Often, what Gen Z surfaces today is a great leading edge indicator of what may be mainstream tomorrow. And what do we know about Gen Z today?
The Struggle is Real
A decade or so ago, society told the parents of Gen Zs it was imperative to teach their children “grit,” as it was the most significant predictor of success. But somewhere along the way, grit got twisted into a focus on achievement -- sometimes at all costs, which has caused a rise in perfectionism and an unhealthy fear of failure among Gen Z.
Then the pandemic happened, and Gen Z (along with the rest of the world) was forced to take a step back and examine what really matters. Gen Z is embracing that life is sometimes messy and unorganized and they’re going to make mistakes. They will lean into the process of actually living life in the moment rather than living for its product.
In 2023, it will be more of an imperative for businesses to demonstrate that they too are embracing the “work in progress” mindset by sharing their journey of trying new things and learning from their mistakes. Brands should say goodbye to perfectly curated content and embrace imperfections, giving Gen Z a safe space to express their creativity and listen to their needs and wants.
Gen Z Doubles Down on Political Power
Gen Z’s activism is a hallmark of the generation. They’ve been standing up for themselves and others from a very young age, using their voice to challenge social, environmental, economic and political issues. Now they’re taking the next step into political activism, since their future quite literally depends on it. 2023 will be the year that Gen Z builds on its momentum by building the society they want to live in. And their expectations of businesses and organizations to fall in line will only grow.
Gen Z has long believed that the brands they choose to support should be reflective of their own values -- and that means politics, too. Brands are a statement for Gen Z and an extension of themselves and the world in which they want to live. Ignore this fact at your peril.
The Great Humbling of Genius Billionaires
As we’ve all watched billionaires lay off thousands of dedicated workers, Gen Zs are calling out the inequality of it all, demanding a more level playing field between employer and employee. Gen Z is rejecting the “rockstar status” of billionaires and the “let them eat cake” mindset that simply doesn’t align with their own values.
Gen Z is more skeptical (and critical) of people, institutions and the world around them. For them, 2023 will have a focus on transparency, equality and values. And they will demand that brands do the same.