Chipping off the old block

Nikita Ann Varghese | Updated on September 19, 2021

Gen Z has brought side-hustles to the fore. How can brands leverage this trend?

Out with the old, and in with the new. As Gen Z gears up to become the leaders of tomorrow, brands are puzzling over how to approach this consumer segment. The pandemic has been a gamechanger in this regard. Not only did we learn of the zoomers’ overwhelming love for dalgona coffee, but we also saw them bring side-hustle culture to the fore.

“Back in the 90s, side-hustles were limited to the creative industries. Now it is a full-fledged mainstream economy. For many individuals, their side hustles are bigger than the day jobs, and employers can actually turn it into an opportunity and benefit from it,” says Sanjay Sarma, Founder, SSARMA Consults - a boutique branding and communication advisory.

Gone are the days where you have to choose between medicine and engineering as a career path.

Following your passion is the new fashion, and an MBA isn’t a top-priority accessory anymore. MTV’s 2021 Youth Study titled ‘Atmanirbhar By Circumstance’ revealed that only 54 per cent of Gen Z-ers in 2020 agree that having a job is more important than pursuing their talent. If this isn’t enough to give the boomers a mini-heart attack, the study further found that a whopping 70 per cent believe that side-hustles give a real shot at success, fame and identity. “Gen Z wants to achieve fame in the shortest span of time and for 60 per cent of them, ‘passion is plan A’ whereas a full-time job is plan B,” says Anshul Ailawadi, Business Head –-- Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18.

Changing the communication

As the younger generation turns its back on the corporate ladder, it's time for brands to throw caution to the wind and reinvent the way they communicate.

Appealing to the new side-hustle culture would be a great way to start.

“Many brands have started tapping into side-hustle culture to drive more sales and co-create modern products which appeal more directly to Gen-Z,” says Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO and Co-Founder, Gozoop Group; CEO and Founder, Sparknext.

Scenes by Avalon is a stellar example of a brand that has broken new ground in the side-hustle arena. With the aim of community building, Scenes provides a one-stop solution for small businesses, college youth, freelancers and investors to connect with each other and explore potential work opportunities.

“So far, Scenes has around 2,000 communities that focus on various niches like finance, marketing, copywriting etc. We want to become the ultimate community platform. Today, we have Zoom for meetings, Shopify for online stores, Quora for forums and Instagram to stay connected. Scenes brings all of this together, so that people don’t have to keep hopping from one platform to another,” says Abhinav Arora, Co-Founder and CMO, Scenes (by Avalon).

HP is yet another brand that has adapted to the trailblazing youth with the launch of an exclusive community for creators ‘HP Creator’s Garage’. The community caters to the evolving demands of today's content creators and encourages them to use technology to follow their passion.

Published on September 19, 2021

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