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How can brands best connect with Gen Z? By connecting them with their futures

by John Wheeler
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    For millions of Gen Z studying at college or university, a well-priced offer means the difference between affording - or not affording - a new computer, nice clothing, memorable nights out on the town or a train ticket home. A quick journey to any corner of the internet will reveal a near-endless supply of voucher codes, discounts and one-time sales events geared specifically towards students.

    Any marketer who’s been in the business for 30 minutes can readily tell you, lower prices mean a greater chance of attracting a larger number of shoppers - and a higher potential for driving sales volumes.

    Whilst discounts and offers are attractive to any consumer, they aren’t necessarily a sure fire way of cultivating brand loyalty, especially to Gen Z who notoriously seek value and meaning. And with Gen Z fast becoming the driving engine of the digital economy (by 2020, they’ll become the largest group of consumers worldwide), how do retailers, restaurants and experienced providers build brand loyalty with this elusive generation.

    For a company engaging Gen Z the right way, look no further than Amazon and its Amazon Student Prime programme. It lets students save on items ranging from clothing to electronics to school supplies and gives them access to hundreds of thousands of Kindle eBooks and low-priced groceries - the basic necessities and amenities for getting through further education.

    But that isn’t everything Amazon Student Prime is getting right. Study after study shows how Gen Z value prompt delivery above almost any other nicety. Student Prime’s got them covered on that front. By offering unlimited one day delivery from thousands of stores, Amazon appeals directly to Gen Z’s need for quick service - and shows them the long-term value of doing business with its brand.

    Furthermore, with its University Recruiting programme, Amazon offers students the chance of an internship or full-time employment. What student isn’t studying up on how best to get a job and at a global tech company, no less? A study by Talent Economy shows that 75 percent of Gen Z “are interested in a situation in which they have multiple roles within one place of employment.” The same study finds that 91 percent of Gen Z believe “technological sophistication would impact their interest in working at a company.” By having students buy from Amazon, Amazon is raising the real possibility of having them work at Amazon.

    When it comes to Gen Z, your brand strategy and your hiring strategy can complement each other. Gen Z aren’t looking for specific brands. They’re looking for brands that let them accomplish specific goals - whether for the short term or lifelong. Amazon knows that Gen Z seek brands who give back and they’re actively looking to invest in an entire generation’s future by providing them with Amazon-furnished services, products and perks that can set them up for success.

    Whether they’re studying in Shanghai, Sheffield or Sheboygan, it’s hard for Gen Z to ignore in-store signs and online banners that proclaim “50% off” the price of life’s essentials. That’s simply the nature of being a consumer in today’s ad-drenched world.

    But for brands to stand above and beyond that - for those looking to gain the lasting loyalty of Gen Z - there’s no better way than by investing in their personal well-being. A viable future and the kickstart to a career makes for the ultimate consumer rewards programme.

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