5 powerful storytelling strategies brands can use to connect with Gen Z consumers

It is no secret that different generations respond differently to various marketing messages. If you are using a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, you are missing out on important opportunities to connect and build relationships with clients and customers. For example, Generation Z is a unique cohort of consumers that need a specific marketing message to compel them to take action.

Hands holding the abbreviation Gen Z
Hands holding the abbreviation Gen Z

Learn about Gen Z and why you need to market to them.

The generation born in the mid to late 1990s into the early 2000s is commonly referred to as Gen Z. They are the first generation born after internet use became commonplace in homes and workplaces. Social media is a part of their daily lives and they were the first generation to show us how relationships can be developed online. 

Generation Z are heavy internet users and they turn to various online platforms when deciding to purchase a product or service. One study published by Hootsuite found that 85% of consumers in this group learn about new products on social media and they are 59% more likely to connect with brands online compared to other generations. Those are two powerful facts that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

A quick look at Gen Z’s online habits.

A large proportion of Gen Z consumers share specific online habits. These include:

  • A short attention span,
  • A preference for video content or short-form messaging,
  • A strong desire to make the world a better place, and
  • A preference for brands that demonstrate authenticity.

Understanding the needs and preferences of this generation is the key to successfully marketing to them. When you capture the attention of a Gen Z consumer, they are more likely to become loyal customers and develop a long-term relationship with your business. 

Here are five storytelling strategies you can use to get the attention of Gen Z.

  1. Use video to tell your story.

Gen Z has a short attention span and they are more likely to watch a video than read a blog post. This generation uses video-based platforms prolifically, including Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. They are used to developing relationships online, and videos that feature people are far more engaging for this audience because it provides an opportunity to build connections through non-verbal communication like body language. 

  1. Tell their stories.

You can use testimonials, reviews, and consumer-generated social media content to share the stories of other Gen Zers who have used your products and services. Social proof is an effective marketing tool for most consumers but it is especially impactful for Gen Z. They actively seek out social proof when making purchasing decisions because they trust the opinions and experiences of their peers. 

  1. Highlight the consumer experience.

For decades, marketers have told brands to focus on highlighting the features and benefits of their products or services. This often took the form of long, sometimes boring, lists and articles. This advice still rings true today but the delivery of the information needs to be just right to connect with Gen Z. Use storytelling to highlight a customer’s journey with your business. Stories can include information alongside other details like emotions, challenges, and triumphs that the consumer experienced. Gen Z has been exposed to online marketing for their entire lives and they crave messaging that is authentic and informative. 

  1. Tell stories about your company.

Gen Z is a caring generation. They aspire to change the world and will use their spending power to do so. This generation is looking to support businesses that are authentic and purpose-driven. To start building relationships with Gen Z, brands can share stories about their staff and behind the scenes aspects of the business. They can talk about their mission and purpose. Brands should highlight the actions they are taking to make the world a better place.

  1. Communicate in a personal way.

No Gen Z is going to read through a long-form blog post full of dryly presented facts and statistics. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about those things; they do! They want the content they engage with to be presented in a more personal way. Think of your stories as a conversation and invite them to be a part of it by engaging with them online. Gen Z wants to have authentic and genuine interactions with brands. Storytelling that is overly dramatic, performative, or feels like a lecture will not be effective. Gen Z will respond positively to the perfect meme, authenticity, and personalized messaging. 

Gen Z cares and brands should pay attention to them.

Gen Z is a generation that will spend the next few decades continuing to build connections online and using their spending power to have a positive impact locally and globally. Now is the time to start building long-lasting relationships with this generation. 

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