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In the quest to resonate with the socially savvy Gen Z audience, we’ve gathered insights from eight marketing and executive professionals. They share effective strategies ranging from communicating directly and authentically to showcasing values and engaging honestly. Dive into the collective wisdom of CEOs and Marketing Directors on how to build genuine trust with Gen Z consumers.

  • Communicate Directly and Authentically
  • Prioritize Transparency and Cybersecurity
  • Leverage User-Generated Content
  • Engage with Video Marketing
  • Promote Honesty and Community Outreach
  • Highlight Local Partnerships and Experiences
  • Showcase Sustainable Practices
  • Engage and Express Genuine Values

Communicate Directly and Authentically

Patrick Beltran, Marketing Director, emphasizes that Gen Z prefers direct, visual, and authentic communication in marketing. “In my experience, Gen Zers are straightforward, no-nonsense individuals. We’ve learned to get straight to the point in all our communications and marketing efforts aimed at them. Most likely, a Gen Zer wouldn’t even read a lengthy article—they have an attention span of about 8 seconds. This means every moment counts in your marketing; you have just a few seconds to grab and hold their attention. That’s one reason why video and platforms like TikTok are so effective. Gen Zers are also extremely resourceful and efficient. For instance, when they visit healthcare providers, they come well-prepared with data, information, and knowledge, having done their research in advance. 

They’re less likely to accept someone else’s opinion or advice without question. They appreciate providers who communicate clearly and directly. Instead of trying to fit Gen Z into a traditional mold, we need to rethink our approach. If you can meet them where they are, with a direct, visual, and authentic message, you have the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.”

Prioritize Transparency and Cybersecurity

Elmo Taddeo is a CEO and he highlights Gen Z’s preference for honesty and authenticity in brands. “Gen Z values honesty and authenticity. They want to know what a brand stands for and how it operates. At my company, we prioritize transparency in our communications and services. We provide clear and straightforward information about our IT solutions, ensuring our clients understand exactly what they are getting and how it benefits them. Connecting genuinely with Gen Z requires showing that you care about their concerns. For example, at my company, we focus on cybersecurity, which is a significant concern for many young consumers. We regularly share tips and insights on how to stay safe online. This educates our audience and shows that we prioritize their safety and well-being.”

Leverage User-Generated Content

Arturo Gutierrez, Director of Merchandising, underscores the pivotal role of user-generated content in building trust with Gen Z through its authenticity and transparency.“To gain Gen Z’s trust, you’ve got to see customer feedback and reviews as user-generated content (UGC). Building credibility with a Gen Z audience hinges on authenticity and transparency. To establish trust with this discerning group, leveraging UGC is key. User-generated content offers a genuine, unfiltered view through a community-driven approach to social content. By incorporating UGC into their strategy, brands can better align with Gen Z’s preference for authentic, relatable content.

Even if fans aren’t naturally creating content around your brand, you can still utilize reviews to gain some serious credibility. For instance, we have successfully repurposed feedback from our community of product testers to promote a new product launch on social media, which, has really resonated with Gen Z, helping us connect with them on a genuine level.”

Engage with Video Marketing

Lydia Valentine, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, emphasizes video marketing as essential for connecting with Gen Z across platforms. “Video marketing is crucial. Gen Z loves video content, and it’s the most effective way to build trust and connect with them. Whether it’s short-form or long-form, on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or your own website, video plays a pivotal role in reaching out to Gen Z. In the past, a well-crafted print ad in the local newspapers did the trick. It was cost-effective, straightforward, and quick. However, video marketing is a different beast. Many marketers are still figuring out how to effectively engage in it. The content needs to be informative, entertaining, and captivating, which is not an easy feat, especially when you only have about eight seconds to capture their attention.”

Promote Honesty and Community Outreach

Staci Anderson, Director of Marketing, points out the importance of transparency and community involvement in building trust among Generation Z. “We’ve found that building trust with this demographic starts with being open and honest about our products, services, and values. We’ve made a concerted effort to provide detailed information about our materials, manufacturing processes, and sustainability initiatives on our website and social media channels. To connect with Gen Z on a deeper level, we’ve also launched a community outreach program that supports local organizations and initiatives that align with our values. This has not only helped us build relationships with Gen Z consumers but also demonstrated our commitment to making a positive impact on the world. By showcasing real-life examples of how our products have enhanced their homes and lives, we’ve been able to create a sense of authenticity and trust that resonates with Gen Z consumers.”

Highlight Local Partnerships and Experiences

Alex Cornici, a Director of Marketing, focuses on transparency with local partnerships and interactive dining experiences to build trust and community among Gen Z customers. “We’ve partnered with local farms and producers, highlighting their stories on our website and social media channels. This transparency not only builds trust but also attracts Gen Z customers who value social responsibility and environmental consciousness. We encourage our young patrons to share their dining experiences on social media, showcasing our food and ambiance through their own unique lens. This not only amplifies our reach but also fosters a sense of community and belonging among Gen Z diners.

We also recognize that Gen Z values experiences over material possessions. That’s why we’ve introduced interactive elements to our dining experience, such as chef-led cooking demonstrations and themed tasting events. These initiatives create lasting memories and a deeper connection with our brand, turning Gen Z customers into loyal advocates.”

Showcase Sustainable Practices

Adam Bogle, Senior Marketing Coordinator, emphasizes sustainability and community engagement as key strategies to connect authentically with Gen Z consumers. “This generation is passionate about protecting the environment and supporting businesses that share their values. By showcasing our commitment to sustainable practices, such as using recycled materials and energy-efficient designs, we can resonate with Gen Z consumers and build trust in our brand. To connect with Gen Z genuinely, we’ve launched a social media campaign that encourages customers to share photos of their experiences. By showcasing real-life examples of how our products enhance aesthetics and functionality, we’ve been able to create a sense of community and excitement around our brand.”

Engage and Express Genuine Values

Dan Ponomarenko, a CEO, stresses that building a connection with Generation Z requires honesty and community involvement. “At my company, we’ve connected genuinely by showcasing our brand’s values and commitment to social causes. Engaging with them through relatable content and honest communication has been key. For instance, sharing behind-the-scenes processes and actively responding to feedback on social media platforms fosters a sense of trust and community, resonating deeply with Gen Z consumers.”

Special thanks to Featured for their continued help in the creation of this blog post. Click below for more strategies from the Nativa team regarding Business Strategies.

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