’re the best big sister ever!”
Her purpose? Sharing the love. Her outcome? Pure embarrassment for her sister. Sometimes we miss the mark in communication (social media snafus, anyone?) The best way to ensure your message hits its intended mark is to know the purpose of the communication before you broadcast, share or interact.
They know about Snapchat
One day I asked my nine year old what social media is.
“Studying, like, what people do?” she said.
“Kind of. You’re thinking of social studies, and ‘social’ refers to people,” I said. “Social media is how people communicate.”
“Oh yeah,” she said, “like texting, emailing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.”
She doesn’t have a Snapchat account. But she knows about it, and I didn’t even know that. It’s no surprise, then, that she and the two billion other members of Generation Z tend to prefer social media channels that value their privacy. The good news is that Z’ers are educated, industrious and collaborative so they won’t share anything with friends that they wouldn’t share with parents in a carline. Right?
There’s always hope. But, as we look to market to them in the future, we need to get it together. How do you think marketing will shift for Generation Z?
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Stacy Dyer – Content Strategist