Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Gen-Zers Aren’t Distracted: How the Youngest Generation’s Hyperactivity Manifests into Societal Awareness and Consumer Activism

One stereotypical feature of the youngest generation is that they are often more concerned with the contents of their phones and too preoccupied to interact with the real world. But as a group that has learned about the problems of their world, experienced heart-breaking events virtually together, and have learned some of the harsh truths that the education system could never reveal to them, this assumption seems like an overcritical myth. Rather, the devices they carry and the content they absorb is a call to not only see the world for what it is but to fight for the future that they want. 

In this fight for the world filled with equality, justice, and untethered possibilities, Gen-Zers seek allyship among one another — mostly thanks to social media and the whole other level of connection it has provided — as well as with the establishments around them. This became most evident in the summer of 2020, when eyes were opened to the systemic racism’s impact on once beloved companies. 

According to a Pew Research study, 46% of Hispanic and 45% of Black social media users last summer were most likely to find information about protests and rallies in their area.

The youngest generation used their platforms to speak against insensitive statements of CEOs, brand campaigns, and privileged political stances. Their seemingly distracting ability to multitask is not just for creating dances or laughing at memes; it’s power is felt most when holding corporations and public figures accountable, creating societal awareness, and righting wrongs of those that have come before them. 

As more issues require the motivation and dedication of Gen-Z, there is less digital space for brands that don’t fit the journey to a better world. On the other hand, they see through one-off social posts that discuss current affairs because in a society where one tragedy feels too connected to others, no one historical event is ever a one-off occurrence. So what does the youngest generation look for in brands? How do they want to interact with the companies that are supposed to support them in a variety of ways? 

87% of Gen-Zers say they expect more from brands than just the products they offer, from a Resonate study.

Consumers of this generation will most likely be the driving force out of the COVID-induced economic dip; however, their financial services are no longer separated from their activist pursuits. Rather than being supporters of the movements many Gen-Zers are fronting, companies need to evaluate their own moral stances on these problems and become proper allies in these movements. Posts with #BLM have relatively less weight than the actions brands will take. 

Some of the more notable actions by brands that Gen-Z has favored has come from Ben & Jerry’s. Known for its elaborate ice cream flavors, the Vermont-based company has put out flavors that support different causes going on. Because of the founders’ activist backgrounds, most young people know Ben & Jerry’s as the “woke” ice cream vendor. It’s recent flavor, “Justice Remixed” brings attention to criminal justice reform and donating proceeds to the movement. 

The people running this company are unafraid of opposition or bias against their company values. Making them successful in fusing product with purpose. Instead of trying to squeeze into the morals system of Gen-Z, companies should find the genuine perspectives they possess and use their enlightenment to inform the way they engage with the young change makers.