Here Come the Culture Creators

David Berkowitz David Berkowitz, Former Contributor

At the Sysomos Summit Margaret Czeisler joined us to share insights on who’s shaping future trends as Millennials mature. Czeisler has nearly two decades of experience as an entrepreneur, designer, marketer, and agency leader. She most recently founded Wildness as a kind of consultancy and research arm under video network AwesomenessTV.

Czeisler noted that Millennials are the most researched generation in history. But when she launched Wildness, she realized there was a dearth of information about Generation Z, the cohort whose earliest members were born in the mid-1990s by most definitions. As they enter their twenties they are a particularly influential demographic for marketers.

“In this generation, they are already rewriting rules of culture, of entertainment, of marketing, and product development, and they are doing so at a lightning fast pace,” said Czeisler. “They are incredibly inspiring as well.”

Generation Z may be hooked on technology (they’re often considered not just digitally-native but mobile-native) but that alone doesn’t say much about who they are. “Technology is their modus operandi. But the defining characteristic of this generation is their relationship to culture,” said Czeisler. “They make it and create it. They are active participants. They are catalysts of this culture revolution that we’re all experiencing and we’re all participating in.” This led Czeisler to coin the term “Culture Creators” (or “CCs”) to define this generation.

As they create culture, they also create communities. “They are supporting each other,” said Czeisler. “Not only are they creating content, but they are actually creating increased value on the act of creativity.”

It’s hardly surprising that they’re hooked on video, but Czeisler reported that 27% of Culture Creators create and share original video weekly; only 26% of all US adults have ever uploaded an original video. Nine in ten Culture Creators watch YouTube daily.

Culture Creators have a renewed interest in poetry as well. “This is the generation with the shortest attention span in history. Poetry packs an enormous amount of meaning into 140 characters,” she said. Marketers have the challenge of creating content that “is as meaningful and powerful as poetry.”

It’s also so important for CCs to show their individuality; their cultural currency means being recognized as an individual. Beth Reekles, for instance, is a young adult author who notched 19 million reads on Wattpad for her work The Kissing Booth. At just 15 years old, this South Wales resident signed a four-book deal.

These CCs have a profound appreciation for how influence works. Czeisler said, “They’re able to amass greater numbers with greater diversity, increase their influence, and ultimately increase their power.” They are also rewriting what celebrity what means. “Eighty-four percent of Culture Creators told us their favorite celebrity regularly invites their input into what and how they create,” said Czeisler. She quoted AwesomenessTV celebrity Maddy Whitby as saying, “Now superfans are the celebrities.”

As these Culture Creators make a name for themselves and reshape culture at such young ages, it is even more important for marketers to follow and understand them today.