Every Gen Z Gets an Oscar

Every Gen Z Gets an Oscar #expression

Expression, human and digital, seems to be a hot topic lately. Society – marketers, educators, parents and researchers – is curious to see how technology is changing the ways we express ourselves and how this affects human expression. As a marketer and Gen Z expert, I am curious too, especially curious to understand why Gen Z spends so much time expressing themselves on social media like Instagram, and how this impacts our future.

One way to get to know Gen Z is to go deeper into why and how they express themselves, online and offline. Like all humans, Gen Zs need to connect with other humans and the easiest, least threatening way to do this is on social media. “Society” is learning how to define Gen Z but more importantly, I’d like to see “society” embrace Gen Z’s talents, especially their talents for self-expression.

Here is one of several upcoming posts on Gen Z and Expression. First, I’ll look at Instagram – the biggest outlet for Gen Z expression.

Every Gen Z gets an Oscar, not just a trophy.

Starting as early as age 4, Gen Zs are creating and running their own shows, a continuing series called “My Life”. On Instagram, every participant plays many roles required to produce a video: producer, writer, cameraman, editor, posting etc…and they get feedback immediately. Brands and friends follow, comment and share their creations giving Gen Z confidence that they are excellent producers. No wonder over 70% of Gen Zs want to be entrepreneurs. (New topic: Making a living off of video production)

Forever21Instagram is an ideal space for marketers to reach Gen Z and a space that “society” needs to embrace. Only 28% of marketers use Instagram, 50% non-profits and 50% of retailers. The brilliant brands that are on Instagram – Forever 21, Adidas and Nike – are making early connections with young consumers that could last a lifetime.

Gen Xers are not yet on Instagram. While over 51% of teens are on Instagram daily, only 27% of Gen X use Instagram daily. Most of my Gen X peers stay on Facebook and don’t touch Instagram. Instagram like this giant pit of creativity and popularity that we’d rather avoid.

Most Gen Zs follow brands based on how they emotionally connect with the brand. I’m on Instagram to follow my favorite brands and to follow my Gen Zs. Gen Zs are more likely to connect with the soft sell message brands post on Instagram. Yet some Gen Zs I interviewed only follow 1-2 of their favorite brands, brands like Go-Pro that are a hot product. Some Gen Zs think that like a performer, “they are who they perform with”.

If you really want to get to know Gen Zs, then get on Instagram and see how Gen Zs express themselves.  They have alot to say. And also see why everyone gets an Oscar. Brands have an opportunity to connect with our creative Gen Zs by posting images that help Gen Zs express themselves. When I watch Gen Zs videos, their social expressions are very impressive. But real life is very different than a scripted life. Let’s hand out Oscars offline too.


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