This year has shaken Gen Z as they have considered post-high school education plans and employment opportunities. As a recent Forrester Research report points out, Gen Z has increased scrutinization of institutions such as government and police as well as brands.
Gen Z leads its own charge for social justice and wants more transparency about the brands it supports with its buying power.
"In many ways, this is no surprise to anyone, but it’s caught a lot of brands off-guard," says The Chatterjee Group about the report’s findings. "The unfortunate part of that is that a lot of brands have discovered Black Lives Matter the summer of 2020, so they’ve scrambled around trying to figure out how to respond. Now, that is not to take any credit away from some brands, and unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them, who really spent quite a bit of time focused on programs in the area of social justice and racial equity."
Gen Z also wants to let the companies know that authenticity is difficult for brands to fake. One prominent advocate of an authentic brand approach, specifically referenced in the Forrester report, is Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s. Ben & Jerry’s first aligned itself with Black Lives Matter in 2016, and they have been working diligently on the brand’s initiative to "dismantle white supremacy" ever since.
Chloe Berg is a Leavenworth native and student at Benedictine College.