The recent protests across America have amplified long-standing societal inequalities and challenged us to re-evaluate our social norms, racial biases and injustices in our communities. Systemic racism is not new; however, this time it feels different.
Why? A new generation has emerged and it is reshaping our country both in words and actions. Gen Z, otherwise known as Zoomers, encompasses people 10 to 25 years old and is one of the most diverse generations America has ever seen. They are dreamers and believers, and they are the agents of change driving the current movement.
As a generation, 76% of Gen Z feel it is extremely important to stand up for what they believe in, regardless of ethnicity. Further, these young leaders are not satisfied with the status quo and are predisposed to call for change. Importantly, they feel protests can bring about positive change.
To be relevant to Gen Z and all whom they influence, marketers need to support these agents of change in a way that is consistent with their brand purpose; woke-washing will quickly be interpreted as cultural appropriation for corporate gain.
Sustained change requires marketers to be:
- Aware of unique issues their customers are facing
- Awake and vigilant about oppressive or negative actions, externally and as a company
- Action-oriented, demonstrating their commitment and progress within their companies in areas including workforce diversity, bias training, mentorship and other important programs to achieve equality.
Marketers can shape society and culture, and while the starting point for each brand may be different, our end goal is shared. It’s our responsibility to deeply understand all consumers, especially those who feel least represented, and initiate the change our next generations are calling for.