Gen Z: Wary Of Business, But Eager To See Values In Action

Email marketers hoping to stir up Gen Z should sober up instead.

Gen Z, by a margin of five to one, does not trust business to act in the best interests of society, according to "The Reckoning: Brand Relevance, Respect and the Rise of a New Generation," a study by BBMG. 

Yet Gen Z-ers want brands to harness their power and speak out on issues because, as 47% say, it’s the right thing to do. 

Which brands does Gen Z respect? Firms like Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has made it harder to buy guns in the wake of the Parkland high school shooting, and Ben & Jerry’s, which has been out front on social justice,  immigration and prison reform in partnership with Color of Change and Black Lives Matter. Also, they like Nike for its “Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. 

In general, 37% trust large companies where employees feel they have a positive impact (compared with 28% of everyone else). And 30% are drawn to firms that speak out on society’s pressing issues (versus 23% of all others).



However, nearly one in four can’t name a single purposeful brand.

Gen Z is more likely than other generations, by a margin of 28% to 11%, to care about equality, whether social, racial or related to women’s rights or LBGBTQ rights.

And 32% of Gen-Zers hope to make a difference by doing meaningful work in their careers, versus 17% of those in all other age groups 

Members of Gen Z were born in 1995 or later. They range in age from high school students to young adults, and are popularly called the first generation of digital natives.

As political parties well know, many are now of voting age. 

Clearly, companies also have to be careful about how they market to this group. This younger cohort is quick to spot insincerity, and it will not tolerate intrusive marketing tactics and one-size-fits-all email blasts. 

BBMG urges brands to: 

  • Be brave 
  • Hold space
  • Welcome all
  • Fuel passion
  • Own It

BBMG and GlobeScan surveyed 2,058 US consumers. 

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