On September 21, Hong Kong business leaders and entrepreneurs turned their attention to Gen Z, discussing how brands can stay relevant and make an impact with this crucial demographic. Tatler Hong Kong's society editor Tara Sobti hosted the panel, which featured Mikyung Kim, founder and executive producer of creative production agency MKIM & Co; Jerry Wong, aka Jerry Haha, founder of creative studio Artificial Dust; and Michala Sabnani, content director of the South China Morning Post’s branded content division, Morning Studio.
During an insightful session, the panellists shared takeaways on how to engage with this value-led, digitally savvy generation, also known as “zoomers”. Topics included the value of Gen Z in the workforce, the difference between Gen Z in Asia and their peers in the West, and the importance of hiring the right creative personnel for brand campaigns.
“Zoomers are the most honest generation about what makes them happy,” said Sabnani. “They are unapologetic about what makes them tick, what music they listen to, what they wear, and the media they consume. They aren’t willing to apologise for their definition of happiness and that’s really important.” She compared this younger group to the generations that came before them, explaining that their definition of success differed from that of their parents and grandparents. “Gen Z rejects all of that,” she said.
Wong, the only Zoomer on the panel, agreed with Sabnani, but said he and his peers preferred not to be defined by labels: “We’re here to cause change and not follow any rules. We’re independent-minded.” He also shared his thoughts on where he felt most brands get it wrong when targeting his generation.
Kim stressed the importance of showing respect to this younger cohort, many of whom will soon be entering the workplace, and shared her own journey in the marketing industry. “Gen Z care more about the values of a brand than the product. They’re very smart and have a lot to say. You need to respect them for them to respect you. When I was a young producer, I was told to keep my head down and just bite the bullet. It’s very different now. Having Gen Z on your team is a huge asset,” she said.
The evening ended with Sobti asking panellists for their leftfield predictions for what Gen Z’s future may hold. “I hope we go back to having more of a human connection and learn how to talk again,” said Wong.
Photo 1 of 10 Jerry Wong
Photo 2 of 10
Photo 3 of 10 Kiana Nanik
Photo 4 of 10 Kiana Nanik, Shanti Sadhwani and Vinay Vaswani
Photo 5 of 10 Mikyung Kim, Tara Sobti, Jerry Wong and Michala Sabnani
Photo 6 of 10 Brandon Wong
Photo 7 of 10 Mira Uttamchandani
Photo 8 of 10 Abby Cadman
Photo 9 of 10 Mikyung Kim
Photo 10 of 10 The panellists spoke to a room of entrepreneurs curious to learn about Gen Z