Love them, hate them, you simply can’t ignore generation Z. Born between 1997 and 2012, the next generation of purchasers are more demographically diverse than ever before and distrustful of conventional advertising—studies have found that 66% have ad blockers installed. Throw in an unprecedented global crisis amidst the changing topography of beauty consumers, and even established brands may find that they don’t speak the native tongue. This prompts the million-dollar question: how do you sell to someone who hates being sold to?
“The pandemic has struck gen Z at a particularly difficult and formative point in their development, severely disrupting their education and career opportunities and changing their buying habits,” notes Clare Varga, head of beauty at market intelligence firm, WGSN. She further adds, “Gen Z are, however, an extremely resilient and resourceful cohort as they remain committed to their driving principles and are doubling down on issues that matter, including authenticity, inclusivity and social justice.” The notion is seconded by Olamide Olowe, the gen Z founder of Topicals, a beauty brand that she started from her apartment and sold out within days. She believes that an unattainable standard of beauty has been perpetuated by the industry, and the next generation is now looking to reclaim the narrative. For brands looking to capture the notoriously elusive attention of the new legion of beauty consumers, here’s an expert-approved marketing playbook to follow.
Inclusivity is in
Varga declares, “Radical inclusivity is central to this cohort.” She believes that gen Z sees themselves as the standard-bearers for acceptance and increasingly expect brands to take a proactive stance on representation and inclusivity. Olowe echoes the sentiment, “Gen Z wants to buy from brands that are rewriting cultural scripts to make them more inclusive. They are now searching for brands with values that match their own and aren’t afraid to speak up for what they believe in.” Both experts concede that brands looking to speak the language of the new generation will need to extend their efforts beyond mere lip service. “Beauty brands need to go further than the window dressing of diverse imagery and extended shades in facial cosmetics and truly embed diversity in product development teams and culture,” adds Varga.
Axe the A-list associations
There was a time when having the newest shiny penny in showbiz flutter her tresses or bat her eyelashes in front of the camera helped brands increase their market share. However, the new generation remains increasingly cynical of celebrity collaborations and endorsements. Instead, they look to their …….