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What’s Next: Generation Z and Anti-identity

Genre Is Dead: Donald Glover, Lil Nas X, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Billie Eilish…. Multi-hyphenate artists are rejecting labels from all angles, refusing to be pigeonholed. Youth culture is embracing music, art and fashion that moves fluidly between genres or defies categorization. Gen Z are also rejecting society’s restrictive labels in favor of defining themselves, creating new labels that better reflect their pride in contemporary values and affiliations. They are breaking down binaries, erasing stigma and embracing fluidity when it comes to all aspects of their identity.

This cultural shift presents a challenge to marketers, who have traditionally segmented audiences based on demographics, as the old rules and assumptions are no longer appropriate or helpful. Younger generations want to be defined by their interest points, allegiances and beliefs, not their age, race or gender. People expect their favorite brands to connect with them as individuals, rather than on the basis of outmoded demographic research.

What’s Next: Generation Antidentity, a report developed in a partnership between PSFK and youth culture media platform Complex, examines the different ways in which a new generation is defining themselves on their own terms and is meant to serve as a must-have manual for executives and marketers at agencies, brands and media companies looking to understand today’s consumers. This report is supported by original audience data from a survey conducted in October 2019 through Complex Collective, Complex Networks’ primary research and insights product. Key findings in include:

•83% of survey respondents say that their generation is more open-minded than previous generations

•86% say their generation is more creative than previous generations

•78% strongly agree that musicians, artists and other creators shouldn’t be defined or limited to a particular genre and should feel free to mix different genres in their work