Gen Z is Here, But They’re Not What You Expected
First, Gen Z isn’t their real name. The Z thing is really just a placeholder. Social scientists and marketers have toyed with a bunch of annoying titles for Zs—things like iGens, Plurals, Globals and Founders. And that’s all right by Zs. A lack of concern for who we think they are is built into their DNA.
Zs are a generation with grit. They’re realists who expect to fail and know how to pick themselves up when they do. That’s why, when it comes to their name, I suggest you bet on GenEdge—because this generation’s got one.
Natural Born Swipers
For Gen Z, using four to five touch screens at once doesn’t feel like multitasking–that’s just the world they live in. The upside? They process information quickly. The downside? Wait, I forget. Oh yeah, distractibility.
When they’re not playing Minecraft, these DIYers visit YouTube to teach themselves how to bake, build, carve, and code. Best birthday party every? A robotics workshop. Pass me that circuit board, will you, and don’t trip on the 3D printer on your way out.
Growing up during a recession made Zs money-savvy. They worry about the economy, buy for quality, know how much things cost, and prefer to save rather than spend. If you’re coming up short on rent this month, try consulting a 12-year-old for a direct loan.
Gen X parents have allowed Z kids to take reasonable risks, like camping or building tree forts. Adventure playgrounds are showing up everywhere, mostly stocked with used tires, rope, saws, and scrap wood. After all, every kid should know how to throw a spear—in case of zombies.
5th Grade Foodies
Growing up with celebrity chefs and farmers’ markets made Zs a sophisticated, fast-casual crowd. Trending now: salads, veggie smoothies, Starbucks, and anything organic. Trending down: microwaves and McDonalds as a food group.
In the land of Z, college doesn’t lead to a job as much as to a skill set. In fact, seventy-two percent of Zs want to start their own business and not work for you at all. They expect to carve out their own paths and possess a “make-it-up-as-I-go” mentality.
Perfect is boring
Don’t expect Zs to overshare about their perfect lives on social sites. First, they’re mostly on leave-no-tracks sites like Whisper or Snapchat. Second, compared to older gens Zs are OK with admitting their weaknesses. Among Zs, dealing with a challenge like mental illness or addiction doesn’t make you flawed, it makes you interesting.
Amy Lynch is a Generations Expert, Idea Warrior and Killer Keynoter. She helps companies collaborate and innovate by galvanizing every generation. Find out more at http://www.GenerationalEdge.com