Argyle @ Collision 2023: Investing in the future of Gen Z

By 2026, Gen Z will account for more than a quarter of the world’s population, making them the largest consumer group. It is important to recognize and understand that Gen Z’s motivators are unique to them and they respond best to authenticity, transparency, and openness. 

At this year’s Collision conference, throughout every presentation, Q&A and event, artificial intelligence (AI) dominated the conversation. The other star of many sessions was Gen Zthe generation that will become the main audience for many companies. As two Gen Z PR professionals, we couldn’t get enough. We were specifically interested in digging deeper into how Gen Z, AI and money intersect.  

Where Gen Z and Money Collide

Gen Z was born with the internet – they are digital natives and have a better understanding of the internet. 

With Gen Z, access to financial education has never been easier. According to Eva Wong, Co-founder & COO of Borrowell, 58 per cent of 14–18-year-olds are getting financial information on social media platforms, such as TikTok. The advantage of social media is Gen Z and others can effortlessly access and share financial information.  

Financial education on TikTok isn’t just easily accessible, it’s also now more than ever, being shared by youth for youth. The people demystifying financial topics through social media content speak Gen Z’s language. Representation matters in media, and these creators are just like us—they speak our language (and get our TikTok trends). 

Where Gen Z and AI Collide

The mass adoption of ChatGPT and other AI tools has shown the public what’s possible and given companies the opportunity to integrate AI into their products. Companies see how AI can create a more personalized experience, appealing to the sensibility of Gen Z and leading to higher conversion rates.  

“I am a huge believer in AI and [Desjardins] is making huge investments in AI. I think it’s important to continue but act responsibly because we don’t know where it will take us.” – Guy Cormier, CEO & President, Desjardins. 

For companies looking to implement AI technology within their existing services, it must solve a problem or offer a new solution. If building AI for AI-sake, companies run the risk of getting called out by their customers this could have a negative impact on brand reputation —remember, Gen Z is a socially conscious group! 

So, what are Gen Z’s main concerns?

We are less focused on purchasing “things” and more focused on experiences. Compared to other age groups, Gen Z are interested in building their credit and investing, are fearful of credit card debt, and are not purchasing property, even though a mortgage is a great way to build credit. Also, accelerated by the pandemic, the gig economy has seen an increase in young people starting their own side hustles.  

Gen Z is actively engaging with content and asking questions about successfully managing their money, mostly through social media.   

While social media is a great platform with endless amounts of content, we don’t know what percentage is accurate. The opportunity for financial institutions is to use their platforms and expertise to partner with creators to combat misinformation and provide sound advice.   

Key takeaways for 2024 

– Give creators creative freedom! Influencer marketing is a great way to reach a younger audience. But there are often discrepancies between companies’ brand guidelines versus what creators deliver. Creators know their audience the best and know what resonates. For companies looking to partner with creators, there needs to be trust. As Chris Swatelle said in his session on building for Gen Z, “it’s not a Gen Z thing, it’s a human thing. It’s okay to sell but try to do it tastefully.” 

– Brands need to reach customers in the right place at the right time. The biggest mistake brands make is trying to reach new customers in places that make no sense and trying to ride out trends. Channels are ever changing, but the smartest organizations have a clear vision for the social platforms they’re on. Ultimately, it boils down to brand authenticity and origin story. 

If your brand wants a hand capturing Gen Z’s attention with authenticity, we have a team of PR experts (including some very cool Zoomers) ready to work. Reach out here.

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