Growing up with technology at their disposal, people born in the early 21st century, also known as Gen Z or Zoomers, boast an estimated $360 billion in disposable income.

Although this demographic possesses hefty purchasing power, they also have distinct expectations they expect brands to adhere to if they want to capture their attention and loyalty.

In this Muse edition, we seek to outline some noteworthy changes in brand interaction and communications associated with this cause-oriented, tech-savvy market.

The prevalence of Cancel Culture

‘Cancel Culture’ refers to the mass withdrawal of support for brands deemed to have committed social or environmental missteps.

‘Cancelling’ often takes place on major social media platforms and is highly public. For example, if a brand’s environmental claims are found to be rooted in greenwashing practices, what can follow goes beyond criticism – it’s a widespread online call for boycotts from its young consumers.

What’s more, tech-savvy Gen Zs may go to great lengths to unearth evidence of repeat offences in a brand’s past to strengthen their calls.

The expectation of a purpose-driven brand

Unlike previous generations, young consumers today expect goods to do more than simply address their needs. They actively seek messages regarding corporate social commitments and monitor how committed brands are to walking the talk.

Listerine came under heavy criticism after launching its rainbow mouthwash in celebration of Pride month, which critics claim downgraded this important celebration of LBQTQ+ equality and rights for the sake of sales.

According to a study, around 63% of people between 16 and 19 are likely to purchase from brands whose social or environmental advocacy resonates with them. However, there is a thin line between social responsibility and the widely condemned “wokevertising”.

The craving for meaningful interactions

Zoomers seek brands that speak directly to them. Mass communication tactics which do not acknowledge the values and beliefs of this young target audience generally offer little ROI.

This is why it is important to highlight how a brand’s values align with these young citizens’ beliefs. A brand must attract their attention and secure engagement before hoping to yield conversions or loyalty.

Though challenging, these changes open up abundant opportunities for brands to interact with younger stakeholders.

Keep reading to learn more about communicating better and strengthening your relationship with Gen Z audiences.