Businesses have raved about Millennials, raged over Generation Z, and now look towards those that will bring their brands through the years: Generation Alpha (or Gen Alpha). As the first generation to have been born entirely in the 21st century, these bright individuals will grow up in a world that is bringing issues such as diversity, inclusion, and technology’s impact on society, into the fore.
It’s vital for brands to understand the power this group will hold on their futures, including how this will change product innovation, advertising campaigns, and maybe even how this will influence a new era of evolving brand identity.
The purchasing power and influence Gen Alpha hold stands above that of their predecessors as they shape both products we consume, and the social media landscape they are promoted on. Thanks to their early access to technology (remember all those times you handed over that iPad or mobile phone to keep them quiet?), this generation will demand access to technology like never before. Everything will need to be connected, vibrant, and quick – oh, and don’t forget ethical.
In fact, we can assume that the ethical aspect will be of the highest priority for Gen Alpha. The generation above them is paving the way for them to be socially conscious and question everything. Even now we are seeing young people push for a reason to invest in companies before purchasing a product or service from them. It’s not as simple as, “I like this so I will buy it” anymore. This is shifting more towards “what journey has the product been on to get to me? What are this company’s values? Who am I benefitting or taking away from by buying this product?”.
What this means for brands is the need to think long and hard about what this demographic of consumers will require from them on a true personal level, whether that means showcasing a diverse offering of products and services, or partnering with the social causes that will matter most. If Gen Z are starting to look for this now, we can best believe that Gen Alpha will come to expect it as the norm.
The privacy aspect is also a big issue to keep in mind. Everything about their lives will have been public knowledge until the moment they are able to form the words to say “please don’t post that online”. Parents are documenting every step their child takes on social media for the rest of us to see, often even before birth. Chances are I will have seen more images and videos of my friend’s child than their own grandmother. This will mean one of two things for brands – Gen Alpha will either be similarly obsessed with social media, or they will go the other way and choose to keep their private life private. Either way, companies need to start thinking about both possibilities now.
Finally, this is all against a backdrop of Gen Alpha growing up in a world shaped by a global pandemic. They have lost out on a year, or longer, of education, been forced to stay indoors when they should have been out socialising with friends during their formative years, and are yet to face the economic repercussions. This will influence the way they see the world, and is also something companies should all keep in mind when launching any new products or services as consumption has changed.
Brands certainly have a lot to keep in mind as they continue to adapt to changing needs from the growing generations, but as long as they start thinking about this now, they’ll be A(lpha)-OK.