Brand Best Practices for Generating Gen Z Love

A primer on connecting with the cohort known for its high standards and even higher hopes

As the first fully digital generation comes of age, their impact on the brand landscape is undeniable. With a mobile device at the ready and more than $360 in spending power, Gen Z uses their influence to make consumer brands better. “Despite the strong influence that price holds over the demographic, the findings show that Gen Z are hyper-informed and switched on when it comes to identifying which brands they consider inclusive and representative,” says Viviane Paxinos, GM at Unidays in RetailDive’s reporting on the Gen Z Fashion Report.

As they gather around their own “digital campfires” like Twitch and TikTok, Gen Z is remaking the rules of building brand buzz. With digital social platforms that seem custom-made for them, this generational cohort is using these channels to find their people – “to connect to a micro-community” and “to participate in a shared experience,” according to Harvard Business Review’s “Where Brands Are Reaching Gen Z.” Even more, centering their experiences – not only as customers but as people – is key building brand affinity.

In “3 Marketing Lessons From Gen-Z’s Favorite Brands,” Inc. advises that you don’t rely on selling products as the primary way to “capture this tech-savvy market.” Using insights e-commerce giant Amazon, sports leader Nike, and retail fashion brand Shein, Inc. says that while speed and efficiency clearly matter to this digital-first generation, social change means more. That’s why Nike consistently tops the best brands lists – for its out-front social stances. Finally, in brand marketing, skip the slick messaging and show who you really are.

“Gen Z wants authenticity, brands that speak – not mimic – their language, especially when it comes to marketing on social media,” Creatopy’s digital media manager Laura Trif tells Inc. “To avoid awkward interactions, brands need to partner with members of the Gen Z community, nano- and micro-influencers that are closer to their followers…” Prizing real relationships, Gen Z is more likely to engage with user-generated content over brand advertising. “What Gen-Z wants to see is relatable content, content that looks and feels spontaneous and raw.”

For more information on inspirational brands and what banking can learn from them, stay tuned to Believe in Banking as it looks at influencers in related industries and tracks the big trends in financial services. For more banking best practices, see Adrenaline’s Insights channel for brand-to-branch approaches for financial institutions. To learn more about growing your financial brand or to speak with one of our banking and credit union experts, contact us at