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According to research, Gen Z tends to reject mainstream pop culture and prefer niche cultures, and these trends are changing more quickly than ever. As a result, mass marketing is unlikely to be successful with this generation.

Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up with the internet readily available and omnipresent, and they inhabit a society where even those with the most specialized interests may find a tribe of like-minded others. With algorithms pointing them to new hobbies and online groups where they might find friends and fellowship, its members have developed. They appear to appreciate variation, which presents difficulties for marketers used to using broad-based demographic targeting tactics and specific descriptions of what is shaping society.

To assist advertisers in demystifying the TikTok generation, media firm Horizon Media and its social content agency Blue Hour Studios have released a new report. To identify developing themes and groupings, the organizations combed through more than 1,000 different forms of Gen Z-generated material from well-known apps. The study identified five categories of the 12 different subcultures that Gen Z has shown an interest in when combined with interviews.

Maxine Gurevich, senior vice president of cultural intelligence at Horizon Media’s WHY Population, a division that studies cultural and sociological habits, asserted that “Gen Z is not just a monolithic group anymore.” “Just that fragmentation is intensifying far more than it ever did. In terms of their interests, what they were doing, and how they were coming together, I really wanted to comprehend them better.

Gurevich told Digiday that rather than the standard audience segmentations on Gen Z, this guide was intended to give continual research that would be updated as these groups changed. The WHY Group began by concentrating on the “passion points” of this generation rather than specific commercial prospects or industry verticals.

According to the poll, most people in the 18 to 25 age group (91%) believe there is no such thing as “mainstream” pop culture. Instead, Gen Z customers are embracing specialized societies and subcultures, including “cover lads,” who are trend-setters in men’s grooming and beauty, as well as streetwear and gamer girls. The Gen Z Field Guide provides marketers with a road map to reach Gen Z consumers, a population that can be challenging to connect with because social media algorithms are always changing.

Gurevich added, “I think it’s vital to recognize that marketers know that they’re ever-evolving, fluid, and incredibly hard to pin down them in order to properly meet them. But now, more than ever, you need to comprehend their [social] algorithm. Their algorithm defines and magnifies their passion points, rattles them, and defines their algorithm.

Gen Z will also become more in demand as they become older as consumers and trendsetters. According to research and consultancy company Gen Z Planet, the generation will have an estimated $360 billion in purchasing power in 2021. In order to help brands navigate the market, it will be crucial to understand their affinities and communities.

The main conclusions from Horizon Media have been summarized here along with a list of some of those groups.

According to the report, 64% of Gen Z customers desire customized brand experiences.

Additionally, they favor social media for discovery over Google search. For their diverse interests, these apps include TikTok, YouTube, Discord, Telegram, and Twitch.

94% of Gen Z think that television broadcasts and motion pictures “reveal the dark side of humanity.” This demonstrates the desire in adopting genuine crime and horror content as a form of release.

This year’s Gen Z respondents agreed that “acquiring fresh experiences and skills” is more valuable than attending traditional schools.

The importance of diversity and inclusivity may be seen in the 82% of Gen Z participants who indicated they saw both masculine and feminine aspects in themselves.

Digital Subcultures

Communities and subcultures have always been active in fashion throughout the 20th century. But as the digital era progresses, we are starting to notice that these subcultures are evolving. A great quantity of knowledge on music, fashion, religion, and other cultures is available at the press of a button for individuals exposed to social media and technology from an early age, such as Generation Z. As a result, we observe communities growing up around a wide range of distinct, nuanced influences.

While the widespread adoption of disco music in the 1980s had an impact on disco fashion, the cultures that are forming now are a result of people having access to whatever information they want on anything with the touch of a button. A subculture’s influences are evolving into something considerably more intricate and abstract.

this subculture might include:

Millennial Subculture

Gaming: 14.3 million Gen Z users are thought to make up this segment’s potential audience, according to Horizon Media. Streetwear gamers and gamer girls are two subcultures in this category. Streetwear gamers are influenced by esports, fashion, and music cultures (think MTV), whereas gamer girls are motivated by inclusion and lifestyle. The group’s ages range from 20 to 21 on average. Launching a women’s-focused esports squad with anime-inspired gear and co-branded content channels that represent visually engaging social media experiences would help brands establish community and fandom on YouTube or TikTok.According to Matt Higgins, vice president of strategy at Blue Hour Studios, “This is what the audience wants.”

The highest potential audience of all five is found in the entertainment sector, where the study identifies two groups as “horror healers” and “poetic connections” with a combined audience of 25.5 million. According to the report, the so-called horror healers use genuine crime and dystopian concepts as a means of “therapeutic retreat.” Poetic connectors are interested in information on recovery, overcoming obstacles, and teamwork.

Education: The study estimates that adult-ing hackers and scientific “edutainers” may reach 24.4 million people. The adult-ing hacker’s group prefers tech tools, life hacks, and practical advice and enjoys DIY and other forms of self-learning outside of regular schools.

The three subcultures of fashion—maximalists, real-time fashionistas, and up-thrifters—have a combined estimated viewership of 16.1 million. These Gen Z communities enjoy DIY fashion, daring trends, viral TikTok stylists, self-expression, and sustainability.

Beauty: This 11.5 million audience is made up of three subcultures: cover lads, cursed cosplayers, and ASMR fans of beauty. They enjoy fashion trends that redefine masculinity, such as sensory experiences, wacky dress-up, fantasy and makeup art, and men’s grooming.

‘On Steroids’ Change

But for it to happen, brands must be genuine. They must decide what they stand for and comprehend how subcultures might relate to those ideals. That need not result in alienating customers who fall on opposite sides of the spectrum.

As a brand, you can be many different things, according to Gurevich. “It’s not inauthentic to appeal to numerous — even seemingly conflicting — subcultures if a business has a compelling purpose,” said one expert.

But persistence and caution are needed to continue reaching these subcultures. Gurevich claims that while marketers haven’t been operating in “set-it-and-forget-it” mode for a while, the rate of change among Generation Z is quick and continual, necessitating flexible media and creative tactics.

It’s on steroids, Gurevich said. “You need a staff that is constantly keeping an eye on the subcultures since they might even change in a year. You must continue with it.

Millennials and The Community

Even if some of these new cultures may seem unimportant, it’s crucial to look at them in order to understand why communities and fashion are so important in shaping identities. To promote cooperation and communication amongst individuals with similar interests, these communities come together as a result of a specific, distinct set of influences.

These subcultures offer the chance to integrate into a group and contribute to something greater than oneself at a time when young people are struggling more than ever to define themselves and fit in.

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