While the whole world sees millennials and Gen Z as two distinct generations, Korea has come up with a concept where they pair both these groups into the same collective because of their similar mindset, values and spending habits. Generation MZ refers to all the young people born between 1981 and 2005.
To understand the changes needed to be made by the financial companies to lure these customers, we need first to understand the mindset and governing philosophy of this whole generation. The postmodern and digital world they grew up in has shaped their thought process and ideals differently when compared to older generations.
The five broadest characteristics of the MZ Generation can be listed as: fearless spending, digital literacy, self-care focus, brand consciousness and artistic motivation. Understanding how to cater to each of their natures can be a way for financial companies to break through into this massive group of potential consumers.
MZ Generation isn't afraid to spend
Even to those people who make fun of the MZ Generation, it is a well-known fact that this generation is not afraid of spending their income (sometimes more than their income) on the goods and services they like. Saving is also a priority, but it comes second only after they are done with experiencing the best they can with the income they have and they aren't afraid to purchase stuff on credit or installments. That's why it is sensible for the companies to provide goods and services for this generation as per their demand. Provision for installments at a low-interest rate can also be used as an attractive option to lure MZ Generation customers.
MZ Generation is fluent in digital technologies
This generation has lived through the inception, growth and development of computer and information technology. So it is no surprise that they prefer digital mediums over physical stores to purchase their goods. Also, they are willing to spend a lot more on digital services like audio and video streaming, online games and in-game purchases. Plus, they like to be up-to-date with changing global popular trends and modify their purchase decisions based on that. One of the best examples of a company catering to Generation MZ's evolving tastes based on trends on the digital front can be seen in the game, "Fortnite," where they provide in-app purchases for themes, costumes and weapons based on new Hollywood releases. This is an efficient and effective business model that should be replicated by Korean corporations to create a distinct brand image in MZ Generation customers' minds.
MZ Generation is more conscious about self-care compared to other generations
The recent surge in global demand for "superfoods" like Quinoa, Avocado, Chia seeds, Acai, etc. has resulted primarily due to concerns of the MZ Generation about their health and well-being. Also, the use of products like Manuka honey, African shea butter, snail slime, etc. in expensive cosmetics is commonplace nowadays because of increased demand by this same generation. Usage of such cosmetic and self-care products is done by all members of this generation, regardless of their gender. Korean companies can capitalize on this knowledge and produce high-value products with the aforementioned ingredients, either by producing the inputs within Korea or by importing them through foreign nations to meet the increasing demand.
MZ Generation is brand conscious, but with a twist
The recent stand taken by global conglomerates like Apple and Amazon pledging climate-friendly goals and promising employees satisfaction in the workplace is a result of the highly selective brand choices of millennials and Gen Z all over the world. Compared to people from other generations, the MZ Generation is willing to pay more just to ensure that the brand they're buying from is an authentic, transparent and socio-environmentally responsible company. Many multi-national cosmetic, skincare and lingerie brands have come under great scrutiny and suffered massive losses because the present generation does not support those brands' ideals about how someone's body, skin or hair should look like. From these examples, Korean brands should learn to modify their brand image in such a way that their principle clearly expresses eagerness for environmental conservation, social justice for employees and consumers alike, as well as body positivity for all genders, classes and colors.
MZ Generation craves to express their emotions, preferably through an artistic medium
The MZ Generation is the generation of content creators. They feel an immense need to share their personal stories through multiple media like music, movies, paintings, blogs, vlogs, animations and so on. With this generation's constant exploration of truth and meaning in this digital world full of misinformation and fake news, a platform to explore and express their findings to the world holds great value to them. So, Korean financial companies can assist them by providing a platform for their creative outlet. Companies can choose a particular creative medium to allow their customers to share their experiences of using the brand's products without any restriction on what they're allowed to say. In such cases, the ingenuity and honesty of the company would be universally praised and if the goods or service they provide is actually up to the standards, as a bonus they can get free advertisement via word-of-mouth.
The points mentioned above are the ways we can peek into the psyche of this unique generation. But trying to score profit off them by exploiting their ideals won't be a good bet in long run. To be successful and win the trust of the whole generation, there is no alternative to being a transparent, authentic, environment-friendly and socially responsible corporation that delivers quality products consistently and is quick to evolve based on their demands and feedback. Though the generations and their thought processes keep changing, the path to a long-lasting and successful corporation always remains the same.
Shristi Tiwari is a student at Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal.