Home' The Channel Magazine : JUNE 2010 Contents 28 National Newsagent June 2010
How to connect to Gen Z
Meet Generation Z, otherwise known as The Naturals. By Emily Ross, Smart Company
In March 2010, social researcher Mark
McCrindle finished up a survey of 500
under-18 Australians. He asked participants
to keep a media diary mapping all their
entertainment activities for a week and
discovered that they were spending an
average of seven hours and six minutes
using entertainment media everyday -- that
means time spent plugged into the internet,
iPods and mobile phones, yes seven hours
and six minutes everyday.
The fascinating thing is, the under-18s
packed this entertainment into five hours
because they would often be using their
iPods and the internet simultaneously.
Give them any label you like, but
you better make sure your business
understands this powerful new generation
of consumers that has never known life
without the internet.
Here are nine top tips to help
Tip# 1: One medium at a time? That is so
The first commercial web browser became
available in 1994, a line in the sand that
some demographers and social researchers
are using as the start of a very new
Futurist and anthropologist Mike
Walsh likes to call this tribe The Naturals
(McCrindle refers to them as Generation Z).
"The things we have had to learn --
communications, downloading content,
online transactions, research, networking
-- is entirely natural to them," says Walsh.
"They were born into it."
However, Walsh insists The Naturals
are not a demographic, but rather the first
wave of an "entirely new way of thinking
about communications, content and
Dave King, founder of digital agency
The Royals, also sees The Naturals as a
psychographic state rather than a particular
age, that people born in the 1970s and
1980s can be just as "natural" about the way
they use technology.
Tip #2: As long as the electricity towers
are up, the cables are running and the
electricity is pumping, The Naturals will
Remember, connectivity is as natural as
breathing to The Naturals. The internet
is not a channel. It's part of the fabric of
everyday life. For The Naturals, the internet
is how people meet, feel and understand
"It's how they express themselves and
it's how they define themselves," says King.
Whereas for Generation X, Y and Baby
Boomers technology has, for the most part,
been about improving productivity, working
smarter, Naturals see technology as the
way they collaborate and connect. It's not
just about a productivity solution.
Tip #3: Meet the most sophisticated
Economically speaking, The Naturals
are likely to be far more sophisticated
than their predecessors. Their financial
education starts early thanks to the
internet. In kids' sites such as Club
Penguin, as a penguin avatar they play
games and earn virtual coins and in
Farmville life on a virtual farm includes
farm coins (current users: 82 million).
By the time The Naturals have real money
to spend and real transactions to make,
they have a more entrepreneurial mindset,
they are used to using the internet to hunt
for good prices and they are savvy about
how they spend and where they spend it.
Tip #4: Consumer and content decisions
are made almost exclusively through
When businesses are trying to attract
The Naturals' attention, the message has
to be relevant and entertaining enough for
them "to risk their own social standing by
forwarding it on to their own networks,"
Evian has the title of most-watched
online advertisement with almost 21 million
viewers lapping up the babies on roller-
skates scenario (it is a total hoot) mixed in
with some Evian slogans.
Because of the plethora of information
on the internet, Naturals base a lot of their
consumer decisions on peer group opinions.
"Rather than taking an analytical approach
to information they push it to the side and go
through friends," says McCrindle.
Tip #5: You can keep your official
website, I'll make my own content thanks
McCrindle has observed a major shift in
how companies are doing market research
with Generation Z. Rather than creating a
product or service for them and then asking
for feedback, the products and services
are being developed in collaboration with
"It's about co-creation," he says.
Naturals like to create their own online
worlds, not be force-fed one by a third party.
"They are certainly not going to official
sites," says McCrindle.
Tip #6: There are no ad breaks.
You can't manage advertising,
communication or branding in the
digital realm as you do in a paid-media
scenario. According to King, an important
consideration is why your audience is there
(at the site) and what they are doing. "Hint:
they're not watching your ads in between
the station's programming," he says.
The TAC had an unusual way of getting
around the fact that The Naturals are hard
to capture through advertising in traditional
broadcast channels that include free-to-air
TV, newspapers and radio. The TAC is still
using its powerful ads, but through a new
medium, a network of television screens at
selected petrol stations called PumpTV in
partnership with Channel 7 and Yahoo 7.
This Easter it used PumpTV to get the
message out about safe driving over the
break. PumpTV estimates that in a month,
its screens reach 12 million consumers.
GrabAds is another channel to grab
Naturals' attention through 'on-cup
Links Archive May 2010 July 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page