During a discussion I had with a friend recently, we talked about how Gen Z are gradually waking up to their social responsibilities and becoming aware of their place and significance in society.
With the arrival of the mid-1990s came a new generation, one that comprises bold, brilliant, and more technologically advanced individuals than all their predecessors. People from this generation represent the latest and youngest population living in the United States; they bear the name Generation Z. They were born into a world when the internet has always run the world and technology dictates people’s affairs.
Being millennials ourselves, we’re aware of the giant strides our younger ones are taking in trying to make a better world. You can see this in their takeover of several sectors and endeavors from the older generations. The zeal to do things differently further sets them apart from the older ones; they don’t take “no” for an answer and are always looking for solutions.
Philanthropy is one of the many sectors taken over by the youngest, most technologically-driven, and ethnically-diverse generation we have ever seen. Until recently, philanthropy was the focus of Millennials and Gen X, however, we now see Generation Z leading the charge to make the world a better place.
A significant number of Gen Z have grown up seeing pictures and scenes of casualties of terrorism, epidemics, and natural disasters flooding their parents’ television screens and social media platforms every day. They have grown up in societies where the government isn’t doing enough and people are suffering; some have even been victims of such situations themselves.
As a result, they’re able to relate perfectly to philanthropic efforts to make the world a better place. In an era of significant technological advancement and heavy internet usage, successfully running a cause marketing campaign requires keen awareness of available communication tools. That way, organizations can reach a wide range of audiences, especially future donors. One of those communication tools is the ever-growing toolbox of social media.
The Place of Social Media in Cause Marketing
Since the turn of the past decade, social media has evolved and become a significant part of our everyday lives. Besides allowing us to keep in touch with friends and families in distant locations, it has been instrumental in growing businesses and societies. It fosters sharing information at an unprecedented speed and enables us to connect with the world effortlessly. In short, if you called it a necessity for keeping our lives running smoothly, you’d be right.
With the evolution and growth of social media came the birth of new businesses and the success of existing ones. The platform has helped millions, if not billions, of enterprises, entrepreneurs, and organizations achieve significant success. One group that has greatly benefited from it are brands with an impact-driven mission or companies that employ cause-marketing effectively to drive sales.
Such caring brands are people-oriented organizations that thrive on awareness creation for the cause and ideas they push. They can only achieve their goals and purposes when they’re able to reach their target audience. With most of the world’s population reachable primarily via the internet and social media, it becomes essential for these socially responsible companies (CSR) to adopt these tools to reach their target audience.
Below are a few of the benefits that social media can provide CSR companies when used effectively.
1. Expands Your Reach
The concept of social media thrives on the human need to share information. If you’ve got data to communicate with people and want it to reach a broad audience, social media is your go-to tool. With it, you can get your content to people from every part of the world, thereby taking your cause-related marketing beyond borders, even to communities that you could never reach manually.
2. Allows You to Engage with Your Community of Supporters
Whether an organization is aimed at profit or profit and philanthropy, its success greatly depends on the commitment of its stakeholders, followers, or supporters. In the case of a CSR company, the role of inspired and mission-driven consumers is non-negotiable.
Keeping this set of people connected is even more imperative, as it’s what makes them feel valued, and a way of achieving this is through constant communication. Using the conventional method of phone calls and text messages can be time-consuming and expensive.
However, with social media, you get to reach out to every one of them through a single update, which you can send multiple times a day. It’s a faster and more cost-effective approach to feed your customers (fans) with premium content about the company and its social mission.
3. Allows You to Attract New Donors and Volunteers
At OMG, our mission is to help socially-responsible and conscious companies and consumers participate in a mutually-beneficial, output-measurable humanitarian effort to end child hunger, animal abuse, and deforestation.
We believe that whatever humanitarian ideals and causes your company is pushing, there will always be individuals willing to side with your brand through sales or advocacy. By using social media platforms, you can effectively share your values and ideas with the public, and create a positive reaction from those that share similar views.
Having created an engaged online community of fans for your brand, you can drive more engagement by continually feeding them with quality mission-driven content. You’ll be able to promote cause marketing campaigns seamlessly, and you’ll be able to attract more customers and advocates.
The Role of Generation Z in Your Cause Marketing Social Media Campaigns
With the Baby Boomers generation — who’s responsible for a significant percentage of donations made to nonprofits — coming to a gradual end, and with a majority of the Gen X population nearing retirement, the onus has fallen on later generations to continue from where the other generations have left off.
So far, the millennial population has been impressive when it comes to charitable giving and activism. They’ve been worthy successors and have proven to be as generous as their predecessors, if not more. This generation is full of hardworking individuals that are ever ready to take up responsibilities.
However, in Generation Z, the latest set of individuals have continually demonstrated their passion for humanitarian activities and a commitment to changing the status quo. They’ve repeatedly shown through their actions and zeal their fearless nature; they’re not afraid to speak up for what is right, nor do they hesitate to do what is right.
These and several other attributes have made them ideal candidates to lead awareness creation campaigns. There are several benefits attached to going this route. However, before we go thoroughly into them, let’s take a quick look at the difference between Millennials and Gen Z.
The Difference Between Millennials and Gen Z
While they may all look young and in vogue, Millennials and their successors have several differences between them, especially how they do business, interact with technology, and approach business opportunities. We’ll be examining some of them below.
1. While Millennials Are Idealistic, Gen Z Take the Pragmatic Path
A significant proportion of Millennials came when the economy was strongest and healthiest, which explains the optimistic nature of many from this generation. In contrast, many Gen Z members arrived when several countries were battling diverse economic challenges and the menace of climate change.
The generation was raised against the backdrop of economic pressure, with parents and societies struggling with a series of social issues. These situations have shaped the Gen Z population into pragmatic individuals focusing on making wise investment decisions and attaining long-term value, making them the ideal target audience for companies aligned with a social cause.
2. While Millennials Look Out for Good Brands, Gen Z Focuses on Creating Theirs
Millennials’ middle and high school lives featured emblazoned T-shirts, jeans and showing off their fashion sense. Now that they’ve all become adults, they’re more willing to rock the latest designer wears and pay for their preferred brands, an attitude they brought with them from childhood.
On the other hand, Gen Z tends more toward being defined by their own brands than those created by other people. Due to this, they’re more open to creating labels and staying independent while using social media to find the communities they belong to and promote their efforts. This presents another unique opportunity for supplier companies to distinguish themselves above others by making sure their products and services are ethically-sourced and meet the standards for a socially-responsible company.
3. Gen Z Is More Ambitious and Has Higher Expectations than Millennials.
Many Millennials were born in a time characterized by dial-up internet and AOL; they probably thought they were living the best life anyone could ever live and had no idea things could be better. Contrastingly, Gen Z has never known a time when the superfast internet hasn’t been the norm. What Millennials saw as unique inventions are considered given parts of life by their successors.
Due to the world of astounding inventions and technologies they find themselves in, the Gen Z population has higher expectations and is more ambitious than their predecessors. They want swift delivery of services, a fast-paced way of life, trustworthy businesses and brands, etc. In other words, they want everything done excellently and quickly, unlike their predecessors, who generally take a calmer and steadier approach to things.
Gen Z Values
With a bulk of the Gen Z population coming of age and joining the workforce, businesses and organizations are having their work cut out for them to understand how to work with the youngest generation in town. The most complex part of this task is that these individuals are nothing like the older generations in several aspects.
For a leader of a CSR company, understanding this group of distinct, unique, sensitive, and curious individuals is essential so that you may know how to include them in your social media campaigns to create awareness about the cause that is aligned with your business. One of the very first things to learn about them is the values they hold. We’ll be examining a few of them below.
1. Making a Difference
We’re aware at OMG that older generations like the Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials were born and bred in societies that supported philanthropy, a concept that informed many of our charity and CSR causes. As such, it was only natural for them to take up the responsibility of furthering those causes.
The situation is somewhat different with Generation Z, many of whom grew up in societies that were all about surviving in a dog-eat-dog world. However, despite the circumstances surrounding their upbringing, this set of young individuals have shown that they want to make a positive difference. They care about equality and social justice just as much as the older generations. They’re environmentally conscious, and they lead lifestyles targeted at saving Mother Earth.
2. Authenticity Over Aesthetics
While older generations like Gen X and Millennials emphasize and pay more attention to aesthetics in business and philanthropy, the younger ones, Gen Z, value authenticity, transparency, and originality more. The latter are more likely to do business with caring and reputable organizations than pretentious or trendy ones. This generation is full of no-nonsense tech geeks that are all about bringing innovations to industries while avoiding anything that might disrupt their flow.
3. Disruptive Tech Mentality
Being the only generation that has known the internet all their lives, Gen Zers can relate to virtually everything that has to do with tech. Many of them believe in technology’s capability to solve every life challenge. Therefore, they’re always on the lookout for workplaces and environments that allow them to explore their tech skills.
Why Include Gen Z in Your Cause Marketing Social Media Campaign?
As the Gen Z population comes of age, attains financial dependence, and moves into the workforce, it’s pertinent for impact-driven brands to include them in their social media campaigns. This set of individuals are the best things to ever happen to humanity, as they’re more technologically advanced than older generations.
We’ll be examining some of the reasons to consider including this generation of creatives in your cause marketing social media awareness promotion campaigns.
1. They Care about Humanity and Work Toward the Collective Good
Gen Z is comprised of community-focused individuals who care so much about making life easy for people. They’re a group of progressives that indulge in volunteering and humanitarian affairs and will do anything to make the world a better place to live in.
They believe more in actions than words and are willing to go the distance to achieve their goals. They’ve got an unmatched passion for humanitarian work and excellent technical skills to go with it. Including them in your cause marketing social media campaign allows you to enjoy the innovation and creativity they bring to any team.
2. They Will Help Expand your Company’s Reach and Spread Its Mission and Goals
Gen Z individuals tend to connect quickly and productively with organizations that have a clear mission and non-pretentious marketing. They also tend to trust easily and build great relationships with caring brands.
Besides these, they’re heavy internet users, especially social media, with a significant proportion of their dealings taking place via various media platforms. These attributes are those you can capitalize on as a marketing manager to expand your company’s reach and secure new brand advocates and customers.
With Gen Zers in your social media campaign team, your organization will relate significantly well with youngsters like them. They’d come with practical ideas that will be instrumental to being a force to reckon with in the online space. You’ll be able to create excellent content that will appeal to their sensibilities and make them want to partner with your organization.
The ever-changing times and social trends have made it pertinent for organizations to redefine their marketing and awareness creation strategies to reflect the advancement of humans and technology, and impact-driven brands aren’t an exception.
For caring companies to remain relevant, they must keep up with changing trends, including social media adoption in all its variations. What better way to achieve that than by having members of the youngest and freshest generation on your marketing teams?
Besides possessing a significant flair for humanitarian projects, the Gen Z population is more technologically advanced than their predecessors and has a deep passion for transforming the world.
The times are changing, and as humans, we just have to go with the flow. Thinking of ways to make your organization gain traction with Gen-Zs can make that vision a reality.
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