How to reach “millennials on steroids,” according to Business Insider – young adults born between 1996 and 2010 – is the conversation marketers around the world are having right now. Millennials, the eldest of which are now well into their thirties, are moving aside in the business world to make room for their younger counterparts.

Millennials grew up with the Internet, but for most, social media, text messaging, and always-on connectivity is a relatively new phenomenon. Gen Z’s members were steeped in these always-on technologies from an extremely early age. The youngest were born a full six years after Facebook’s initial launch. No Z-er was born before text messaging, and it’s conceivable that members of this cohort held an iPhone before they could read.

This ever-forward march of technological progress has created a community of hyper-connected individuals fluent in “meme culture,” armed with the knowledge and resources that the Internet brings to bear. While millennials still needed to sit down in libraries with a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica to complete reports in school, answers for Gen Z have always been available through Google.

This divergence in upbringing is apparent in the purchasing behavior of the Gen Z crowd. The average Gen Z multitasks across a minimum of five screens daily, from cell phones to smart televisions to computers. The connected world is not a tool that they’ve adopted, it is the world into which they were born. They spend, on average, 41% of their time outside of school on mobile devices or computers, compared to 22% of millennials at a similar age.

Gen Z members are less brand loyal, prefer startups and independents to Fortune 500 companies, and spend more money on food and drinks than any other generation in the past. 

Connecting with Gen Z

  1. Understand and embrace their diversity – uniqueness and being proud of their individuality is core to their beliefs.
  2. Talk in images – memes, symbols, emojis, pictures, and videos.
  3. Communicate with “snackable content” – short bursts of information, more frequently.
  4. Tell your brand’s story across multiple screens or live streams.
  5. Don’t talk down to them. The average Gen Z’er knows more about global politics than a baby boomer that lived through the Cold War. Despite older generations having seen more years, the younger generation sees life move faster and has far greater access to education.
  6. Assume they have opinions, and allow them a space to be vocal. Don’t censor.
  7. Tap into their entrepreneurial spirit – Gen Z is industrious and wants to make things.
  8. Be humble and real; focus on sustainability, direct-to-consumer engagement. Avoid stuffiness.
  9. Be something worth fighting for – have a social component to your project.
  10. Optimize your search results. They do their research

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