Today’s brands are under enormous pressure not only to produce a great product, but to do so with an absolutely squeaky clean reputation, the definition of which is becoming increasingly more restrictive by the day.
In the past, brands were mainly focused on creating a product that consumers would love and want to buy more and recommend to others. They may still be able to function in that way with most of the consuming generations, but Gen Z is made up of a different kind of consumer than we’ve ever seen in the past.
Gen Z is growing up fully immersed in the internet and the culture it brings, along with social media platforms and all the trending societal issues. More than ever before, these consumers only want to buy from brands who they see as holding to their particular viewpoints on society, culture, and ethics.
The generation is the most educated, has access to the most information, and is the most hyper connected generation we’ve ever experienced. They tend to get their news from social media platforms rather than TV or even news websites. They are flooded with opinions and spend hours of every day receiving information from their peers, from brands, from politicians, and others via apps like TikTok and Snapchat.
These consumers only want to support brands that are producing and operating sustainably, that make sustainable products, that have a reputation of inclusivity regarding gender, race, and sexual orientation, that are affordable, and that have the same general principles that they see as important.
In the past, businesses may have been able to “prove” they meet with all of these standards by making statements or through ad campaigns, but today’s consumer has access to brand histories and an overload of company information through myriads of online outlets.
Brands have a more difficult time than ever to maintain a positive reputation, but they must do so in order to thrive in this culture of extreme scrutiny.