Generation Z makes up of people born between 1997 and 2015. This is a generation with the largest spending power, and where everyone has grown up in a world surrounded by digital devices. When information is easily accessible, this generation has learned to filter out information that does not matter to them.

Showcase a brand’s values through design, and make it stick

Most Gen Z have short attention spans.

According to a study done, each advertisement has only 8 seconds to capture Gen Z’s attention. In order to catch their attention, it is essential to use bright colours. Be diverse and unafraid to experiment.  Bold, neon colours could catch their eye due to its jarring appearance that would set it apart from other posts.

Messages should also appear friendly and personal, as if they were coming from a close friend. Casual, everyday language or even slang might catch their attention as well. Formal sounding language would only be brushed aside by them.

In terms of content, within the short 8 second span when your audience is looking at your post or advertisement, the language the message is being broadcasted has to be done in a direct and straightforward way; roundabout language will only make your brand seem fake and unappealing. Social media is a place full of other brands trying to capture the attention of its consumers, hence, it is very easy to just glance past a brand’s post if it isn’t appealing to them.

Due to their short attention span,it is also essential to make sure your content is easy to share and broadcast – this generation expects almost instant gratification. Anything that takes longer to load would only discourage them from finding out about your brand even further. After all, swiping to the next page takes little to no effort.

One thing that would boost your brand’s reputation would be if it were socially responsible. This is a generation full of diverse, open minded people who are not afraid to criticise people who are not socially aware. Discrimination is frowned upon and social inclusiveness is important.

For example, brands should start looking into making their products eco-friendly or support movements like Black Lives Matter in order to gain recognition across social media. Aside from that, the effort needed to cross-check a brand’s reputation is minimal.

 According to a study done by the National Retail Federation, 55% of Gen Z choose brands that are eco-friendly or socially responsible, while according to McKinsey & Company, 79% of Gen Z will stop buying from brands and spread the word about campaigns regarded as racist. Thus, brands need to be careful of what they broadcast, more than ever before. Compared to other generations, Gen Z is arguably the most vocal and opinionated one due to social media exposure.

All in all, in order to catch their attention in one post, it has to be within 8 seconds. For that to happen, jarring and loud colours should be able to make them look twice, while the message should be short and straightforward. As for the brand’s reputation, putting all your focus on profits is not a good look either.


Explorative and interactive design: animations, video content, GIFs, memes

One obvious thing that didn’t use to exist in previous generations are memes.

Gen Z’s humour focuses on absurdism, a type of humour wildly different from the millennials’ witty jokes. Perhaps in order to catch their attention, brands need to adapt their marketing style from a serious one to something they interact with everyday.

However, brands must not go overboard and appear to be trying too hard lest they will be viewed as something cringey, causing the brand to be viewed as a laughing-stock.

Additionally, interactive content also seems to be on the rise. Gen Zs value content which can be interacted with, and appreciate two-way communication. 96% of people who start Buzzfeed quizzes actually complete them.

Video content is also incredibly important to Gen Z. A Pew study conducted in 2018 revealed that 85% of teens use YouTube, while a Google study stated that 7 in 10 Gen Zers feel more connected to creators while watching videos.

This means that videos could have even better reach than just plain pictures, and investing in creating videos about your brand could potentially yield better results. TikTok and Instagram Reels, a type of content which involves short videos, typically below 30 seconds are also increasing in popularity. This type of short, snackable content should also be easy to digest in order to appeal to this generation.

In conclusion, designing for Generation Z involves understanding their mindset and adapting to their preferences. After all, 40% of all consumers in 2020 are part of Gen Z. If brands do not take note of these trends, they need to be prepared to be disregarded and put aside just with a swipe of a finger.

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