Climate-change discussions are permeating the mainstream, due to the tireless work of global activists. But the latest wave of game-changers in the space go beyond politicians, ambassadors and CEOs. Gen Z has stepped up in an unprecedented way as wavemakers in the activist space, from Greta Thunberg to Autumn Peltier. As the energy behind climate justice reaches new peaks, consider how youth activists are transforming what it means to be a teen in 2019 and beyond.
Emerging generations don’t separate their social values from other parts of their lives. Group chats are flowing from GIFs to politics without skipping a beat.
In our latest study, we found this cause-first mindset is fundamentally changing the way this cohort consumes media. Gen Z is finding representation in streaming video, and is 76% more receptive to brand stands in this space.
Media is a major piece of Gen Z activism, with marches planned via DMs and Snapchats.
Here’s how brands, companies, and creators can ensure a values-first approach is hitting the girls gone green:
Embrace their social media. Gen Z-ers’ social feeds introduce them to equality in a broader sense across all marginalized groups: 93% have discovered a new cause on social media, and they’re rallying behind holidays they discover in their feed, from Transgender Day of Visibility to International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Marketers looking to connect with young activists must find the right place in the social feeds that reflect activists’ individuality and diversity — places like Tik Tok and Snapchat, where default feeds are found based on discovery, not by accounts you follow, and communities are found based on connections around, for example, gender identities and not through immediate peers.
Explain and sustain your mission. When given a list of categories, Gen Z identified music as the frontrunner in taking a stand — even above Nike. For the first time ever, 100% of the artists on Billboard’s 2019 Top 10 List are making mission-first music the norm. From Billie Eilish’s green tour to Lizzo’s self-love celebrations, artists are breaking down barriers as they approach every stage. For brands looking to find credibility when taking a stand, look to music to be your guide, and let lyrics bring your mission to life.
Help new voices grow. In contrast to the largely male, white leadership of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the climate justice movement is lifting up young and diverse voices. Washington Post reported that 68% of organizers of the Washington Climate March identified as women, and people of color made up more than 1/3 of protesters. And Gen Z is looking to these rising voices as influencers. This cohort is 32% more likely to turn to feminists, politicians and activists over celebrities for inspiration. To keep up with this generation, act as a mirror by listening to and lifting up rising voices who resonate with your tribe.
So as Gen Z-ers take the future of our planet into their own hands, make them feel seen, heard, and reflected by your brand.