Huddle at Mindshare Portland: Decoding Gen Z

By Paris Hughes (Manager, Communications Planning, Global) and Mary-Kate Fotch (Senior Associate, Communications Planning, Global)

Share on Facebook

You’ve heard of Generation Z. Maybe you live across the pond and say “Zed”. Whatever you call them, they’re a complicated bunch on the tip of every marketer’s tongue. As the advertising world’s latest obsession, they’ve inspired a lot of questions amongst the people who work in it. Questions like “Who are gen-z?” or “What do they want?” and maybe most importantly “How do we speak to them without sounding like a bunch of out of touch old people?”

Sure, we know that they’re the kids born between 1995 and 2010. The ones who will be the largest generation of consumers by 2020, and already make up to $143 billion in annual buying power. But what really makes them tick? What do they stand for?

To answer these questions and more, Mindshare Portland hosted their first Huddle! 150 attendees, 19 partners and industry icons came together to present 24 sessions offering a glimpse into Gen-Z, proving that they do, in fact, eat more than laundry detergent. From authenticity and activism to fluidity and technology, our Portland office led an innovative and enlightening day for clients, media vendors, and partner agencies alike.

The opening keynote from Nadya Okamoto, the twenty-year-old activist and founder of PERIOD, served to set the tone for the day, driving home the message that would become an undercurrent in every session: Gen-Z are a force to be reckoned with, change-makers with the numbers to create and scale movements around the world. They’ve never known a world without Google, and can mobilize for causes quicker than any generation before them.

As a victim of domestic violence from a working class immigrant family, Nadya was no stranger to adversity. Nevertheless, she started PERIOD in 2015 with the mission of celebrating and providing menstrual products to those in need and eliminating the undercurrent of shame associated with having a period. Her aim is to create a world where every human feels ready to achieve their full potential, regardless of a natural need.

It’s this spirit of pursuit and entrepreneurship that kept floating to the top after a day of huddling. Through industry lead panels and discussions with actual Gen-Zers, attendees learned that this up and coming generation not only has the desire to make a difference, but also the tireless, and at times awe-inspiring, drive to follow through.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding Gen-Z, but that’s no surprise. As a generation raised in times of uncertainty, they are no stranger to a murky future. But after Portland’s huddle one thing can be said for sure: we’re better prepared to speak to them.