29 May How to Get Gen Z Connected to Your Purpose
In the Purpose Revolution there is good news and bad news when it comes to getting customers and employees connected to your purpose. The good news is customers and employees across all generations want to be connected to brands they believe in. The bad news is that few brands are really succeeding either with employees or customers.
A recent study looked at perceptions among Gen Z (basically 25 years old and under) looked at how they see companies on social issues. What emerged is relevant across generations. Sixty-eight percent said that corporate support for social causes improves their perception of the brand, and fifty-eight percent said it impacts their buying choices. Bad news: only 12% could identify specific companies with a cause.
The lessons that emerged from the research fully support the advice in my book The Purpose Revolution.
First, be consistent and focused. Dove has been focused on redefining beauty and body image for fifteen years, so not surprisingly, 58% of Gen Z know this and are positive about Dove as a brand. The company is also growing 30% faster than their competition. Even if you support many causes, STAY FOCUSED ON A CORE ISSUE. Many times, companies which actually contribute less to social good, but who are known for something, do better and get more traction from their work. The moral is not to do less good, but to have a focus that connects you with your core customer.
Second, be bold. Patagonia has the highest consistent positive association with a cause in the Gen Z survey. The company has been bold and even courted controversy when they took on the President of the United States on the issue of public land use. The Purpose Revolution requires boldness and people will respond to courage. Of course, those who disagree may opt out, but the loyalty of those who align with your values will grow. Chick-Fil-A is an example of courage with their “closed on Sunday” policy which attracts the loyalty of consumers who love their stance.
Third, be loud. If your company is supporting social issues be LOUD and PROUD. Make it clear on the label, in your social media, in your employee meetings, and so on. Don’t hide your light. Nike got lots of powerful social media benefit from their stand on social justice with the Colin Kaepernick campaign. But months later, only 27 percent associated them with racial justice. So, you’d better keep it central.
Finally, Be Authentic. But here is where it gets interesting: Gen Z see authenticity differently. Rather than feel your cause must align with your business, they feel any cause is fair game so long as the company is sincere and consistent in tackling that issue.