The latest short film from the Innovation Group profiles generation Z influencers.
Generation Z is coming into its own. Born after 1995, today’s teenagers are mobile first, politically aware, and the world’s first true digital natives. Generation Z is not content to sit on the sidelines: According to a survey conducted by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s in-house consumer insights unit, 87% percent of gen Zers consider themselves creative, and 63% think of themselves as influencers. Half of generation Z already see themselves as entrepreneurs, while 31% view themselves as brands.
How can brands relate to a generation of content creators? And what happens when these avid social media users are promoting their personal brands in the same places where brands are trying to reach them?
As part of the Innovation Group’s ongoing thought leadership on generation Z, our latest short film profiles four teenagers who each embody a different gen Z archetype: the creative, the entrepreneur, the activist, and the tech-head. Watch here:
Meet the Influencers
The Creative: Remi Riordan, 17
“I like buying stuff when I know the creator. It’s way more exciting and way more fun.”
A photographer and writer from New Jersey, Remi is the creative force behind Crybaby, an online magazine made “by teens for teens.” Remi is passionate about self-expression and has also published her own writing and photography in Rookie, Dazed, and i-D, as well as the gen Z arts platform School of Doodle. Each month, Crybaby features gen Zers from around the world tackling themes like “fear” or “nostalgia.”
The Entrepreneur: Zachary Maxwell, 14
“I like to think that I’m changing the world. And I want to change the world.”
Although most at Zachary’s school know him as a shy teenager, he has a second identity as a fearless filmmaker who wants to make a difference. At age 11, Zachary created his first award-winning documentary about school lunch. Today, he’s a full-fledged entrepreneur with a video production company, a TED talk, active business profiles on social media, and ambitious career goals.
The Activist: Hebh Jamal, 17
“In this generation, we get to really prove to one another that we can make a difference.”
Hebh believes in her generation’s ability to create change. She recently launched United Students of NYC to give students a voice in social issues, and is also the lead student activist at IntegrateNYC4Me. In February, Hebh organized a massive New York City-wide walkout for high school students to protest President Trump’s executive orders. On Facebook, Hebh describes herself as: “Muslim. Palestinian. American. Because I can be all three at once.”
The Tech-head: Vivian Shen, 19
“I really do think everyone should learn to code, as it’s such an invaluable skill in our current society.”
Vivian considers herself a “maker” and believes in the power of technology to create change. When Vivian is not busy studying mechanical engineering and computer science at Columbia University, she’s organizing “hackathons,” where students compete in programming challenges. She is also a regional manager for CodeDay, a nationwide event that encourages beginners to learn to code.
For more, download our generation Z trend report.