The near omnipresence all things internet among every age group creates opportunities for both corporate brands and health-related agencies to engage with contemporary audiences… especially among the digitized Generation Z. The digital age, in which youth are increasingly online, presents both challenges and opportunities for influencing their health and well-being. The potential to target and reach young people via online channels, both for companies selling unhealthy products and for institutions trying to positively influence healthy behavior, is unparalleled.
Understanding Generation Z
Gen Z was born in the 1990s and raised in the 2000s, during some of the most profound changes in the century. They grew up in a world with web, internet, smartphones, laptops, freely available networks, and digital media. The constant use of mobile devices allows access “anywhere at any time” meaning that people are exposed to marketing messages on social media at or near the point of purchase. This implies that, for Generation Z, technology is a big part of their identity.
Ergonomics of digitized age
Thorough research is being done by companies on the behavioral characteristics of this generation, at the time of recruitment, for the sustainable growth of the organizations. Organizations are challenged not only to serve Gen X and Y but also to foresee the workplace needs of the rising Generation Z. Findings indicate that Gen Z values transparency, self-reliance, flexibility, and personal freedom. Failing to provide work environments conducive these Gen Z values could result in frustration among peers, reduced productivity, low morale, and a lack of employee engagement. Further, this group is looking for enough independence to prove themselves while earning immediate recognition.
Let’s go back to that key identity point, technology. Gen Z has never lived in a world without a smartphone or an iPad and they fully anticipate access to this tech in the workplace. While access to tech is important, they prefer in-person, face-to-face communication and desire employers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions. This is indicative of a shift in the workplace environment, where success is gauged less on experience and more on ideas and contributions.
Social responsibility of digital marketing
Social responsibility in the age of digital transformation is important. Increased engagement of a company with its clients and consumers, means that advertisements have greater ability to impact behaviors including eating habits, fitness, appearance, etc. Social responsibility holds that businesses practice good citizenship, balancing their money-making operations with activities that benefit society, be it on a local, national, or global scale. Good example, a plastics company contributing to research efforts for biodegradable plastics. Bad example, promoting products or services as environmentally-friendly when they’re not. This tips off consumers to the company’s lack of ethical marketing; such behavior can ultimately hurt the brand. Marketing products and services ethically with an eye toward how the company might engage their clients and consumers through social causes, like support of environmental concerns, can play a role in building good relationships with Gen Z audiences. This generation has an increased awareness and sensitivity to global problems like climate change, sexual/gender equality, access to healthcare, etc. Certainly, the strategies that seem the most effective are those in which a company finds a way to link its core product directly to a socially responsible endeavor.
CSR and its implications
The fundamental concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is that a company does not function in isolation from society. The policies made by companies have far-reaching ramifications for its employees, the environment, and society as whole. Companies could benefit greatly by social accountability and investing a part of its profits in a philanthropic initiative. CSR also empowers the company’s employees by giving them a sense of pride in the organization and a reason to invest their considerable talents and time in advancing the company’s brand. The bonus of implementing CSR is that it enhances the brand reputation of the company in the local, national, or global community.
The objective behind carrying out CSR campaigns is to generate engagement and brand loyalty through doing good in the world. Since the world is so vastly connected online, there’s no better way of promoting company values than through social media channels. While a CSR initiative might not yield immediate results, such programs have long-term benefits by building brand awareness and client and consumer loyalty… for all generations.