October 19, 2023
Generation Z emerges as the discerning arbiter of authenticity in a world inundated with superficial charm and empty promises. Dubbed the “Post-Truth” generation, they wield a powerful lens, cutting through the noise of flashy advertisements and catchy jingles. For them, trust is not a mere transaction but a testament to substance, authenticity, and unwavering integrity. In the realm of Gen Z, brands are not just labels; they are living, breathing entities expected to embody a deeper belief consistently. These digital natives demand more than rhetoric; they seek genuine, meaningful connections that resonate at the core of what a brand stands for. Explore with us as we delve into the no-nonsense approach of Generation Z, understanding how they build trust with brands and, just as swiftly, break it when the foundation proves fragile. Welcome to the era where authenticity is not a choice—it’s the currency of genuine connection.
CUT THE FLUFF, AND EMBRACE THE FACTS: GEN Z AND THE SAY-DO GAP
Gen Z doesn’t settle for half-truths or empty promises. For them, authenticity isn’t an option; it’s the only currency that matters. Research from Jack Morton backs it up: 62.5% of consumers demand brands to walk the talk. Yet, in the real world, over 50% of us are left disappointed; brands fail to live up to their hype. At BLVR®, we call this chasm the Say-Do Gap™—the stark contrast between what a brand believes and how it behaves.
For Generation Z, trust is a delicate thread. The Say-Do Gap isn’t just a fancy term; it’s a reality check that brands can’t afford to ignore in the eyes of this no-nonsense generation.
Why? Because, for Gen Z, the Say-Do Gap is the fine line between a loyal customer and one ready to jump ship. These consumers don’t give second chances, especially when a brand fails to live up to its lofty promises.
Studies speak loud and clear: nearly half of the consumers agreed that when a brand falls short of the image it projects through marketing, “It makes me feel I can’t trust this brand and won’t buy it anymore.” Gen Z is fearless in cutting ties with brands that don’t walk their talk. In a world where authenticity is the currency, actions speak louder than words, and trust is a prized possession, brands must work tirelessly to earn and protect.
FINDING YOUR CONNECTION CURRENCY
As a brand owner, you need to remember this – when it comes to Gen Z, there’s no room for fluff or deception. Here’s how you can connect with this generation’s no-nonsense approach.
- Belief & Behavior
Gen Z doesn’t fall for eloquent speeches or marketing jargon. They demand tangible actions that reflect a brand’s promises. Case in point: Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company. They believe that Mother Nature is their biggest shareholder. By committing a significant portion of their profits to environmental causes, they’ve demonstrated their dedication to sustainability, earning both praise and long-term loyalty from eco-conscious Gen Z consumers.
- The Authenticity Factor
Gen Z’s authenticity radar is finely tuned. Brands that pretend to be something they’re not are quickly dismissed. Honesty, flaws, and all resonate with this generation. An authentic brand acknowledges its limitations and works actively to improve. A great example of authentic brand building is case studies like Dove’s “Pits of NY” campaign, which focuses on real women with real body types that challenge the beauty category norms.
- Transparency as a Virtue
Transparency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a non-negotiable demand from Gen Z. Hidden agendas and secretive practices are deal-breakers. To earn trust, brands must open their doors, allowing consumers to see the reality behind the polished facade. Brands like Everlane, a clothing retailer, are celebrated for revealing their production costs and processes. This openness has translated into trust, evident in their growing customer base and positive reviews, showcasing the power of transparency in action.
- The Consistency Conundrum
Consistency aligns perfectly with the Gen Z mantra. In fact, Research from McKinsey indicates that consistency is a major factor influencing brand trust. Brands that waver in their values, messaging, or quality standards don’t stand a chance. A consistent brand is a reliable one, and reliability is the bedrock of trust for this discerning generation. Look at brands like Starbucks; their constant focus on ethical sourcing and employee welfare practices has solidified their trustworthiness.
THE SAY-DO GAP™ ASSESSMENT
Is there a disconnect in your brand? Dive into the Say-Do Gap™ Assessment—align your brand, build trust, and unleash unparalleled success.
About the author(s)
Executive Director Strategic Impact & Growth
Lenya leads business development at BLVR and is well-versed in partnering with clients to drive long-term value for their organizations. She honed her craft working on global brands like Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch, Sony, and Canon at leading agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, and BASIC. A master of purpose-led creativity, her work has been honored by the Effie Awards and the prestigious Cannes Lion Festival.