1. A Look at Generation Z and the Future of Events

    A Look at Generation Z and the Future of Events

    Meet Generation Z: a powerhouse group born roughly between 1994 and the early 2000s that make up more than a quarter of the US population. What’s important to know about Generation Z? There is a lot to think about with respect to how this generation will choose to interact with branded events.

    First True Digital Generation

    To begin with, Generation Z is really in tune with what is going on in the world around them and they are the first true digital generation. Born after 1998, Generation Z members will be the next trendsetters. They account for over 25% of the United States population, and as the baby boomers enjoy the highlights of their twilight, they will become even more prominent.

    New Realists

    Labeled by many as the “new realists”, their early lives and their future outlook is tempered by the Great Recession and their very early experience of 9/11. They are as affected by school shutdowns due to mass shootings as they are by terrorism and climate change. They support the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage. Most of all their lives are shaped by continuous access to digital and mobile devices.

    Fighting For Change

    They also appear to be the next generation ready and willing to face and fight the injustice in the world. Take the actions of Malala Yousafzai for example. Her activism led to her winning the Noble Peace Prize at such a young age. Statistics show that 25% of Generation Z’ers are volunteers with local organizations. They want and believe they deserve only meaningful work.

    They are independent and sure of themselves. They are determined to change the culture and they are big enough to do it in the same way that they through their sheer size the baby boomers changed the culture. They are as mobile as any generation in the history of the world and they are in constant contact with each other through digital media. 

    Information at Their Fingertips

    Through this constant connection through digital devices, they have a greater access to information 24/7 than any generation has had since birth. According to a Pew Research report, “Teens and Technology 2013,” 78 percent of today’s teenagers have mobile phones, of which 74 percent can access the Internet. They use Kindle to read a book, Amazon and Netflix to watch television, or they catch Nickelodeon and Disney on their phones. They download textbooks to their iPads. YouTube is as popular as any television show if not more so. They have moved on from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram at the same time that their parents are discovering Facebook.

    Branding and Event Planning with Generation Z

    So what does all this mean for the future of events and event planning? Who will lead the way when Generation Z hits the workplace in force and their bosses send them to trade shows or annual meetings? What will entice the Gen. Z’ers to not only attend events but also pay attention while they are there? What tools, what set ups, what resources will keep them engaged at a trade show?

    The Realistic Generation Z

    How do you communicate effectively with Generation Z’ers regarding business events or trade shows? Gen. Z’ers are more likely to be involved in branded sponsorship events for their company such as a run or a fundraiser than a trade show. The event producers of the future will need ways to draw them in, and technology – specifically digital communication technology – will be an essential piece of the equation.

    Address These Z Values:

    • The Gen Z’ers are an ambitious group and their expectations of themselves and their surroundings are high. They have been overachievers since daycare. If you are going to attract them to your branded events, you need to have a way of challenging and rewarding them.
    • Your event must be digital and exciting but not time-consuming. Generation Z values their time and they want to know they are trading their time and money for value.
    • Speak their language in small quick bursts that are shareable. Use the same tools that they use –symbols, letters, signs, videos, and graphics. Make your brand usable, as a means for them to express themselves and you will own the future. Tell your story in symbols and videos on multiple screens and in various formats.
    • Your relationship with the Gen Z’s must be honest and straightforward. They are realists and they want honesty from everyone they deal with. The last thing they want to hear is how things used to be or have always been. They have a cutting edge vision.

    Reaching Gen Z’ers at Branded Events

    Here are just a few examples from branded events put on by VDA Productions that have the components necessary to reach out to the digital oriented Generation Z.

    The Charging Valet: Once you get the Generation Z members to your event, meeting or social activity they need to know that their phones and tablet, watches even will be fully charged and allow them to communicate the entire time they are at your event. “the Charging Valet from VDA Productions is a must-have amenity,” providing the ultimate in event sponsorship and corporate branding opportunities.

    Capable of fitting into any footprint, the Charging Valet allows for a better customer experience by providing the flexibility to not have to choose between continuous conference engagement and device charging.”

     

    The Media Hub: You must have a Media Hub at your branded event where Gen. Z’ers can sit and watch videos, product launches, and corporate presentations. VDA Productions has done many of these for tradeshows and corporate gatherings. For Generation Z’ers, this type of lounge should be a magnet when they are at any kind of branded event. The event facilitator needs to have interactive functions available at the Media Hub for them.

    Logos and Deconstructed Dimensions:
    Perhaps one of the most innovative activities at VDA that would appeal to Gen Z’ers is their work with logos. Most of Generation Z, though team and cooperation oriented, are very entrepreneurial themselves. Logos would be significant to them, but not just any logo. VDA has developed cutting-edge Deconstructed Dimensions for logos. Their logo designs are not 2 or 3 dimensional. The logo is deconstructed into many sections and then put back together in an entirely new, state-of-the-art design. This multilayered new design is innovative and creative while remaining true to the original. This is just the kind of thing that would appeal to Generation Z.

    These ideas and tips will help you plan events and activities that will draw in Generation Z, and keep them once you have them...Hopefully. Till the next great development, solution, event idea, etc...Just make sure to stay on the cutting edge!

    For more information about this topic or to inquire about any of the event solutions specified in this article, you can reach out to Meghan Welborn, Senior Director of Marketing at VDA Productions: meghan@vdaproductions.com or @meghanwelborn

    You can also send an inquiry to sales@vdaproductions.com 

    Till next time!

    Meghan 

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