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Decoding Youth Identity in the Social Age

40% don’t feel represented by the images and ideas in advertising.

This paper is all about 16-24s.

Despite their age, this audience carry significant sway when it comes to the bottom line for brands. Fast Co research [Fast Company, 2018] says Gen Z will account for 40% of consumers by 2020 and they already influence more than $4 billion in discretionary spending in the US alone.

There is significant commercial value to this audience and brands that understand them are poised to make big gains right now, and in the future.

At ZAK we’re not a fan of demographics, unless there’s a scientific reason to think in this way. In this case, there is.

16-24 is the age you develop your identity. You understand who you are, how you want to come across to others and what those people may think of you. This period of brain development is underpinned by growth in what’s called the ‘social brain’. It’s a highly sensitive time when memories are heightened and decision making is ruled by your peer group (in a big way).

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“I compare myself a lot to other people, which is very easy to do but incredibly detrimental. I think it’s something that this entire generation does, whether they like to admit it or not.”

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