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“Get Messy”: Gen Z Insights with New Moon

“Gen Z is much more experimental, they’re much more messy, more chaotic, more emotional [on social channels].”

You’ve heard us say it before and we’ll continue saying it: at New Moon, we value radical humanity above all. Keeping that as our ethos and North Star, our aim is to make a meaningful impact on culture, regardless of who we’re talking to.

From experiential activations to influencer campaigns, our superpower is thinking about marketing through the lens of the lived experience, placing every person we’re talking to in a specific context. Recently, we decided to think through marketing through the Gen Z lens, a task the nimble and ever-eloquent creative strategist Xander Tran had no problem picking up.

By Xander Tran

As director of creative strategy and resident vogue ball enthusiast dropped some insights and takeaways on the generation du jour, Gen Z. highlighting three facets: their online presentation; their social platform preferences; and their penchant for brands’ presence.

“Look at Millennials and how they use social media. It’s very curated, we’re trying to create the perfect image, a highlight reel of the greatest moments of our lives. Gen Z is much more experimental, they’re much more messy, more chaotic, more emotional [on social channels].” 

Humanized Brand Stories

Whereas Millennials are often drawn to polished imagery, Gen Z is drawn to more humanized brand stories. Brands that are playful, irreverent, and unafraid of experimentation curry the most favor with Gen Z. Even better are brands that aren’t overly precious about their iconography, opening it up for memes and TikTok trends. Think Gucci with the Dress like a Gucci Model trend.

“TikTok is the playground where brands should activate but I will throw it back to the OG internet and say that Reddit is a treasure trove of insights. So if you’re a big brand and want to get a sense of how people actually perceive your brand, Reddit is where it’s at.”

It’s safe to say that TikTok has become king in recent years— it’s a multigenerational hub, an inclusive, expressive space for people to share their weird and wonderful interests. But the current social landscape is more than just TikTok, and brands that don’t look beyond the video maven are missing out on crucial community conversations. From Discord dark socials to the rising influence of YouTube on Gen Alpha, other platforms are vital for brands to engage with consumers in fresh, genuine ways.

“It’s not about performative action, it’s not about buzzwords. What are you actually doing as a brand? When you try to be everything to everyone, you stand for nothing.” 

No Brand Values- No Gen Z Engagement

A brand with no real values to stand behind is not a brand Gen Z will interact with. In our current landscape, between BLM marches, the right for bodily autonomy, and the ongoing climate crisis, brands have to put a stake in the ground, showing where they stand. It is not enough to rely on virtue signaling, since Gen Z has a strong BS radar – they don’t want perfection. They just want progress, and a continued, hopeful look into the future.

To access all of the insightful takeaways from Xander, Larry, and Leslie, here.

And If you’re keen to hear more of our thoughts and insights beyond Gen Z, from Gen X to Gen Alpha, drop us a line!

With love, 
New Moon

About Xander

Xander Tran is a rare bird in the marketing industry; one of those elusive right and left brained talents that we’re all a little in awe of.

Starting his career at creative agency New Moon as an intern, Xander’s natural affinity for the cultural zeitgeist quickly saw him move into a Junior Creative Strategist role and then move through the ranks to Director of Creative Strategy and then on to become the firm’s first Associate Partner. His lightning fast career trajectory is a testament to how much value he brings to those in his creative orbit. Beyond his work at New Moon, Xander is deeply committed to championing pay equity for Black and BIPOC creators and creatives, breaking Asian-American stereotypes and spotlighting subcultures through cultural appreciation, not cultural appropriation.

New Moon is known for its’ award-winning experiential marketing work, having picked up a plethora of awards across the UK and the US, from hitting #24 on Adweek’s ‘100 Fastest Growing Agencies, Global’ list and BizBash anointing their LifeCoach brand activation ‘Best Event of the Decade’ in the Millennial and Gen Z category, through snagging ‘Best Travel Campaign’ at the Influencer Marketing Awards 2020 (UK) and ‘Best Social Influencer Campaign’ at the UK Social Media Awards for their work with

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