Last April, Edukasyon teamed up with adobo magazine to host a casual and intimate roundtable discussion on Gen Z, the generation of 14 to 24-year-old Filipinos – also known as the most digitally connected generation ever. The event was held at the adobo creative hub with dinner and drinks keeping the lively chat late into the evening.
What’s all the Gen Z buzz about?
In today’s world of social media and influencers, the spotlight has zeroed in on Gen Z – natives to the internet and all things mobile. According to McKinsey, this context has produced a “hypercognitive generation very comfortable with collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and with integrating virtual and offline experiences.”
In the Philippines, they are young decision-makers, students, consumers and the new wave of jobseekers. By 2021, over half of Gen Z will be 21 or older, becoming a highly influential demographic for the future of our country and society.
Sharing their insights on engaging with Gen Z were leading creative and marketing agency experts including Abi Aquino (Executive Creative Director at MullenLowe Philippines), Poma Malantic (Strategic Planning Director at PHD Media Philippines), Teeny Gonzales (President of Seven A.D.), Bia Famularcano (Creative Director at Publicis JimenezBasic) and Charlene Sapina (Head of Marketing Operations at Max’s Group).
Also joining the discussion were Henry Motte-Muñoz, CEO and Founder of Edukasyon – the leading Gen Z platform in the Philippines – and Edukasyon’s Rianna Puno as moderator.
What are some helpful tips and considerations for connecting with this audience? Our experts shared their words of wisdom:
Leverage the data
This generation spends so much time online, there’s a lot of behavior you can analyze. There just wasn’t a lot of data before but now with Google it’s an open field. Ninety percent of our content [on Edukasyon] is tailored to the questions that Gen Zs ask themselves online. – Henry Motte-Muñoz
Don’t let all these data intimidate you; you see how they behave, what they’re thinking, but the question to ask is ‘why?’ Why are they searching this? What’s driving them to do this? You have to get insight to connect. – Teeny Gonzales
As an industry now, we’re very spoiled with the amount of information and data. Which gives us the responsibility to interpret it properly to be able to translate it into something that’s good. – Poma Malantic
It’s easy to drown with so much data. The challenge really is to find the gem. The one that makes sense for you and your brand. And work from there. – Charlene Sapina
Go the extra mile
Gen Z grew up in the digital world and experience more stimuli. They can be bombarded with messages, feelings, and so you have to be comfortable with pushing the envelope. – Abi Aquino
[In crafting and marketing stories], there’s fun and non-sensical, [and then there’s] socially relevant, authentic, deep. If you’re not in either spectrum, you run the risk of being just noise. But, you have to anchor it with insights. – Poma Malantic
It’s a challenge because they are easily unimpressed, although they are not demanding. They are just exposed to so much content that they have developed high standards. – Bia Famularcano
Lean into issues
With Gen Z, it’s much more socially acceptable to discuss mental or social issues. They seem to be less judgmental of each other; they are more critical of brands and companies. – Henry Motte-Muñoz
They’re not self-conscious or self-centered. They look at the world with a sense of community and a high sense of purpose. – Teeny Gonzales
They aren’t shackled by traditional marketing. Luxury is tied to purpose and sustainability. – Abi Aquino
Be thoughtful and authentic
Communicate something that makes sense; it can’t be something that’s not honest – they see right through it and they’re not going to support you.” – Charlene Sapina
When you try to connect to Gen Z, the tone and what you’re saying has to be true. You can’t overcomplicate and over-mask it. – Teeny Gonzales
For creatives, not much has changed [in our process]. When I was working with a mom brand, I wasn’t a mom. When I was working for a car company, I wasn’t driving. So whenever I talk to a new audience, there is the same research and approach that goes into how to best communicate with them. – Bia Famularcano
Don’t try to influence the influencers
When you work with influencers, you have to be able to give up some control. You have to be flexible in letting them say whatever they want to say – but make sure it’s aligned with your brand’s message. – Charlene Sapina
As a brand, you have to open yourself. You can’t dictate what these influencers will do. They need to have a sense of ownership. – Poma Malantic
The final word
At the end of the day, digital or otherwise, the rules have not changed. Insight, common sense, honesty, authenticity, purpose – these are important values that transcend generations, and will continue through the next waves of young thinkers and doers.
Stay tuned for more discussions with Edukasyon – and join us for the next!