Winning over Gen Alpha: What brands need to do now (2024)

Brands must engage Generation Alpha now to build future loyalty. This tech-savvy, socially conscious generation values innovation and environmentalism.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Have a quick question? I answered nearly 1500 FAQs.

Introduction

Understand how to satisfy the demands of Generation Alpha, the upcoming generation of decision-makers, customers, and leaders.

Eleven years old Zy has a needle phobia. If she were to create anything, it is going to be a tool that would make getting shots easier and less scary for individuals. Twelve-year-old Fia would create a submersible that collects waste from the water. Mylo, 12, adds that although global warming is a “snowball” that is only growing, it is still manageable if we make an effort to stop it.

After speaking with Gen Alpha, we can say that they are really bright.

Though they may have taken the limelight from their millennial predecessors, Generation Z—radicalized by injustice in society and dressed in retro ’90s fashion—is quietly maturing into an even younger generation. Furthermore, underestimating them is an error.

What comes after Gen Z is Gen Alpha, which has been hidden due to restrictions from parents, social media maturity limitations, and, well, a worldwide pandemic, they are rapidly realizing their true potential. Future-focused brand creators must now focus on the under-13 demographic. It will be far too late by the time Generation Alpha matures into adolescents with independence, power, and money to spend.

In this article, we dig deep into the identity, values, and ways that Generation Alpha will influence everything going forward. We spoke with a dozen children, ages eight to thirteen, as well as researchers and community leaders who were interested in this group, directly from the source.

Discover the strategies for launching or expanding enterprises that will satisfy the demands of the upcoming generation of leaders, consumers, and decision-makers.

Generation Alpha: Who Is It?

Following Gen Z, any children born on or after 2010 (the year the iPad was introduced) are currently considered members of Generation Alpha. The oldest members of this group will be teenagers in 2023, however, the bulk of them are younger than the age of thirteen.

In a 2008 study on the topic, Mark McCrindle & his consulting firm McCrindle first used the phrase “Generation Alpha.” This generation will be the largest in history by 2025, with over two billion people, according to the company’s most recent research.

Technology, as well as the Generation Z creators who rule their feeds, have a big impact on Gen Alpha. However, the experiences of the previous two years will profoundly influence their identity. Because this epidemic will have a significant impact on the current generation of young people, they have been colloquially nicknamed “Gen C,” or Generation COVID.

According to social researcher and Generation Alpha co-author Ashley Fell, the psychological, social, educational, and economic effects of COVID-19 will have a long-lasting effect on this generation. Additionally, she believes that they would respect family more, look up to “ordinary superheroes,” and accept working from home as an ordinary aspect of life. She claims that because of the difficulties they faced, “they will be an increasingly innovative and resilient generation.”

In what ways does Gen Alpha vary from previous generations?

Just 3 of the children who participate in the weekly Upstanders Academy virtual after-school program are Mylo, Zy, and Fia. They get knowledge about social equality there and have the opportunity to grill frequent visitors who include activists, business owners, and politicians.

Mom, former government program officer, and founder of World-Changing Kids Lindsey Barr came up with the idea for Upstanders after seeing how important it is to discuss global issues with children in a developmentally appropriate manner. “They’d like to discuss social concerns,” she says. “They have compassion for both refugees and the needy.”

When youngsters experiencing isolation were spending more hours in virtual environments instead of spending time with friends in sports and other in-person activities, social issues became a hot topic at family meal conversations. It’s different from what Lindsey went through as a child. “Why bother? I was constantly told these problems were too large and there was nothing I could have done about them,” the woman asks.

Though their increased knowledge of everything around them may be causing Generation Alpha to grow up faster, or “up-age,” they have also been isolated from important face-to-face social interaction. As a result, they now rely more on the technological advances that took their place.

What information about Gen Alpha should brands know?

What comes after Gen Z, or Generation Alpha, is the largest group that founders should familiarize themselves with now if they intend to establish long-term organizations. Though they share many similarities with Generation Z, their distinct experiences have shaped their perceptions of the world and their expectations of it.

Though they have been exposed to a greater number of global problems, Gen Alpha remains optimistic. They view technology as a means of engagement because it gives them an insight into the concepts and cultures that exist outside of their own. Many people own smartphones and tablets or have a connection to them.

Technology has a significant impact on how young people perceive the world, the opportunities they seek, and the skills they wish to acquire, according to Abdaal Mazhar Shafi, a seasoned entrepreneur and UpstartED’s co-founder, a company that helps marginalized, at-risk, and equity-seeking youth realize their potential and make a difference.

During the pandemic, screen time skyrocketed as play dates, school, and activities all shifted to virtual settings. Screen time isn’t the passive experience it once was for previous generations, even though there may be consequences like decreased focus or delayed interactions with others. Children can participate, engage, and work together on this two-way street.

And the technological generational divide is narrowing. Having grown up in a digital age, millennial parents are aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of having connected children. Play augmented by technology has the potential to “improve connectivity, foster community, and build social and intercultural skills,” per the McCrindle research.

Kids now have autonomy thanks to technology. Ashley claims that Generation Alpha’s early exposure to video games has affected their attitude toward taking an active role in finding answers. This is precisely what Lindsey wants to accomplish with Upstanders as well. Children are given things to do in their local communities once they have learned about a subject.

One of the things that technology may provide is ownership of the solutions. “I think we’re screwed with global warming and COVID,” remarks 12-year-old Hazel. “However, I’m looking forward to seeing how much better technology gets because I think some very exciting things are going to happen.”

Because technology makes it possible for them to take action, Gen Alpha feels powerful and part of their future dread is reduced. 9-year-old Kenny believes technology may help conserve endangered bears (that is, his favorite), while Mylo imagines a system that turns carbon into water vapor.

1. Gen Alpha has a strong sense of obligation to undo the harm caused by previous generations

What comes after Gen Z is important for businesses to comprehend as they plan their strategies. According to Abdaal, “These kids are beginning to feel that it will be them who suffer as a result of delay.” They have a fast pace in mind.

They desire to take action instead of just learning about it. While kids are taught about social entrepreneurship at both UpstartED and Upstanders Academy, a large number of the initiatives and discussions that arise are kid-led.

“We discuss work, diversity of genders, nutrition, climate change, sustainability, and racial issues. These are subjects that they personally bring up, according to Abdaal. “In an effort to make life better for everyone, they wish to bring attention to these concerns that have in some cases been ignored or even ignored.”

The need to preserve the environment only became apparent later in life for youngsters like Abdaal along with people from earlier generations. “These youngsters have got it from the beginning,” he claims.

2. Gen Alpha’s sources of inspiration and influence are changing

When the epidemic struck, Lindsey claimed that she broke the rules with her own kids. Her children are now devouring content far beyond their chronological age, bolstered by animated dinner conversations. “She’s enjoying Dexter,” Lindsey remarks, referring to her youngest child Hazel, who aspires to become a specialist in blood spatter when she matures. It’s a bit of a big experiment. Do we have her ruined? I am not sure.

But things are different at a twelve-year Kaaya’s residence. YouTube is where Kaaya gets the majority of her inspiration because her mother won’t let her create social media profiles just yet. Parents’ thoughts, hobbies, and purchases are influenced by the kid-focused clips that eleven-year-old Ryan Haji and other Gen Alpha creators produce on the platform. Sales of merchandise brought about $250 million for Ryan’s World in just 2020.

Generation Alpha has greater knowledge at its disposal than any previous generation, irrespective of parental style. Its influences are therefore not limited to kid-focused programming. Ashley predicts that in the future, people will view aspirational people differently—from classic superheroes to ordinary superheroes like nurses and medical researchers.

It’s already taking place. Mahaica, 11, says about the individuals creating technology today, “I’m fascinated by them.” “My parents, our teachers, and the scientists developing the COVID vaccines.” Zy considers actress Emma Watson to be her hero because of her charitable work rather than the role she performed as a young wizard. “She runs this group called HeForShe,” Zy explains. We worked on an assignment together last year. I admire how much she does to support women.

Additionally, youth are becoming more and more represented in fields like technology, science, and human rights. Young fighters like Greta Thunberg, who are relatively young, are being seen and admired by children, according to Abdaal.

3. Gen Alpha kids are capable of controlling their own destiny

Children are getting more and more influence over parental choices. This is obvious considering what comes after Gen Z. Though there are rigorous laws governing data collection, marketers and advertising are discovering methods to understand and contact youngsters as Generation Alpha consumes increasingly on-demand video across different channels.

For instance, according to a survey, seventy percent of Generation Alpha parents said that their buying habits have been affected by the television series or characters that their children adore.

Children are seeing more and more role models and real-life instances of innovators, trailblazers, and business owners. Maisy, Kenny’s twin, and he were motivated to solve their own problems through entrepreneurship. Maisy and her sibling are attempting to raise funds for a Lego set for the Chinese New Year, so they are making colorful loom bracelets, necklaces, and rings. They are marketing them to neighbors, friends, and others they know.

Every generation that has lived has dabbled in curbside lemonade sales, so kid-powered business is nothing new. However, increasing numbers of children are now able to acquire essential skills and generate their own income thanks to technology and easy-to-use tools.

A promising career path for Generation Alpha is emerging in the innovation economy, which is mostly what comes after Gen Z. Ashley claims that “in the domains in which they operate, they own ownership, power, and influence, and they also affect others within their own age group.”

What are the best ways to connect with Gen Alpha and foster enduring brand loyalty?

Nowadays, preteens are marketed differently since they are able to respond to messages. Companies that understand that building relationships with these prospective customers would require mutual effort are likely to have successful brands. A foundation of trust, involvement, and genuineness will underpin these partnerships.

The adaptive technologies that Gen Alpha was raised with no longer require them to use them in a passive manner. According to Ashley, “the systems they grew up using—like Roblox, Minecraft, and TikTok—have identified them as avid co-creators.”

Fia adds, “I enjoy playing Roblox since you may hang around with other people while playing it.” Because you can make applications for Roblox with Roblox Studio, I also enjoy Roblox Studio. It assists in teaching you coding and other related skills.

Be aware that Generation Alpha will not just be future customers but also future workers, astute brands are reaching out to them on a deeper level. Gen Alpha is characterized as “global, social, and mobile since they will earn a living, study, and move between numerous locations and multiple occupations” by the McCrindle report. Applicants will be sold to businesses looking to hire the greatest talent, rather than the opposite way.

Abdaal works with a brand that is considering talent years in advance, in addition to owning a technology consultancy business. He claims, “The CEO developed an eight-week school centered on youngsters.” Additionally, he employs 100 youths during the summer.

This community-building initiative serves as a recruitment tactic in addition to fostering trust with Generation Alpha. Through the initiative, children get a firsthand look at a specific industry—retail in this case—as a possible future route.

As Gen Alphas mature into consumers, openness in corporate operations and an effective social impact stance will also be crucial in fostering trust. “Being a decent person can help your business succeed,” adds Abdaal. “They’re practically asking for it now.” Gen Alpha will look out for companies that help create solutions as they become more conscious of the harm that corporations inflict. These are some things that we can see if we are considering what comes after Gen Z.

Gen Alpha’s tastes can be inferred from millennial parents

Ashley asserts, “Generation Alpha has purchasing power and brand influence that extends beyond their ages.” Gen Alpha’s tastes are being shaped by millennial parents, but the effect is reciprocal; parents who are well-connected to their children also educate them about new concepts and goods.

It is difficult for companies to interact with and reach children under the age of thirteen due to regulations aimed at safeguarding the youth. On the other hand, their millennial educators and parents offer perspectives and places of contact. Having grown up in the age of the internet as well, millennials recognize the advantages that technology has for their own lives.

Digital learning and technology have enabled schools, staffed primarily by millennials, to adopt more interactive and engaging methods. Schools should play a more comprehensive role in fostering life skills and promoting wellbeing, according to Generation Alpha parents and educators. How Generation Alpha learns and works now provides insights into how they will interact with the world, work, and acquire knowledge as they get older.

According to the McCrindle research, educators and parents will prefer “fun gadgets which build specific abilities such as entrepreneurial skills, STEM, financial literacy, social competencies, strength & coordination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.”

The decisions made for children by their millennial parents will likewise influence the tastes of Generation Alpha. For parents who’ve been among the initial ones to have social media scrutinize their parenting, a focus on minimalist, premium, “clean” (organic, natural, chemical-free), and worthy of Instagram items has grown into a badge of honor.

Naturally, if their parents introduced them to companies when they were young, children would grow up to identify with those brands. This is osmosis-based brand affinity.

How to develop your brand such that Gen Alpha grows up with it

According to Ashley, “Generation Alpha is maturing into incredibly knowledgeable and connected customers.” This indicates that they have distinct perspectives and are always changing in comparison to previous generations in terms of consumption.

It will be crucial for firms hoping to develop with Gen Alpha to continuously incorporate feedback from parents and young people into products meant for children. “When it incorporates them and fits their expectations, goals, and beliefs, products, marketing, and advertising will most effectively engage them as informed consumers,” adds Ashley.

1. Both speak and act accordingly

According to Mylo, the shoe company Johnny offers biodegradable shoes with apple seeds embedded in them that, when the shoe decomposes, generate trees. According to him, “the quick fashion business is one of the key leaders of textiles waste.” “I would try and utilize pieces of fabric and put them collectively and then utilize the material to make additional garments,” says 9-year-old Lilia, who wants to be an apparel designer.

Because they were raised hearing discussions about food components at dinner tables and having to help separate recyclables from compost, Gen Alphas have a thorough awareness of the lifecycles of the items that surround them. As a result, when people start shopping, Gen Alpha will look for such details. According to Abdaal, “Your narrative is as essential—if not more important—than the real items that you’re about to develop.”

Your brand narrative should include your core values, your positive and negative effects, and the ways in which you are contributing to solutions. Abdaal asserts, “You have to consider the social issues that are important to this age so that you have a conversation about them.” Authenticity is crucial in these kinds of discussions. “This generation will be able to recognize deception better than others.”

2. Create experiences instead of products

The necessity for organizations to fight growing acquisition costs by developing enduring relationships with current consumers and creating a cohesive omnichannel experience was underlined in a recent Future of Commerce study.

Since Generation Alpha has already come to expect it, this strategy will become much more crucial. According to Ashley, “When adolescents get older, they’ll incorporate technology more and more into their customer behavior, which will affect how they purchase and engage with brands.” Therefore, as young people emerge, brands must maintain a connection to the places where they interact. For instance, what will be called the upcoming Roblox or TikTok?

“These young people and their parents want experiences that are distinctive, tailored to them, digitally first, and seamlessly connected,” adds Abdaal. A significant portion of the people might never have the opportunity to know you if businesses don’t take those factors into consideration.

Personalized encounters will appeal to a generation that grew up making their own online personas, game characters, and avatars. Customers want customer service and marketing to be highly tailored to their interests, and they are going to actively search out companies that offer personalization.

3. Engage Gen Alpha with meaningful dialogue that respects their preferences

In order to connect with this group of consumers, marketers must go beyond their previous methods of audience engagement. Ashley claims that there is a shrewdness to the generations that came before Alpha because they have been sold to so much and in so many different ways. Our newest generation has already felt the effects of this.

Like previous generations, Gen Alpha is impacted by social media, technology, and their friends. With user-generated posts and referral bonuses, brands may take advantage of peer-to-peer referrals. Key strategies will be engaging social media marketing and media product placement, along with integrated marketing spanning real and virtual venues.

Future customers will be drawn to brands that view them as partners in their enterprise. Ashley asserts, “Products should not be pushed at Generation Alpha.” “They are effectively sitting at the table and exerting influence on a brand.”

What is in store for Generation Alpha in the future?

Lindsey wants to inspire and compassionately educate children to be “engaged citizens and empowered leaders” through Upstanders Academy. She is concerned that children could become indifferent or despondent if unpleasant news predominates in their news and social media feeds.

However, Abdaal and her both have optimism. According to Abdaal, “We are seeing 12-year-olds who are generating concepts for sustainable firms and proposing them to our team and investors.”

The world around them shapes the kinds of occupations and lives they imagine for themselves. Abdaal asserts, “They are undoubtedly searching for more fulfilling employment.” However, kids have also been introduced to new work environments as they have observed their parents’ occupations shift during the pandemic. “They express a need for freedom in discussing their objectives and ideal workplaces,” adds Abdaal.

Though Hazel believes that robots will take over most employment in the future, there are actually still plenty of opportunities available for people to fill. In 2020, McCrindle projected that 65 percent of students enrolled in school at the point of the findings would work in occupations that do not exist today.

Evan, seven years old, is enthusiastic about his future and wants to become an inventor. “I appreciate that everyone can find employment,” he remarks. “There’s an opportunity for whatever they like.”

New employment alternatives resulting from Web3, cryptocurrency, AI, renewable energies (“We must cease using fossil fuels,” adds Fia), augmented reality, and other developing industries and technology will be part of the foreseeable future of employment.

Future developments will also be influenced by societal and demographic shifts. “Not just in the elderly care business but also associated industries, the growing elderly population is offering new opportunities,” writes McCrindle.

Incorporating Generation Alpha views into decision-making is now crucial for brands hoping to win over Gen Alpha consumers and add them to their groups. According to Ashley, the worst error that companies can make is to fail to acknowledge and value what renders Gen Alphas distinct. “Businesses risk becoming irrelevant if they don’t comprehend the biggest consumer generation in history.”

By 2023, the first member of Gen Alpha’s generation will have turned 13 and will have entered puberty and TikTok. Arriving here, they are wary but eager, wise above their years, and speeding toward prospects they have created and will own. The brands that stand an opportunity to weather this shift must acknowledge that this is their universe now—invite only.

FAQs for Generation Alphas

  1. What is the Generation Alpha age range?

The term “Gen Alpha” refers to infants born during or following 2010. They now make up the youngest generation, having been the initial ones to be born fully in the twenty-first century. Gen Alpha parents typically consist of younger Gen Xers and Millennials.

  1. How do Gen Z & Gen Alpha vary from one another?

Those born between 1995 & 2010 are referred to as Generation Z (sometimes called the iGeneration, Centennials, or Zoomers). The people born between 2010 & 2025 are referred to as Generation Alpha. The first gen to grow up completely in the digital age is Gen Alpha, and the first generation to be digital natives is Gen Z.

  1. What characteristics define the Gen Alpha generation?

This demographic group, known as Generation Alpha, comes after Generation Z. The first generation to be entirely digital natives is Gen Alpha, defined as those born between 2010 & 2025. It is no secret that this generation was raised in an increasingly globalized environment where they were exposed to a wide range of cultures.

They also grew up with the internet, including computers, cell phones, and tablets. They are more recognized than earlier generations for their environmental awareness and social consciousness. Future consumers from this new gen have spending power in homes, as many Generation Alpha parents involve their children in making choices.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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