30th May 2024

Breaking Down the Modern-day Gen Z Experience: A New Model in our Report with UTA

Since 1943, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has been a preeminent framework used by marketers to better understand the needs of target consumers. Some 80 years later, our physiological needs haven’t changed, but what we want as consumers — as it relates to our safety as individuals, our desire to connect with communities, and our own self-actualization — is evolving faster with each generation. Gen Z is the prime example: As the first generation to exist in both physical and digital realities, any effort to connect with this group authentically, and meet their needs in both realms, demands new ways of thinking.

That’s why Mindshare collaborated with the Gen Z consultancy JUV (now known as UTA’s Entertainment Marketing Next Gen practice, following a March 2024 acquisition) to create a new model. Our goal in revising the framework is to create a better understanding of everyday tensions in the Gen Z experience, so brands can connect with them as consumers more meaningfully. 

Among those tensions: Gen Z is the most digitally connected demographic in history, yet they feel more lonely than other generations. They see the internet as a challenging and harsh place, yet it’s unavoidable. They’re more likely to discover a product online, but like to shop in person — and then leverage what they buy or consume as a means of forming relationships with others. 

To help marketers reconcile these experiences and behaviors, we conducted a quantitative study of Gen Z adults worldwide plus a qualitative study driven by interviews. The result: The Phygital Pyramid, a reimagining of Maslow's work that takes into account the behaviors of Gen Z consumers who exist, connect and consume in physical and digital spaces.

“To successfully engage with Gen Z, marketers will need to transform their approaches, and this will first and foremost require a deep understanding of how Gen Z behaviors are shifting, and what’s driving those shifts,” said Kathy Kline, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, North America, Mindshare. “This report, and our work on the Phygital Pyramid that underpins it, empowers our brands with a nuanced view of the intricate balance between Gen Z's digital and physical lives, enabling the creation of meaningful and effective marketing strategies.”

You can read all about the Phygital Pyramid in our new report, “Gen Z Drives a New Era of Commerce: Community-First.See it in full here.

Mindshare Global
    Mindshare Global