Type the word “branding” into a Google search and you will get about 826,000,000 results. What is branding? A brand is the way a company, organization, or individual is perceived by those who experience it. More than simply a name, term, design, or symbol, a brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes inside of a person. Brands, then, live in the mind, and if done well, the heart. And that is why trust is so important. If consumers don’t trust your brand then as Robert DeNiro might say, “You are dead to me.” And the emerging relationship between trust and technology really matters to Gen-Z.
The rising importance of Gen-Z are important, (2.56 billion people globally and 82 million in USA by 2026), because they are a relatively young population segment and their brand loyalty/disloyalty will be a force for brands to deal with over the next 40 years. You have to wonder then, what is the impact of this population segment growing up inside the technology boom? Well, according to a research study done in 2020 from Morning Consult, more people trust that Amazon and Google will “do what is right” than the U.S. government. While doctors and the U.S. military were first and second, Amazon and Google took the third and fourth most trusted spots overall, with 39% and 38% of subjects, respectively, expressing faith in the tech giants. Why does Gen-Z have this high trust in technology companies?
Generation-Z is the first demographic group born after the internet was commercialized, making digital experiences a key part of their upbringing. Marketers need to be mindful of how Gen-Z's embracement of technology shapes their attitudes toward brands, advertising and shopping experiences. More than two-thirds (68%) of Gen-Z use the internet for entertainment, making digital media channels a key way to reach younger audiences. This generation behaves completely differently from the generations before. Hyper digitally intelligent, Gen-Z, and the brands they buy from, have a completely dynamic customer journey, whether the journey begins with an enticing Instagram ad or a pop-up event.
Here are several insights that your brand has to understand and be proactive about to engender trust with Gen-Z:
Favourable view of technology. Almost everything Gen-Z learns about a product or service is coming to them via their phone or laptop computer. It does not matter if you sell a can of beans or a hat, you better figure out a way to incorporate the use of technology into your brand, websites, apps and perhaps even your product.
Authenticity. Perhaps never has this word been more important to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With the use of the Internet and social media, everything a brand does is now exposed to public scrutiny. While good reviews and praise are hard earned and wanted by brands, even a small mis-step by your brand can be very risky. Gen-Z does not just like honesty and authenticity, they expect and demand it.
Planet friendly. It’s more important to Gen-Z not what you make but how you make it. Where you source your products, the labor utilized, the environment affected all play a large role in making up the brand’s perceived impact on the earth and its atmosphere. In addition to your product or service, Gen-Z wants to know, what is your company doing to benefit the planet, whether that’s people or planet?
Sustainability. Innovation and resourcefulness used to be nice to have every now and then. Now, you need to have a company mandate of sustainability in everything you do. By whatever means you make or acquire your products or services, you will need to do and communicate more that shows Gen-Z your brand understands and leans in to sustainable efforts.
Gen-Z is the first population to grow up in a digital world. Using an iPad at the age of 18 months, an iPhone when they were three and a laptop in elementary school, they don’t see technology at all. It’s ubiquitous to them, part of the fabric of their life without even realizing it. So, it you want this generation to buy from you, you have to get them to trust you. And in order to do that, you have to do more than just make great products or services. You have to win their minds and then their hearts.