GEN-Z VOICE: From URLs to IRL: Learning to Speak the Language of Gen-Z

Jul 19, 2017 2:06:48 PM

This week we're featuring a guest post from our resident expert on all things Gen-Z - Sara Chopra


Brands constantly attempt to connect with Gen-Z customers, the digitally native generation heavily sought-after by companies, initiatives, and organizations.  However, despite this desire and goal of attracting younger audiences, businesses continue to turn out tone-deaf campaigns and advertisements aimed at this under-21 demographic.

With over $44 billion in buying power, this customer base is a gold mine for brands and stores.   But it takes more than just products, mobile presence, and social media pages to catch up to the younger crowd.  Learn to speak the language of Gen-Z with these tips to maximize online-to-offline movement.

  • Turn your marketing into a lifestyle. Gen-Zs don’t just care about what you’re selling— we want to know who you are.  Instead of featuring image after image of your products on your website or social media account, include content that you feel expresses your store location’s culture, attitude, and overall vibe.  This can be anything from a photo of the beach, a stylized graphic saying, “But first, coffee,” or a post celebrating a local event or holiday.  You want your customers to relate to your business by connecting to its culture, not just its products.  If you have more than one store location, this is especially pertinent, as each store has a different culture based on its surrounding trends, events, and social currents.
  • Get to the point. If you choose to market by using designs and graphics instead of photos, know that with eight-second attention spans, Gen-Zs don’t have the patience for long ads.  Your 30-second videos and text-heavy Instagram posts are not very effective when it comes to the maximum-efficiency attitude of Gen-Zs.  Instead of letting your content be scrolled away by your teenage viewers’ fingers, design a video or graphic that’s succinct, but still eye-catching and informative. 
  • Don’t try too hard to fit in. As a Gen-Z, it’s much worse to hear the words “swag” and “fleek” than to hear nothing at all.  While it may seem like these phrases would more likely attract than repel younger customers, Gen-Zs believe that there is nothing worse than older adults trying to fit in with teens and failing completely.  Unless you are confident in your Gen-Z-language-speaking skills, it’s better to include demographic-unspecific language than outdated slang— using the latter shows potential customers that you don’t know how to market to them and don’t care enough to learn, which decreases their interest or, worse, turns them away.
  • Track and leverage local trends with Radius8. Get ahead of other stores and businesses by watching trends as they come.  This takes more than understanding that “squad” is out and “fam” is in— stay up-to-date with your customers’ culture by seeing what’s popular near you and what language, hashtags, and interests are trending in your area.  With Radius8, gain insight on what’s hot near your store location, from online searches to upcoming events.  Get started today by contacting us here.



Sara Chopra is a 16-year-old student at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey.  She works as a consultant with JÜV Consulting, providing companies and brands with teen insight.  Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Sara Chopra

Written by Sara Chopra

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