Maybe you’re asking yourself
What is Gen Z?
A great way to think about it is like this; The Baby Boomers made babies, Generation X made jobs, Millennial’s made experiences and Gen Z are going to make robots!
Plain and simple; Gen Z are the future. They are the next generation of employees and consumers born between the mid-1990s to early 2000. Technology is second nature to this generation. They will unapologetically watch not read, vlog not blog and type not write. An Instant access culture who is ready to challenge the status quo. An all-embracing movement is coming.
So let’s ask the billion dollar question:
Are businesses ready and prepared for this movement?
How many people reading this have been in a situation with a child 15 years and under in which they have divulged or shown some technology-based concept, for you to think “What the heck are you on about”. I guarantee there is a huge amount! Don’t worry we have all been there and if this has not happened to you, go spend time with this age group, they will blow your mind!
Plus in a business context, it is fundamental to understand, predict and prepare for future consumer wants. First things first, understand your customer!
To really get an understanding, we need to get specific. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how our bodies and in particular our brains develop and function. I promise this will be anything but boring!
Gen Z are in the third stage of brain development, also known as the Grey Matter stage. It is the most stimulating and enduring phase of all. It involves the wiring of the brain accelerating at unprecedented speed whilst the evolution of the prefrontal cortex occurs. This is the part of the brain that controls our decision making. We bring what we have learned at this stage with us throughout our lives, so the stimuli that we are exposed to at this period is fundamental to our future decision making. The peak stage and acceleration of brain function is at age 22 and after that, it’s unfortunately downhill. Thus what we have experienced in this period influences how we perform later on. Starting to understand how important this stage is?
So let’s take a look at the stimuli that Gen Z are being exposed to? Facebook, Instagram, Musically, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, X Box, Playstation, to name but a few.
Instant, Instant, Instant and all virtual! This is their reality and will be their future.
This stimuli is going to change everything.
One of the biggest changes that is going to occur in the future is that of education. It is predicted that by 2030 the largest company online is going to be education based. Why? Well because of that prefrontal cortex. By that time those individuals will be in their prime for education and learning, their preferred medium to undertake and experience this is going to be screen based. This place is their comfort zone and It is already occurring.
Search any concert that has happened in the last 3 years and I guarantee at least half of the participants are watching through their screens, holding up their phones and recording their experience. Two reasons for this, reflection and comfort. They want to be able to go over and over this experience and relive it in the future, whilst noticing something that they may have missed first time round. So instead of internal memory, they want instant virtual recollection.
The trickle effect will most definitely happen within education for this group and how they will be able to fully learn and digest information. A virtual continuous learning space, where instant and future recollection will be the normality.
The bigger and deeper picture here is how are businesses going to react to this?
It is a classic telegraph – typewriter – keyboard scenario. Stick with the first or second and see how successful your business will be in 2-5 years. Already prosperous businesses know that education based investments will always give a magnificent ROI as it leads to more efficient and productive employees. The future of outbound training such as attending physical lectures will be a telegraph notion in the coming years. An onboarding process for employees, from day one with online tailored education for their industry is something that is going to be expected and let’s face it just makes sense!
If you’re still not convinced that your business should be onboarding with online education and career development, I will leave you with a brilliant example of a company missing the boat.
In 1973 Xerox did not understand, predict and prepare for future consumer wants. They gave away graphic user interface and the mouse design to Steve Jobs. The thought of difference or individual users future wants and needs was not on their horizon. We all know how that decision ended up.
Don’t be a 1973 Xerox.
Originally from Dublin but now based in Cork, Melanie has worked extensively in Sales and Marketing over the years. From Whiskey to IT, her emphasis has always been about understanding and implementing the core wants and needs of consumers to a business bearing. For more of her thought process or to contact Melanie, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.