Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s been several weeks since my last post. Like most people, I went into a holiday-induced hibernation for a bit. But also, I hadn’t seen anything worth writing about regarding Gen Z.

Until now.

Barkley/FutureCast just released some fascinating new research on what they’re calling the Pivotal Generation. It’s not a term I’d heard before, but yeah, it fits.

Teens today are pivoting away from common Millennial behaviors and attitudes and are setting new standards that brands must be aware of to be successful in the future.

The report showcases the pivotal force Gen Z brings to the market, and how brands that are willing to play by Gen Z’s rules will win their loyalty. Those that don’t will be ignored.

I urge all marketers to download and read the full report, but if you just want the CliffsNotes, here are four key insights the research confirmed about the Pivotal Generation:

  1. They want to work for their success, not be discovered.
  2. They believe equality is non-negotiable.
  3. They want brands to be real so they can be unique.
  4. They have their own system of rules and etiquette for how they use social media.

To be successful with this critical consumer group (remember: they wield $44 billion in direct buying power), brands must learn to play by Pivotals’ rules:

  1. Shift from playing the hero to playing the supportive role.
  2. Support the issues at the core of what matters most to teens today.
  3. Present reality while allowing Pivotals the opportunity to create a unique identity.
  4. Utilize various social media platforms to play the right role in Pivotals’ curated selves.

What worked with Millennials won’t automatically work with Gen Z. Brands MUST rethink what it means to connect with consumers today.

I can’t help but wonder what brands will take the lead with Gen Z in 2017. This Gen Z marketer/mom will be watching! Will you?