SA Gen Z become a central influence in political and social change


Seventy-eight percent of South African respondents who regularly post online revealed that they post content to help cause social change – the highest score of any other market

South Africa’s Gen Z is leading other generations down the path of impactful social change – as the general populace is more concerned about the state of our country than themselves.

This is according to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report 2022: The New Cascade of Influence which will launch at a Twitter Spaces event on November 9. The report surveys people from 14 countries around the world – with more than 14,000 respondents – and found that there is a new core demographic that is driving a disruptive shift in the purchasing power of current and future consumers.

But this behavior is not limited to what consumers buy, but also to the way they live and what they believe. This is demonstrated by an average of 60% of South African respondents who say they are influenced by teenagers and college-aged people in what they buy, and 49% who say they are influenced by this cohort in how they buy. actively create change – in other words, the way they engage in social activism.

“In the past, we have underestimated the power of Gen Z, but our data shows that it is they who will unlock large-scale societal action and activism, even among older demographics. And in South Africa, they will continue to use social media as a tool for political and social activism. Gen Z are fueled, not paralyzed by fear,” says Sanesh Maharaj, Brand Manager at Edelman South Africa.

The Twitter Spaces event, hosted by Edelman Africa, will unveil these new findings, alongside some of South Africa’s most influential Gen Zs, brand advocates and industry experts. Including:

  • Sanesh Maharaj, Brand Manager at Edelman South Africa
  • Rosie Delk, Research Analyst at Edelman DxI
  • Sphelele Mjadu, Public Relations Manager at Unilever
  • Babazile Mbetse, Group Head of Public Relations at Liberty
  • Aya Mhlongo, Marketing at SHOWFAR Tech

Data from the report showed that while respondents in other markets who post regularly were less likely to use social media and their own content as a way to change the world, 78% of South African respondents revealed that they post content to help drive social change – the highest score of any market.

“It is for this reason that we have chosen to publish these important findings through a social media event. We want to make this as accessible as possible and meet this generation where they are, so we can hear their voice. By sharing the data and insights we have on Gen Z, we hope it will facilitate a better understanding of this generation of consumers who are demanding genuine and positive behavioral change in the company, brand and social space. communications,” says Maharaj.

“For several years, our Trust data has shown that this generation has a strong connection to trust in brands. Establishing trust with this audience has been proven to secure brands’ relationships with future consumers,” he says.

Some of the other findings from the report, which will be discussed by our panelists at the report launch:

  • 86% of South Africans surveyed say they are concerned about the future of the country – tied with Mexico and second only to Brazilian respondents at 92%
  • 53% of South Africans engage in belief-based brand choices, although this percentage rises to 66% among Gen Z respondents.
  • Almost one in three South Africans are boycotting brands that still do business with Russia in the wake of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
  • 68% of South Africans say teenagers and college-aged people (Gen Z) influence how they get their news.
  • 71% of Gen Z respondents say they want to work with brands to address societal issues such as climate change, poverty, racism, information quality and gender inequality.

If you are interested in attending Edelman Africa’s launch event for The New Cascade of Influence, please contact [email protected] or visit @EdelmanAfrica

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