Coming of Age 2023 – Marketing to Generation Z

Your Future Member Coming of Age in 2023

No longer a tween, my son becomes a teenager today. It’s hard to believe that I now have a 13-year-old. It seems like just yesterday he was my inquisitive little buddy crawling around on all fours. Anything that had wheels, such as his stroller, he would flip over so he could spin them.

Those toddler days are, in fact, long gone. However, from Thomas the Train to Legos to now his fascination with rollercoasters, his love of everything that moves has stayed with him. Lord help us when it is time for him to drive (oh God, that’s only two years away)!

Let me gloat for a few precious moments:

  1. When he was 6 years old playing goalkeeper, a last second shot bounced off his face to save the game. He doesn’t recall the tears or the pain, but rather how his coach and players celebrated him.
  2. When he was 8 years old playing second base, a third baseman fired a wild pitch to him. With his foot still on the bag, and his glove high above his head, he made the catch. You could see the wonderment in his eyes that he caught it. He surprised himself!
  3. With me listening through his bedroom door, he played on keyboard the theme to “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” He has learned to play piano without sheet music but by ear.
  4. Ready to explore, the two of us went on an unexpected 27-mile bike trek when he was 9 years old. He was like the Energizer Bunny that day. He kept going and going and going.
  5. When he was at the state Junior Beta Club competition, his fifth-grade class competed in Song Fest. My son was a part of a flawless performance that earned them first place and a trip to nationals in New Orleans.

OK. Enough’s enough. Thanks for allowing this proud papa to reflect.

However, in less than five years, my son Thomas (and others like him) will become a prospective member of your community bank or credit union. Generation Z is their name (for now). They are even more Internet savvy than Millennials.

My son learned to play piano by ear by finding music he likes on YouTube. It’s also why tonight he will be getting music from Gorillaz, an alternative rock band that debuted 20 years ago that neither of his parents are all too familiar with – and we should be as Gen Xers.

Will you hook him on your community bank or credit union through text in a brochure or copy on a website?

I don’t think so.

This is the generation that watches videos of others playing video games. While you and I may be shaking our heads in disapproval, what these Internet broadcasters are doing is story-driven branding. They are framing the value and the feeling one gets from playing the game.

How are you building something that people care about?

Community banks and credit unions need to stop behaving like commodities. We need a people-centric approach with a blend of branding, web design, PR and content marketing. Our job is to make people feel better by banking with us. Good marketing starts with being intentional toward our members.

NOTE WELL: This is not just for Generation Z. Everyone loves a good story. And great stories get retold.

When my son becomes of age, how will you help him achieve his passions? How will you advance his hobbies? How will you communicate WHY your work matters to him? How will you deepen his understanding of what differentiates you? How will you encourage him to stay motivated?

Thanks for allowing a dad to share a few of my memories. Now, get out there and tell your brand story.

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