Within the age of affect, era Z is the main focus of manufacturers and positioning is necessary, analysis exhibits
- September 24, 2022
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A study by Edelman shows the impact of Generation Z, made up of young people aged between 18 and 26, on the positioning of brands and consumption habits of other generations
Is it possible to quantify the impact of younger generations on the way of doing business? A study of Edelman proves yes. The report “Edelman Trust Barometer 2022: The New Dynamics of Influence” released this Thursday (22), reveals that the generation Zmade up of people aged between 18 and 26, has the potential to dictate the direction of the new economy and the way brands communicate their goals.
One of the main findings of the research, as the name suggests, is related to the power of young people to influence the shopping habits of all generations. According to the report, which heard respondents from 14 countries (including Brazil), adolescents and young people significantly change what adults buy, how they inform themselves, position themselves, save and even invest their money.
For 59% of Brazilians, younger people also influence how they “support causes they care about”.
Conducted by Edelman since 2018, the study has since evaluated the impact of trust and relationship between brands and consumers in the process of buying a product or service. The main finding, at the time of the survey’s launch, was that purchases based on convictions, beliefs and affinities have become a growing pattern, especially among younger people – perhaps the fault of social networks.
Since then, the keynote of generational analysis has continued to appear in the annual report. Two years ago, driven by the pandemic and events with some social impact, the analysis gained a special focus to assess the influence of generation Z on brand positioning.
Brands must act
In response, Edelman identified the multiplication of factors considered essential in the positioning of brands, from the perspective of generation Z. Among them are racial justice, relationship with employees, climate change and economic inequality. According to the research, consumers are able to completely change their consumption behavior, depending on the performance of brands in each of these themes.
“More than conviction, proximity to matters of public interest are new verticals for consumer decisions”, says Marcília Ursini, executive vice president of consumer customers at Edelman Brasil.
According to Ursini, the activism of Generation Z can be explained by the fact that most of these young people come of age at a time of mitigating social transformations, while also gaining more and more access to content. “This is the generation that generates the most content on social networks and the most debate on issues related to the future of humanity and the environment. Therefore, brands understanding their power of influence is an evolution. This pressure for adequate responses to these and other topics is also reflected in all generations,” he says.
In this scenario, personal events tend to influence purchase decisions less than the effective response of brands, the study shows. In the Brazilian analysis, 62% of respondents said that their choices were directly impacted by brands’ reaction to rising inflation, the covid-19 pandemic (61%) and climate change (35%), for example. On the other hand, personal choices made only 19% of those surveyed change their purchasing decisions.
For Ursini, the time is for action. Brands must be aware of the influence caused by younger people to guide their strategies, even if not exclusively focused on them. “Even if a product or service is not targeted at Gen Z, brands have to understand that they need to be at the center of strategy and communication,” he says. “Brands need to be connected to the real world. That’s the central message, to do the doing rather than just the talk, and to show it clearly to those who can influence all shopper profiles”, he says.