The next generations’ quest for (macro)meaning

The next generations are purpose seekers. While their parents focused on building status and standing out in their careers, these youngsters want to make a career in every aspect of life. On a macro-level, they are on a personal quest for meaningful lives, macro-meaning. They want a smooth and happy life in all aspects, and strive for what one could call life careerism.

This is certainly reflected in what the next generations expect from brands: brands should not only fuel their micro-interests, they should also add up to this meaningfulness. Brands need to have a purpose, a greater goal, beyond their commercial agenda.

The next generations demand from brands that they do good, that they care for the world they are taking from. Millennials and Gen Z want companies and brands to create a better world. Corporate Social Responsibility no longer is a simple checkbox, it should be a brand’s manifest. And it does not lead to market differentiation either; youngsters consider these programs as a minimum viability for brands to participate in today’s market.

This generation is consciously thinking about the day after tomorrow. They are aware of the impact of their consumption habits on the environment. Sustainable is the new norm, and brands are challenged to give back to the planet they are taking from. The next generations demand from brands that they think about the long term and provide sustainable alternatives.

A product’s value is no longer only defined by what it can do today, but also by what it can bring in the future, the extent to which it can be recycled and create a sustainable base for new products to come. Brands are not only challenged to give a second life to products, but also to think about the next lives a product could bring. This macro-view on the world and acceptance of diversity have made today’s youth rejecters of micro-views and stereotypes. Brands need to reflect this macro-vision correspondingly and provide a meaning.

One for One, glasses TOMS

How TOMS fuels macro-meaning by improving lives through giving

TOMS, the shoe brand that also carries eyewear, bags and coffee, breathes social responsibility. The company’s famous one-for-one business model refers to its promise that for every pair of shoes sold, they deliver a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Similarly, when TOMS sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight of people in developing countries. Since its launch in 2006, TOMS has donated more than 70 million pairs of shoes to children in need. The brand has clearly paved the path for the rise of other private companies to engage in social change. TOMS and similar initiatives do not only do good as a company, but their model, connecting one donor with one recipient, makes the connection of the good cause more tangible, combining macro-meaning or purpose with guilt-free consumption at the customer’s side.

Would you like to read more on next-generation marketing? Have a look at our bookzine frAGILE: Is NextGen marketing more chemistry than science (based on dozens of international expert interviews with senior marketing executives of renowned brands such as PepsiCo, LEGO, Freitag, LEVI’s, Beiersdorf, Audible, MasterCard, AB InBev, eBay, IKEA, Tommy Hilfiger…). Or replay the full webinar.

Want to explore how your brand can connect with the next generations, and Gen Z in particular? Download our Gen Z report or book a workshop with our expert Joeri van den Bergh to find out how your brand can tap in to the next generation!

Ready for the Zoomers - Gen Z report

Ready for the Zoomers?

Gen Z are the digitally native generation: social-media-literate, always-on and hyper-informed. With many Gen Zers coming of age during the pandemic, the past two years put a mark on their lives and outlook on the future. In this report, we shed a light on what makes Gen Z different from the generations before them and what they expect from brands.

Request your download

You might also be interested in

Gen Z Metaverse 2 women with caps

Gen Z x Metaverse [ZA infographic]

Written by Joeri Van den Bergh / Katia Pallini / Sarah Van Oerle

77% of Gen Z has engaged in metaverse activities. Find out more about what Gen Z does and how they balance the online and offline worlds!

Gen Z Sustainable future 2 woman 1 guy

Gen Z x Sustainable future [ZA infographic]

Written by Joeri Van den Bergh / Katia Pallini / Sarah Van Oerle

51% of Gen Z in South Africa is uncertain about the future. Discover what global issues are worrying them, and how they will tackle injustice!

Gen Z Brands 1 guy 2 girls

Gen Z x Brands [ZA infographic]

Written by Joeri Van den Bergh / Katia Pallini / Sarah Van Oerle

Gen Z, the activist generation. Discover here how this affects what Gen Z in South Africa expects from brands.