The Gen Z Field Guide

August, 2022

Niche communities, interests, and cultures have always been compelling vessels for brands to influence audiences. For Gen Z – the most fluid and fragmented generation yet – subcultures are even more powerful. For them, popular culture and counterculture are obsolete and have been replaced by subcultures and niche communities. And as Gen Z’s influence on commerce and culture continues to grow, brands that learn to connect with these subcultures will thrive. 

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. In nearly all conversations with our Gen Z network about the subcultures resonating most strongly with them, none could easily recall specific TikTok influencers’ names. Unless recognizably famous or verified by the platform, people are more likely to remember the content that found them vs. the influencer creating it. There’s a lot of noise about creators, and Gen Z is looking for personal, intimate spaces to connect.

Subcultures have become the new demographics.

These niche communities usually share lifestyles, languages, and core values.  

So, what are these subcultures? And what can brands learn from them moving forward? While the list is endless and changing, we handpicked twelve key rising subcultures and broke them down to reveal their ethos. There are many ways for brands to find connection, but we’ve provided one creative idea for each to illustrate how.

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