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Gain Gen Z Trust with Honesty and Affirmation of Important Issues

The vast majority of the Gen Z population — people born after 1995 — does not put much trust in brands, according to a new research study from BBMG and GlobeScan. Only one in five trusts brands to act in the best interests of society, the research shows, while nearly 25% can’t name even a single brand they consider to be “purposeful.”

That is not to say that Gen Z refuses to trust any company. Large companies can earn the trust of Gen Z by proving they are operating in the best interests of society through business strategy and goals that show clear intention. Gen Z is more likely to trust brands when a brand takes ownership of and accountability for the challenges they have helped create, the Gen Z Reckoning research shows.

Trust in large companies is also given when employees verify positive impact.

Embracing Disagreements

While some brands still find it risky to speak out on societal issues, Gen Z expects it. “This generation isn’t afraid to take a stand on issues and they expect the same from brands,” the study finds. “Gen Z expects brands to bring an honest perspective on today’s challenging topics, and they recognize that if you are going to say something meaningful, not everyone will agree.”

Gen Z is two times more likely than all other generations to care about issues of equality. They want a world that welcomes all people o matter their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, and is three times more likely than other generations to say that the purpose of business should be to “serve communities and society” rather than simply to “make good products and services.”

The generation, defined by polarized politics and a social media-powered desire for validation, identity and belonging, is taking a stand on issues, speaking out and harnessing their claim to a future they want, according to the study. And it expects brands to create space for authentic conversations and to create platforms that amplify their impact, the research from the brand and social innovation consultancy concludes.

To harness the buying power of the Gen Z consumer, the study suggests that brands:

—Reveal the human truth that unites the brand’s reason for being with the consumer’s authentic needs, hopes and aspirations;

—Publicly define its purpose, along with the values and ideals it is willing to fight for;

—Design brand experiences that invite and inspire brands and consumers to join forces and shape a future all can believe in.

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