This is part of a two-part series with Guest Blogger Anya Thakur and her vision on how brands, retailers and corporations can better connect with Generation Z.
Now more than ever, the Gen-Z cohort is shining a light on empowerment and representation and brands are noticing that they need to take into account these factors when speaking to and ultimately earning dollars from the Gen-Z shopper. 2018 has been a watershed for diversity and with Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, we are witnessing a movement. From Vogue Australia's issue on sustainable fashion guest-edited by Emma Watson to CR Fashion Book's spotlight of 21st Century Women on my Times Up sister and Crazy Rich Asians actress Gemma Chan, this generation is seeking media and products that have a positive, meaningful impact.
Brands looking to connect with Gen-Z, must connect with what is important to these shoppers: influencers, connection, sustainability, and impact. In this post, you’ll find examples of how influencers and connection are leveraged by forward-looking brands to connect with Gen-Z. In my next post, I’ll review Sustainability and impact.
More than any other cohort Gen-Z are influenced by what their friends, celebrities, and social media personalities buy and support. Brands must have strategies that incorporate influencers and celebrities authentically.
Remember that celebrities want to attach themselves to meaningful projects and brands that they share a vision with. If you can attract these influencers with your brands vision authentically, your customers will connect with you authentically.
Brands should look to technology companies who have done a tremendous job in executing these strategies:
- Bumble partnered with Holberton School and Priyanka Chopra recently as a tech investor to expand gender diversity in the tech space and make a social impact for the greater good
- YouTube India used its platform to support International Day of the Girl Child, connecting with influencers and change makers. As a UN Women advocate I was tapped to share my perspective to champion women, girls and global empowerment, and not only helped to further my mission, but connected with an audience passionate about enacting change and making a difference forging and authentic connection between Youtube, influencers like myself and viewers.
Gen-Z values authentic connections and meaningful relationships. As a result, brands should seek these authentic connections to make a deep impact on their customers.
The ideas of Gen-Z and the ideas and talents we are using to organize together and transform our world are reflected in the indelible impact we are having.
- Emma Watson recently endorsed Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21 featured change-makers including Amika George, who works to end poverty, and Lisa Ranran Hu, a self-taught filmmaker, and connected authentically with their message
- Model Kenya Kinski-Jones shared the importance of voting and exercising a vital right on issues such as the environment, education and housing with "I am a voter"
In conclusion, Gen-Z is engaging with brand and shopping in different ways than ever before. The value of connection and influencers in their decision to buy is critical to brand and retail success. In my next post, we’ll review how sustainability and impact play into Gen-Z behavior and what brands can do to maximize their success in those areas.
About the Author
Anya Thakur is a teen celebrity journalist in the Los Angeles Times, Women’s Voices Editor for Medium, Arts & Entertainment Editor for Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, and Arts & Entertainment journalist for LinkedIn. She has profiled a host of luminaries and artists, activists and actors from Malala Yousafzai to Emma Watson and Oprah Winfrey.
She works closely with organizations including the United Nations, UN Women, We Movement and MetoWe, and the Jane Goodall Foundation to build a better future and empower girls globally as the founder of ShePower.
And as a new advocate for UN Women and the first Indian teen to launch a UN Women campaign, she is honored to join the ranks of luminaries like Emma Watson and Angelina Jolie, known for both their body of work and their activism, and continue to create a lasting legacy for this generation.
Through championing women’s voices, Asian American representation and global change as among the nation’s youngest to be involved with the UN on a global level and as a UN Women advocate, she has found her own voice and aspires to help every potential leader find their own and be a catalyst for change.