Houston, We Have A Problem
Many card office directors around the world feel like they are losing touch with their Gen Z students. Although it’s not a life and death situation like Apollo 13, slipping student engagement is something that ought to be addressed. Most of the disconnect is traced back to different generational upbringings. Below is a video TIME magazine put together on what you can expect from Generation Z.
Unlike other generations of students, Gen Z students have never experienced life without a smartphone. As a result, the ways in which they see and interact with the world around them is completely different. Due to no fault of their own, the generations before these digital natives, find it difficult to relate to this new type of student. As a card office director, this is a serious problem. If you have lost touch with your students, how are you supposed to deliver an excellent ID experience?
Technology won’t fix it
Technological advancements will not fix the issue. They will only mask your connection problem with a shiny new Facebook page (which, by the way, is outdated. My Gen Z brother says all the kids are on Snapchat these days). That’s right. Unfortunately, a card office Instagram account, sleek mailers, and a revamped website will not help you connect with your students. So how can you cross this ideological chasm, and relate with your cardholders in a way you never thought possible? Drum Roll Please!
The Key to a Greater Connection
You must communicate to your cardholders through story. Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time. From cave paintings all the way to blockbuster feature films, this practice has remained relevant. We now understand, through scientific discovery, that storytelling evokes a strong neurological response. According to the Harvard Business Review, Oxytocin is released when someone listens to a story; resulting often in generosity, trust, and increased attention. This is why people will pay $15 to watch a story unfold on a 50-foot screen for three hours (I just go for the recliner seats). This is remarkable! These days it’s hard for people to stay attentive for more than three minutes.
New look, same power
But isn’t story outdated nowadays? The kids are off to bigger and better things; all they want to do is to play on their smartphones (grandpa-voice). You’re right, Gen Z’ers spends around 5.9 hours on their phone every day. They are glued to their screens. That’s a fact. Have you ever stopped to wonder what type of content they are consuming? It’s hard to know exactly, but research shows that they watch 68 videos per day across their different devices. I’m willing to bet that at least 75% of the videos they watch are story based.
Three take aways: 1. Shout out to Youtube for making this kind of cuteness so sharable. 2. This kid’s perseverance is astounding. 3. The clip maintains viewer engagement for the entirety of the video (I’m willing to bet you watched the whole thing). Why? It opens up a story loop in the brain that compels people to keep watching. Story hasn’t lost its power, but the avenue in which story is seen, heard, and understood has changed. You used to hear story reverberating in locker rooms, at the dinner table, and around the water-cooler. Today, the sound is hushed because people have turned their attention to the Youtube video on their 6.5inch iPhone. Videos, pictures, and even tweets are simply new ways to relate to one another through storytelling.
Redeem Your Golden Ticket
The answer to your connection problem is not a technological facelift, it’s the power of story. There are millions of messages bombarding student’s minds throughout the day. With so much information vying for your students’ attention, what makes you think they will care about your card office email? You need something that is captivating. Something that can cut through the noise. Story is the golden ticket you’ve been looking for to reach the Gen Z students who seem disinterested in what you currently have to say. Connecting with your students is entirely possible and the future of your relevance depends on it. Learn how to master the basics as we explore the 7 elements of story in the upcoming series of blog posts.