How brands can capture the attention of Gen Z

Generation Z (the group of individuals born after 1996) is 78 million strong, and they’re unlike any other generation before them. These differences appear in what they value, how they interact with each other, and what they expect of the society they live in.

Brands today are significantly revising their branding and marketing efforts in an attempt to reach and engage with this generation in meaningful, authentic ways. Here are a few of our favorite brands that are capturing the attention of Gen Z when it comes to finance, food, and fashion.

Finance

Gen Z-ers tend to be careful and responsible when it comes to managing money. In fact, 33% of them have some kind of budgeting or finance app, and 57% say they would rather save money than spend it.

One app that stands apart is Qapital, which helps you track your finances and become a disciplined saver, by making the process simple, automated, goal driven, and (we’re just gonna say it) fun.

Users create goals to work toward — like saving for a big trip or setting aside college tuition — and then create a “rule” for the goal. Qapital has a list of rules triggered by everyday spending events, which activate the proper transfers toward each goal. It’s easy and automatic. Users can select rules like rounding up $5 every time a debit card is used, or even automatically skimming a certain amount from a savings account each month.

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Qapital’s focused, goal-based approach to content and experience appeals to Gen Z in a way that most other banking apps have yet to accomplish.

Fashion

It’s no secret that members of Gen Z are serious about personal identity and care deeply about social issues. Because they’re advocates for living authentically, they openly challenge the way society has long portrayed gender roles and sexual identity.

In January, Louis Vuitton took a bold stance on gender norms when it debuted Jaden Smith as the new face of its women’s wear ad campaign. Smith, one of Time magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens, is well known to members of Gen Z. Over the past few years, he has publicly adopted a gender-fluid style, wearing skirts and dresses, and using flowers as accessories.

There’s no doubt that Louis Vuitton has carved out a space for itself in the minds and hearts of Gen Z-ers by featuring Smith in such a high-profile way and embracing the way they view gender and identity.

Food

It may be surprising, but today’s teens love healthy food, and they’re willing to empty their wallets to get it. They spend a majority of their allowances on food every week, and 58 percent of them are willing to pay more for natural or organic products. And over the past decade, soft drink sales for Coke and Pepsi have declined by about 40 percent for this age bracket. Clearly, Gen Z-ers are interested in making healthier choices and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, too.

One start-up to watch, called Farmer’s Fridge, is bringing healthful choices like salads, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to vending machines in Chicago. It’s an idea that aligns with Gen Z beyond just the food’s quality and nutritional value. Being environmentally friendly is a core part of the brand, too: jars and lids in the machines are made from 100 percent recyclable material, the machines themselves are made with reclaimed wood, and the company keeps its environmental footprint small by operating from a shared kitchen. As Farmer’s Fridge expands its footprint, we think the concept will certainly have the ear (and stomach) of Gen Z.

What other finance, fashion, or food brands are serving the Gen Z crowd well? Let us know who you’re keeping an eye on in the comments below.

This article is part one is a series in which we dive deeper into understanding Gen Z.