BERLIN: Gen Z poses a challenge for traditional financial brands, but credit card company Barclaycard found a way to engage them and discovered a serious generation focused on preparing for their future.

Maciej Partyka, global head of customer insights at Barclaycard, addressed this topic at the Qual360 Europe conference, where he admitted that until recently the financial sector tended to look at how people borrow and how they pay.

“We never really looked at how people consume, how they consume brands and experiences,” he said (For more read WARC’s report: How Barclaycard engaged Gen Z in the research process.)

“We wanted to think about another way of understanding,” Partyka explained. “What are the brands that they [Gen Z] love, what are the brands that they find important – and basically try to find a white space we could fit into to add value for those people.”

Traditional research techniques were not necessarily going to work, given Gen Z’s low level of financial knowledge and their coping strategies for the digital era which are not conducive to sitting down and reflecting. “They don’t want to talk about stuff, they’d rather show the picture,” Partyka noted.

And because they’re always busy, there was a challenge to extract meaningful insights from those moments when they experienced a brand and were willing to share something.

So Barclaycard created a mobile tool to enable 30 participants in each of three markets to record the moments they used brands – those they experienced and those simply liked – before focusing on financial brands.

Since Gen Z doesn’t know much about these, “we basically gave them a research task” – to Google relevant brands like Visa, MasterCard and Barclaycard and report back on what they found.

Finally, a moderated discussion on a blog format teased out more understanding of how this age group felt their financial future might pan out, and what brands they would turn to for help.

The exercise amassed a “treasure trove” of information that will help drive both creative and business strategy, Partyka stated.

For Gen Z “quite a lot of what’s driving the brand choice is very much rational rather than emotional,” he reported. They’re developing strategies around improving themselves in order to manage a future they realise is going to be tough.

“Brands that help them do this, help them to be better at something, help them to improve, to be really excellent are important for them.”

Sourced from WARC