In collaboration with Heineken Ireland and Orchard Thieves, MCCP sought to delve into who Gen Z in Ireland really are today and understand how Orchard Thieves could connect more deeply with this new youth generation.
With so many global reports and studies available, we had some indication about how Gen Z’s values differed to their Gen Y predecessors but, we were lacking insight into whether all of the myths that this generation of eco warriors, pragmatists and entrepreneurs was true in an Irish context.
As a group of Millennials working on the project, it was crucial that we got out of our own bubbles and biases about this generation, our methodology and approach needed to move beyond trend reports and focus groups to immersing in Gen Z’s world to truly understand the needs, beliefs, hopes and fears that this generation are facing in Ireland today.
MCCP designed a layer of qualitative and quantitative methodology that enabled us to get to the very heart of values, tribes, culture, and sub-cultures that define Gen Z in Ireland.
Firstly, to do this we carefully considered the profile of who we would speak to. At the early stages of the study, we went beyond speaking to mainstream consumers and spoke to Gen Z that were trend-setters, all at the edge of culture, comfortable doing their own thing rather than following the crowd.
As a generation of digital natives, it was crucial we immersed into their digital world, we achieved by conducting a digital ethnography exercise with tasks detailing, their hopes and fears for the future, TikTok’s of their nights out and social media ride-alongs detailing who is influential to their generation.
In the later stages of our process, we conducted expert interviews with Gen Z entrepreneurs, sense checked our findings in co-creation sessions in the pub and conducted safaris going on nights out with Gen Z in Dublin followed by validating our insights further in a nationally representative quantitative study.
So, following a robust study to challenge our biases and deep dive in Gen Z’s lives today, what are the key insights we uncovered about this generation in Ireland today?
FRUSTRATION WITH THE PAST FUELS THEIR NEED TO ACT:
Gen Z live in an intensely globalised world and although all generations can claim to have lived through crises, for Gen Z the key difference is that the crises are amplified through social media meaning Gen Z are inundated with updates on crises via their phone’s hour by hour, minute by minute. Seeing so many crises unfold has created a sense of frustration with the mistakes and failures of previous generations. They believe they have inherited of a future of uncertainty and because of this they have adopted a ‘damage control mindset’ taking matters and their future into their own hands with Climate Change, Inequality, Intolerance and Lack of inclusion the wider societal issues they believe need to be solved in Ireland. Crucially, having lost trust in others, they believe they are the ones who must create the solutions.
KIND AND CARING THEY WANT TO CREATE AN OPEN AND TOLERANT SOCIETY:
Again driven by a frustration with the past, Gen Z desire to break away from a society where issues were hidden and brushed under the carpet. They instead want to create an open, transparent, and empathetic society where everyone is accepted for who they are.
They are inherently a kind and inclusive generation with mutual respect for people and the planet at the heart of their values.
As they value authenticity and lifting the lid on uncomfortable issues, Gen Z reject the perfectly packaged world of Gen Y; they want what they see from peers, influencers, and brands to be relatable and honest not curated.
CRAVE FUN AND ESCAPISM TO DETACH:
More than any other generation, Gen Z have the language and tools to communicate their emotions and their stresses, they are acutely aware of the need to look after their mental wellbeing and do this by dis-engaging from news media and embracing fun with friends on social media and pursuing activities in the outdoors to reset.
As a platform TikTok resonates particularly strongly as it fuels Gen Z’s core values of freedom, creativity, community, and individuality. It stimulates fun, escapism and connection, allowing Gen Z to be silly, not take themselves too seriously and embrace their individuality in a created world, not a curated one.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BRANDS?
- BE TRANSPARENT OR DIE: Gen Z believe that they are the ones who will create change but need brands to be transparent and honest to help them do the right thing. Transparency and authenticity will become the deal breakers for this generation.
- WALK THE TALK: Gen Z resent brands that try and take them for a fool. If brands are to take a stance on an issue in wider society, they must walk the talk and support causes in a tangible and credible way, 365 days a year via products, services, initiatives, and donations, not paying lip service for comms campaign.
- INSTIL JOY IN THE MIDST OF ONGOING UNCERTAINTY: As Gen Z have been faced with ongoing challenges in their youth, there is an opportunity for brands to help Gen Z have fun and detach from their day-to-day uncertainties.
This was a fascinating study that MCCP were proud to partner with Heineken Ireland and Orchard Thieves on. If you would like to hear more about how MCCP can help your brand resonate with Gen Z over a cuppa, please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org