What the “Kids” Want

September 23, 2020
By Sydney Teranishi Dake and Kai Teranishi-Guay
What the "Kids" Want.

We are Sydney (25 years old) and Kai (15 years old), the daughters of iQ 360 founder Lori Teranishi. Yes, we were voluntold to write this blog post, but we are excited to share some pointers about what we see as the best way to connect with people like us: Millennial and Generation Z audiences. We hope marketers and others who read this will find our perspectives helpful.

Individuals under the age of 35 have had their world view shaped in different ways than past generations. TV shows, rapidly changing social media platforms, new technology, celebrities, and political events specific to our eras have made cultural rulebooks drastically different for various age groups and subcultures. It is difficult to classify “youth” as one group.

There is no shortcut to understanding nuances in youth culture (we’re trying to keep up ourselves), but if you spend a couple of hours on TikTok, or watch a few episodes of popular shows like “13 Reasons Why,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and “Rick and Morty,” you can begin to pick up on the humor, perspectives and what normal looks like to different youth subgroups.

All of that being said, there are commonalities among us, such as: short attention spans, a distaste for marketing jargon, and an aversion to the traditional or mundane content from the past. Instead, we look for authentic, concise, impactful content that teaches us, informs us, or makes us laugh.


If you want to create content that appeals to Millennials and Gen Z, aim to:


Be authentic

People from our generations want to support brands that they believe are authentic and trustworthy. Trying to relate to kids by using trendy buzzwords may come across as trying too hard - a mortal sin in the eyes of young people. Instead, find your brand’s unique voice that projects a genuine mission and matches up with your authentic values. Connect with us through topics that are relevant to our realities and experiences. Whether it’s financial advice for recent graduates, how to make sourdough bread, or tips on how to start your dream business, authenticity is the basis for successfully engaging with us.


Be concise

We’re accustomed to infinite scrolling, 20 open tabs, and simultaneously keeping up on Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. So, needless to say, we prefer content that cuts straight to the chase. While our short attention spans are sometimes perceived negatively, they were shaped by our being bombarded by advertisements and new forms of entertainment. We have honed the ability to tune out what’s irrelevant and focus on what matters. “Short and sweet” is the right approach when creating content.


Make an impact

Leave the reader with something to think about and act upon. Inspiring your audiences to take action, share the message, or invite friends to join the cause should be the goal. A concise message with a clear path towards next steps will have an outsized influence on your audience.

Establish your communication as helpful, informational and straight to the point, or humorous and culturally relevant. If you can achieve this, you will be met with loyalty and enthusiasm from Millennial and Generation Z audiences.