For decades, marketers have primarily focused on the self-interest of consumers when selling products. It’s a principle that has driven cultural leaders to make sweeping statements like “All politics is local” and “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Communicators have traditionally viewed their No. 1 job as being able to show how a product or service was relevant and beneficial to the individual. Does it save me money or time? Does it improve my life? Meanwhile, journalists tried to get in the heads of their readers, posing the question of a hypothetical viewer: “What’s in it for me?”
When it comes to Gen Z, the better question might be: “What’s in it for us?”
In a recent report from PR firm Edelman, the priorities of young consumers are much more likely to focus on the collective good rather than personal relevance.
Not only is the relevance to self the least important attribute to Gen Z, per Edelman’s report, but it is significantly lower than adult demographics (38% for Gen Z vs. 51% for adults).
The upshot? Edelman argues that there is a new journey to build trust that brands must follow—one that is tied to investment in public good, such as action on climate change and social justice initiatives.