Among the most influential generations yet, we’ve already seen a lifetime of social and cultural turning points that have, in turn, influenced how we navigate the physical and digital worlds around us. As a Gen Z in Southeast Asia (SEA), this brings with it a range of factors to consider: we may collectively expect integrity and action but by no means does this call for us to all think alike. Despite differing priorities, there are some simple things you can focus on if you want me as not only your purchaser, but advocate too.
Clear, accessible information
Being raised with instant information just a click away, we know how to access intel online with ease. In fact, our latest Gen Z Incubator Report on purpose and responsibility in SEA found that 50% of recipients said they would research a brand’s values before buying. For brands wanting to vibe with Gen Zs, we need to get your vibe. Communicating with us is best done directly, and with honesty. Once we know your values vibe with ours, we can meet you where you are.
But don’t risk losing us through a jumble of data though – save us the hassle and have what you stand for readily available and easily understandable. Don’t hide behind technical jargon; we see right through you and who knows, maybe even call you out if something doesn’t sit right with what we believe in.
Despite what you may have heard, we aren’t all relentlessly on the hunt to cancel companies for no reason. If you’ve messed up, just own up (it’s not that hard!). Show us how you will do better, and that means authentic dedication to putting in the work; to take real action to correct mistakes and apologize quickly when necessary.
Accountability isn’t just reactive—it’s proactive too. It’s important for brands to define their roles in culture. While what we care about differs from person to person, we largely have high expectations when it comes to purpose and accountability within the community. In our report, 54% of respondents agreed that brands must take a stance on current social issues, with 37% stating that they will stop supporting those that remain silent.
A new kind of relationship
Essentially, I see your brand as an extension of me. Companies are increasingly focused on building relationships with consumers—we know that already. But what’s fresh (and good to know) is that we crave connection and seek meaning from the brands we purchase, and want to know the ‘human’ behind it.
What results is a form of para-social relationship, which can be understood as an imagined relationship between an audience and entity, or persona, they don’t truly know. This relationship can be developed through any number of PR, digital or marketing activities—powerful catalysts that propel purchasing decisions beyond solely transaction and function.
Gordon Chua is a consultant at Devries Global Singapore.