Roman Klis and Thorsten Rudeck reflect upon changes in today's consumer behaviour - from COVID-19 influences, the Generation Z to the factor purpose and the importance of non-verbal key visuals - and state what it takes for brands to succeed in this fast-changing world.

published in markenartikel magazine, Dec 2020 (German Article)


The last few decades have seen a lot of changes in consumer values. Starting with the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) to Generation X (1965-1979), then to Millennials/ GenY (1980-1995) and finally to Centennials/ GenZ (born after 1996).
As consumer values shift, we have seen an increasing rise of distrust in big brands and a shift to smaller, often local and purpose-driven brands, which embody values such as authenticity, naturalness, sustainability as well as organic and wholesome product characteristics. In addition, for the first time in history, the older generations strive for the values of the younger generations. And as we are entering the second decade of this millennium, we see further acceleration of these consumer trends worldwide, as Centennials enter the workforce and Baby Boomers start to retire in increasing numbers.

While GenY are digital pioneers („Digital Immigrants“) who migrated from the analogue world, GenZ are the true „Digital Natives“ being born into a world of high-speed internet and with an innate familiarity with technology. Both generations live conscious lifestyles and are questioning existing structures, driven by a desire to make the world a better place. While both penalise brands, which are not seen as purpose-driven, GenZ is more outspoken and vigorously uses social media to give a critical voice to perceived historical injustice and malpractices.
Looking for brands that reflect the real – imperfect- world, Centennials avoid traditional ideals of beauty. For them beauty is uniqueness and individualism. GenY shares this belief but it is GenZ which expresses it strongly in public and also in their consumption behaviour. Therefore, real people become their preferred brand advocates, instead of celebrities. In order to communicate successfully with GenZ, brands have to be bold, simple as well as non-conformist in their brand appearance, give real and simple messages and finally follow a sustainable and purpose-driven brand approach.      

Check out the full article in German at markenartikel magazine.