In November, after conducting a “national survey” (really only 1,000 respondents, but I’m not going to split hairs here), MTV gave Generation Z its name. “The Founders” embodies everything this generation has the potential to do. And with all the pathetically nerdy names I’ve seen in the mix, this one is probably the best.
Just to give a little context, Generation Z includes anyone born in the late 90’s until now, though this is just a generalization based on the multitude of definitions from just as many sources. What’s important for you to note is that they’re hitting the high school age right now, which means they’ll be signing up for your volunteer projects (if they haven’t already); they’re getting their first jobs, so they’ve got a little cash flow; and they might even take some of your summer internships.
You’ve got to know that this generation is nothing to balk at. And as much as we shake our heads in dismay over some of the things they do and say, we’ve got to accept it. In fact, Millennials have been around for quite some time, and most companies STILL DON’T GET IT.
So how can you get ahead and start influencing these youngin’s now? Here are a few ways:
Help them build their brand. I graduated college in the height of the most recent economic downturn. I was interviewing for receptionist positions with people who had Master’s degrees. And do you know what Generation Z was doing? Watching their older siblings move back home after college and struggle to land a job that even remotely resulted from their new degree. And they’re just not going to let that happen. Founders are taking opportunities as early as they can to help get ahead and market themselves later on. Forget getting a job at McDonald’s – they want to be your social media ambassador or help you code a webpage. Let them. Think about creating a Gen Z only volunteer position at your office this summer and let them help you with a few tech-focused projects. Remember, most of these guys haven’t ever lived in a world without smartphones (insert surprised-face emoji here).
Make your marketing more authentic. Authenticity is super important to the Gen Z’ers. They want your organization to have a face. They want to know who you are and be able to identify you on the street. Use some of your social media real estate to tell your story behind the scenes.
Remember that making an impact still matters. This is a generational trait that’s carrying over from the Millennials. And it’s a good one. Founders want to make an impact on their world and they want their networks to know it. Whether it’s volunteering, participating in social media campaigns, or making a donation, make sure you have a way for them to let their networks know that they’re helping your organization.
What is your organization doing to integrate The Founders into your strategy? Tell us in the comments below!