In an era where technology and culture are advancing at a rapid pace, the event industry faces the challenging task of constantly reinventing itself to meet the changing needs of different generations. In particular, Generation Z, born in the late 1990s to the early 2010s, presents a particular challenge to event planners with their unique blend of tech affinity, social consciousness and a deep-rooted desire for authenticity. So how can we create an event that caters to these young, dynamic and often elusive target groups?
Who is Generation Z?
Age undoubtedly plays a role in addressing target groups, especially Generation Z, known as the first digital natives. This generation, born between 1996 and 2009, is very different from previous generations. Why? They have grown up in a time of technological change, global connectivity, drastic terrorist events and growing awareness of diversity and environmental protection. All these factors have shaped their values and attitudes.
What drives Generation Z?
The members of Generation Z are looking for variety and fun. They are motivated by a desire for intense experiences and adventures. In their life phase of self-discovery, they value close relationships, family and the desire to enjoy life to the fullest.
Influence of social media and influencers
One of the main characteristics of this generation is their affinity for social media. Most of them use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp several times a week. Their areas of interest often develop through friendships, both personal and digital, and are strongly influenced by influencers.
Information gathering in the digital age
Generation Z obtains their information mainly online through websites, podcasts, blogs and social media. They expect products and services to be fast, intuitive, entertaining and sustainable.
Social responsibility and environmental awareness
Generation Z is deeply rooted in issues such as social responsibility, human rights, tolerance and environmental awareness. In a time marked by multiple crises, they find orientation in movements such as the climate movement and often live in an environmentally conscious way, for example by eating vegan food and using sustainable means of transport.
Professional success in the focus of Generation Z
For Generation Z, professional success is not necessarily in the foreground. Rather, they value a work-life balance and attach importance to shaping their lives according to their own ideas and values.
An event concept for Generation Z: How to inspire the “digital natives”!
Generation Z is growing up in a time of technological change and global awareness. They are different, they are digital, they are creative and they crave authentic experiences. But how do you inspire this young, energetic generation at an event? Here is an attractive article that sheds light on how to design an event concept specifically for Gen Z.
Digital integration is the be-all and end-all
For Generation Z, the internet is not just a tool, it is a habitat. So when planning an event for them, the focus should be on a seamless digital experience. This young generation is growing up in a digitally connected world where everything is available with a click or a swipe. So planning an event for them should focus on a seamless digital experience.
One way to do this is to provide an interactive event app. This app allows attendees to view the schedule on their phone or tablet, ask questions in real time and even participate in surveys, making them feel more involved.
AR and VR are tools to engage Generation Z at events
But the digitisation of the event shouldn't just stop at an app. Another effective way to engage Generation Z is through social media challenges. Harnessing the power of platforms like TikTok, Instagram & Co. can not only generate attention, but also encourage engagement. Challenges can be used before, during and after the event to ensure interaction and participation throughout.
There are other tools and approaches that can be considered when planning events:
- Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR): AR allows participants to see additional digital information or graphics in their physical environment through their smartphone or special glasses. VR can be used to create a fully immersive event experience where participants can immerse themselves in another world.
- Interactive wall displays: Large touch screens or interactive projections where guests can access information, share images or participate in interactive games.
- Chatbots: An automated system that answers attendees' questions, provides directions or helps with registration. It can be used around the clock and provides instant responses.
- Live streaming: Events can be streamed live via platforms such as YouTube, Twitch or specialised event platforms so that people who cannot physically attend can still participate.
- Gamification: incorporate games or competitive activities into the event where participants can earn points, climb leaderboards and win prizes.
- QR codes: These can be placed anywhere and provide attendees with quick access to information, digital goodies or links to interactive content.
- Wi-Fi access: Reliable and fast Wi-Fi is a must. Consider it the cornerstone for almost all other digital integration tools.
- Feedback tools: Use digital survey and feedback tools to gather opinions and suggestions after the event and constantly improve.
- Digital networking platforms: Offer platforms where participants can network, chat and make appointments before, during and after the event.
Overall, the key to successfully integrating digital tools into an event should be to enhance the attendee experience and get them more involved while reducing organisational overhead. It is important to find the right balance between technology and the human aspect of the experience.
Authenticity over perfection
Generation Z places great value on authenticity and wants experiences that are real and unadorned. Instead of being impressed by polished lectures, they prefer authentic discussion panels or storytelling sessions where real speakers share their experiences and stories. Another captivating element could be to give participants a behind-the-scenes look. By showing what happens in the background of an event, not only is transparency created, but it can even become a main attraction of the event. Immersing participants in the real world and understanding the 'how' and 'why' of an event can be of special interest to Gen Z.
Sustainability is not an extra, it is a must!
Much of Generation Z is not only tech-savvy and media-savvy, but also places a high value on environmental awareness and social responsibility. This deep concern for our planet and the future is reflected in their consumption habits and the initiatives they support. Therefore, a sustainable approach should be taken when planning events aimed at this generation.
By introducing zero-waste initiatives, for example by using recyclable materials and offering environmentally friendly options for food and beverages, you can show that you share and respect their values. Another important aspect is mobility. By encouraging travel by public transport or creating opportunities for carpooling, you send a clear message: that you are committed to reducing your carbon footprint and building a greener future. It is conscious decisions and actions like these that resonate with Generation Z and make the event a success in their eyes.
For more tips on Green Events, click here. Green events are not only playing an increasingly important role for Generation Z, but are a seminal aspect for the entire event industry.
Influencer integration: The leverage for Gen Z
The integration of Influencer:ins is an effective method to achieve a high resonance in Generation Z. Furthermore, the entire event concept - from programme to invitation to catering - should be tailored to the specific needs and interests of this target group.
Influencers' opinions have a considerable influence on Generation Z. Their authenticity and closeness to their community make them key figures when it comes to conveying messages or promoting products and services. Their authenticity and proximity to their community makes them key players when it comes to conveying messages or promoting products and services. An effective way to harness this power is to integrate them into events.
By inviting relevant influencers as speakers or moderators, you can increase the attention and interest of the target group. Their presence not only lends credibility to the event, but can also help to make complex or specific topics accessible to a wider audience.
In addition, influencer engagement before, during and after the event is invaluable. Not only can they promote the event, but they can also share their authentic experiences with their community. This can take the form of live streams, posts or stories that capture the charm of the moment and make the audience feel like they are part of the action, even if they are physically absent. It is this mix of inclusion and authenticity that makes the influence of influencers so powerful with Generation Z.
- Pre-event cooperation: Before the event starts, influencers can be involved to promote the event. This can be in the form of sponsored posts, story highlights or exclusive insights into the upcoming event.
- Live posts: Influencers can post or stream live during the event. This can give their followers an exclusive "in on the action" feeling and promote the event in real time.
- Interactive sessions with the audience: Influencers can lead discussion panels, Q&A sessions or workshops. This gives attendees the opportunity to meet their favourite influencers in person and engage with them directly.
- Exclusive content: Offer influencers the opportunity to create exclusive content that is only available during or after the event. This could be in the form of interviews, backstage insights or special moments.
- Involvement in the planning phase: Let influencers participate already in the planning phase. Their expertise and knowledge of their target audience can provide valuable feedback for the event design.
- Partnerships: Consider long-term partnerships with influencers who are a good fit for the brand or theme of the event. This can increase the credibility and reach of the event.
- Feedback sessions: After the event, influencers can provide valuable feedback on what went well and where there is room for improvement. This can take the form of reviews, surveys or direct feedback.
- Merchandising collaborations: Together with influencers, exclusive merchandising can be developed for the event. This can provide additional revenue streams for the organisers and give influencers the opportunity to extend their brand.
To ensure successful influencer engagement, it is important to find the right influencer for the event, have clear communication and expectation management, and ensure that both sides - the organisers and the influencer - benefit from the collaboration.
Best practice: Successful events for Generation Z
There are many events around the world that are specifically tailored to Generation Z and have great success. Some of them are aimed directly at Generation Z, while others, although targeting a broader audience, resonate particularly with this young generation. Here are some examples:
VidCon is an annual conference for people who live out their passion for online video. Originally conceived as a meeting place for YouTube artists and their fans, it has grown into a massive event that attracts creators, fans and industry professionals from all over the world. Gen Z flocks to see their favourite influencers live and learn about the latest trends in the online video world.
Fortnite World Cup
The popular online game Fortnite held its first World Cup in 2019, and it was a huge success, especially among the younger generation. It was not only an eSports event, but also a spectacle with live performances, fan experiences and much more.
Twitch, the leading platform for game streaming, hosts an annual conference for streamers and fans. Here, there are panel discussions, meet-and-greets and exhibitions that revolve around gaming and streaming - a magnet for Gen Z.
Sneaker culture has gained enormous popularity in recent years, especially among the younger generation. Sneaker Con is the world's largest event for sneakerheads to buy, sell and talk about the latest trends in the sneaker world.
It is important to note that the successful events for Generation Z often offer a combination of interactivity, cultural relevance and a strong community component. It's not just about putting on a 'show', but giving participants the opportunity to be part of the experience.