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Generation ‘C’? Predictions About the Pandemic’s Impact on Gen Z and the Next Generation

USA TODAY interviewed CGK President Jason Dorsey About What the Pandemic Means for the Youngest Generations

Kid wearing a face mask and sitting at a computer with a laptop and USA TODAY in top right corner of the image

  • The coronavirus is the Generation Defining Moment for Gen Z
  • What we name the next generation is less important than what the impacts will be
  • Our research is already providing clues about what comes next

CGK President, Jason Dorsey, Gen Z researcher and author of the soon-to-be-released book Zconomy, shared his thoughts with USA TODAY about how the pandemic is impacting different generations. It is already clear that the coronavirus is profoundly impacting Gen Z. Moreover, there are telling signs as to what it will mean for the generation that comes after.

COVID-19 is the Generation-Defining Moment for Z

Generational Defining Moments require two things. One is that they take place at the right time in a generation’s coming of age. The other is the creation of a powerful and unforgettable emotional impact, generally tied to fear and uncertainty. COVID-19 definitely fits the bill.

Jason explained to USA TODAY:  “We’re not sure that this will be the only event that separates Gen Z from the generation that comes after them, but it is such a profound and important event … it’s by far the top event that we’ve ever studied related to Gen Z.”

As we have already launched new studies in the field at CGK, our insight into the pandemic’s impacts on Gen Z is as current as possible. Backed by our team of researchers, Jason has already begun to share this knowledge with clients in the form of virtual presentations, executive briefings, strategy sessions, and interactive webinars.

Many Names, One Soon-to-Emerge Generation

As the article in USA TODAY notes, people are describing the next generation as Coronials, Quaranteens, Baby Zoomers, and Gen C. Whatever they are called, it is their perspective of the pandemic that is important.

As Jason noted in the article, “The generation that follows Gen Z will be the first that won’t remember the coronavirus because they were too young or not yet born during the crisis.” Instead, they will learn about it in the history books, in the same fashion as how Gen Z learned about 9/11.

What Comes Next

While the pandemic is ongoing, there are several things we know for sure. As a society, we will not be returning to what life looked like before COVID-19. As Jason told USA Today, “The pandemic will likely also lead to structural changes and new norms that the next generation could ultimately benefit from including shifts in online learning, physical workspaces, contactless payment, a vaccine, and other new technology.”

Social distancing and the use of virtual meeting rooms like Zoom and WebEx have already begun to shape how we interact, spend money, and work. While social distancing will begin to wane, the adoption of virtual tools in all aspects of life will only increase faster now. Jason and his co-author, Dr. Denise Villa, write about this extensively in their forthcoming book, Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It.

What Can Leaders Learn Right Now?

As a leader, the pandemic has created a crucial time to take critical action and understand how each generation is experiencing this challenging time. Leaders need to know exactly what strategies and tools work best for remote workers and how to drive sales and marketing across generations in the lens of the coronavirus.

At CGK, we are leading several studies that inform our virtual presentations, interactive strategy sessions, and executive briefings. These offerings fill in the insights gaps so leaders can quickly make smart, informed decisions to come out of the pandemic with clear momentum.

Contact our team here to learn how our COVID-19 research and generational insights can quickly help you and your organization to lead, market, and innovate through this challenging time to emerge stronger.

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