Meet Generation Alpha

Trends / Realness
Marko Geber
Davina Ajana
Aug 4, 2022
Introducing Generation Alpha. This is first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century, between 2010 and 2025. They will make up more than 1 of 7 people in the world, outnumber Boomers by 2025 and start reaching adulthood by 2030. According to generations expert Dr Eliza Gilby, the average Gen Alpha has over 100 photos of themselves posted on social media before their first birthday. Digital‑first, they are becoming consumers much faster than previous generations and will have the greatest spending power in history.1 So what kinds of visuals will best connect with this upcoming generation?
The key to a brand’s future success lies in its customers’ loyalty, so how can this be gained with Gen Alpha? The answer, for now, is through their parents (mostly Millennials and some Gen Xers who are waiting longer to start a family).  Getty Images VisualGPS research shows that the top focus for Millennial parents is wellbeing. If brands have learnt anything about Millennials, they want the best for themselves and for their children. Millennial parents research the products they buy, and they have control over which brands Gen Alpha is exposed to from an early age. Their preferred imagery for social media advice is seeing detailed images of a product or service in a real‑life setting that shows how it fits into people’s lives. Furthermore, videos are the most preferred medium for both their Millennial parents and Gen Z siblings, followed by images. Social media will be a major gateway in reaching Gen Alpha. When considering visuals for this generation, always think digital‑first.  

In visual storytelling, a child is often seen as a key metaphor for growth and when combined with curiosity, this can represent innovation and future growth. Getty Images VisualGPS research reveals that visual stereotypes for children aged 5‑7 years predominate and often rely on conceptual humor. Many tell emotive stories through the concepts of imagination, discovery and play, relying on visual clichés such as dressing up as a superhero, scientist, astronaut or businessperson. However, when it comes to picturing Gen Alpha authentically, it is worth considering the unique values that belong to this fast‑growing generation and how this can be better reflected in visual storytelling.
"Named the ‘new old fashioned’, Gen Alpha values family time and playing outdoors, even with their tech‑savvy skills."
Technology Driven
With the rise of Web 3.0 platforms, Gen Alpha will not be passive consumers.  They are growing up with responsive technology, digital learning and creative platforms like TikTok, Roblox and Minecraft. Getty Images VisualGPS research reveals their family members are extremely positive about emerging technologies, with nearly 8 in 10 Millennials and Gen Z consumers excited by the metaverse, bitcoin and crypto currencies. Gen Alpha’s relationship with technology revolves around kid‑centric innovation, creative storytelling, world building and virtual connections. This will influence the future of consumer experience. Forget their Millennial parents’ historic preference for minimalism, clean design and the ‘perfectly’ curated Instagram aesthetic. As consumers Gen alpha will respond to creative curiosity and a wider variety of visual styles that are playful, optimistic, messy and surprising.    
Connected to the Environment
How this young generation experienced the Covid pandemic will have long‑term impacts on their values. Named the ‘new old fashioned’, Gen Alpha values family time and playing outdoors, despite their tech‑savvy skills 2 Locked down at home, learning online and spending more time with family, their Boomer grandparents have directly or indirectly influenced this generation, placing significant emphasis on outdoor play. Getty Images VisualGPS research reveals only 7% of visuals trending with customers show children with their grandparents i.e.  playing sport outdoors, gardening or bonding with each other. Consider visuals that show Gen Alpha embracing family moments across generations which depicts how connected they are to nature.
Gen Alpha are also environmentally conscious so visuals that focus on sustainability are also important. This generation heavily influences their parents’ spending patterns and environmental choices are often a key focus. For Gen Alpha, reshaping the future means putting climate change high on their agenda. According to the Wunderman Thompson Commerce report, 63% say that saving the planet will be the central mission of their careers in the future 3.  Visual GPS research shows that Millennials best connect with visuals that focus on sustainable consumption, showing them as eco‑conscious consumers or running green businesses. While Gen Z respond most to visuals of collective responsibility that shows the emotional gratification they get from bringing people together to take action for the environment.  Personalizing sustainable stories for your target audience can be an effective way to engage deeper. Consider sustainable visuals that show how Gen Alpha and their families are taking part in different ways to care for the planet. 
Building Trust 
This generation also values the importance of inclusion. VisualGPS research has found that 72% of global consumers expect brands they buy from to support diversity and inclusion with 80% loyal to brands who support their values. These skews even higher for younger generations. Gen Alpha is set to be the most diverse generation ever and brands can build trust as they age into consumers by understanding how to best represent them authentically in visuals.

When focusing on visuals of Gen Alpha, are you conscious of stereotypes related to their perceived gender? Have you considered that older adults and grandparents might be caring for this generation? Are you relying on mothers as the primary caregivers in the visual stories you are selecting? Are you showing children of all body shapes, sizes and abilities? Inclusive visual storytelling matters to Gen Alpha and to be totally committed to DEI, is to look deeply into not only whether Gen Alpha identities are represented but how they are represented.  
[1] Gen Z and Gen Alpha Infographic Update (McCrindle)
[2] The Future's Bright: The Future's Gen Alpha (Beano)
[3] Generation Alpha (Wunderman Thompson)

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