Gen Z Subcultures: Niche Over Norm

May, 2023

For Gen Z, subcultures have become the new demographics. To drive critical mass and conversion, niche and relevancy at scale will trump traditional reach and frequency tactics. 

Capturing Gen Z’s attention requires breaking conventions to develop brand experiences that authentically suit their algorithms. Below, we’re highlighting two key subcultures from our Gen Z Field Guide that are changing narratives across industries. We break down their attitudes and ethos and offer creative ideas for how brands can connect. 


Gamer Girls: Changing the Narrative

Gen Z is nearly 40% more likely than adults 26+ to want to challenge the status quo in favor of inclusivity,* and gaming is no exception. This subculture is comprised of 3.1MM Gen Z females who are making themselves known in the gaming space in a big way, breaking stereotypes and elevating their clout with badassery, style, and confidence — but the road to inclusivity is challenging. Understanding this subculture is key for brands so they can help build a more inclusive gaming universe. 

Creating for Gamer Girls: Brand Sponsorship & Content Channel Thought Starter 

Traditionally male-focused brands can plant an anti-harassment stake in the ground by launching a Gamer Girl esports team. The brand can invite its male audience to join, follow, and support the new group while finding a new channel to connect with the growing female gamer audience. From the team, the brand can launch an entire esports brand fit with anime-inspired swag, cosplay apparel, and a content channel (Twitch, YouTube, TikTok) that mirrors the visually stimulating social media experiences Gamer Girls seek. The brand will have a new way to connect with Gamer Girls, and team members will have a platform to grow their following and influence. The brand can also fight toxicity toward female gamers across social media with proactive social responses – even beyond their owned channels. 


Adult-ing Hackers: New Roads to Success 

Gen Z is taking education into their own hands. With crippling student loan debt reaching $1.7T, alongside rapid advances in technology and information access, they’re questioning traditional education systems and the value it brings to life beyond college. Self-directed education is on the rise for 5.6MM Adult-ing Hackers who are all about paving their own way to success.* 

Brands can become a go-to source for the practical tools, tips, and tricks Gen Zers need to navigate the confusing and daunting transition into adulthood — going beyond what’s available in traditional classrooms. 

Creating for Adulting Hackers: How to Succeed in Adult-ing Without Really Trying

As they enter the real world, Gen Z continues to seek Adult-ing Hackers’ content to learn life skills left out of the classroom. 

Recruiting Campaign 

Brands can showcase themselves as a “career accelerator” through a recruiting campaign featuring adult-ing hacks as its core theme.  

Across IRL events, social channels, paid social, and all digital touchpoints, feature your current employees as expert guides sharing the career and life advice they learned the hard way. This allows a brand to promote its culture (and recruit) in a humorous, vulnerable way.

Place your ads in high-affinity media destinations like SNL or Planet Money to add a note of fun, expanding reach and entertainment value.

Click ‘Download PDF’ below to access the full report.

*Source: Horizon Media, May 2022

**Source: Statista

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