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January 10, 2020

What IR Professionals Need to Know about Gen Z

Written by Luke Bishop

Gen Z is the world’s largest group of investors. As Gen Z, the population born 1997 onward, comes of age, this influential group is beginning to join Millennials and Baby Boomers to have a say in the investing landscape. Here’s what investor relations professionals need to know about them.

1. Gen Z Is Bigger Than Millennials and Baby Boomers

According to Statista, there are 90 million Gen Zers in the United States, compared to 72.56 million Baby Boomers, 72.06 Millennials, and 65.45 million Gen Xers. Now, many Gen Z are still in high school or college. But those on the older spectrum of Gen Z are in the workforce making disposable income, making them an addressable audience for IR professionals.

2. Gen Zers Are Ready to Invest

According to RBC Advisor Services, 35 percent of Gen Zers will plan to start saving for retirement in their 20s, compared to versus 12 percent of Millennials. They represent a largely untapped opportunity for IR professionals. It’s important that IR professionals form relationship with Gen Z investors while Gen Zers are in the formative stages of their careers, when they’re beginning to make enough income to invest.

3. Gen Zers Are Digitally Savvy

Born digital natives, Gen Zers are comfortable taking a digital-first approach to evaluating a company for an investment. To connect with Gen Z, businesses need to be even more digitally savvy than they’ve ever been. What does this mean? Among other things, connecting with Gen Z means:

  • Using digital tools to educate an audience in engaging ways, such as videos that discuss your company’s values and financial position, and digital tools to allow your audience to easily understand the facts about your financial results in graphically appealing ways. Provide tools that teach them about investing concepts in creative ways, such as through gamification.
  • Being consistent across the digital world, which means sharing a strong narrative about your company everywhere Gen Zers encounter you, including your website and socials. What they learn about you on your About Us page needs to be consistent with the message you share on Facebook.

To Gen Z, being digital-first is just table stakes for interacting with them.

4. Gen Zers Are Purpose-Driven

More so than any generation before them, Gen Z seek to do business with brands whose values and sense of purpose align with theirs. They are a socially and environmentally conscious generation, sensitive to how well businesses demonstrate a commitment to hot-button issues such as social justice, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability/ESG.

As Audrey Choi of Morgan Stanley pointed out recently, “[T]heir consumer behavior so far implies that they’re also strongly committed to social values and sustainability.
Choi cited research from Cone Communications, which found that
“94% of this generation believes that companies should help address social and environmental issues, compared to 87% of Millennials and 86% of the general population.”

To connect with Gen Z, IR professionals need to know how to communicate the purpose and brand values of the companies they represent. IR professionals need to be as fluent in their companies’ commitments to sustainability/ESG as they are their market value. For example, visitors to a business’s IR page should find insights about a brand’s latest efforts to make the world more sustainable. And IR professionals should prepare their CEOs to discuss these issues clearly and prominently in their financial reports.

As our own CEO Don Scales wrote in Forbes recently, “The commitment [to sustainability/ESG] needs to come from the top. You need a CEO who will own this topic and be the face and voice of your brand.”

The IR professional is in a uniquely influential position to prepare the CEO to be the voice of your brand to Gen Z investors.

Contact Investis Digital, and Download Our New Report

For more insight into how to connect with Gen Z, contact Investis Digital. We have extensive experience helping companies find a clear, authentic, and inspiring voice to engage with a variety of audiences, including Gen Z. We recently shared some of our thinking in a report, The New ESG Agenda. This white paper provides a complete snapshot of the sustainability/ESG landscape as it pertains to IR professionals, including the impact of Gen Zers. This report is especially relevant for IR professionals seeking ways to be more relevant to purpose-driven investors, including Gen Z investors.

Download a copy of our new point of view here to learn how to amplify your own story of sustainability/ESG. And contact Investis Digital to learn more.

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