Earlier this month, Ad Age and The Harris Poll launched a quarterly Gen Z Brand Tracker. The tracker, using data from Harris Brand Platform, measures how Gen Z’s sentiment (adults ages 18-24) towards prominent brands changes quarter over quarter, ranking the leaders by growth in brand equity.

Gap’s score captures a snapshot of how Gen Z feels about the brand at a particular moment in time. According to the recent tracker, Gap was the 8th highest growth brand from Q3 to Q4 2021 with 9.8% growth in brand equity. Gap’s brand equity score was 33.0 at the end of Q3, and 41.1 by the end of Q4.

Brand equity represents consumers’ perceived value of a brand based on its reputation. An equity score is comprised of four components: familiarity, quality, consideration, and momentum.

What is Gap doing to attract positive attention from this emerging consumer base?

Gap’s values resonate with Gen Z adults

Gap’s marketing messaging aligns with Gen Z’s vision for change. In Spring 2021, Gap launched a GENERATION GOOD marketing campaign. The campaign highlighted teen and adult activists who are working as forces for good to create a better future. Activists’ goals range from helping the environment, to championing inclusivity, diversity, and community.

GENERATION GOOD shares many common values with Gen Z, placing their brand on the same team for change. Unlike Millennials who tend to search for individual purpose, Gen Z prefers to unite with others to advocate for progressive societal change, furthering efforts of inclusivity, sustainability, equity, and diversity.

Actions speak louder than words

Gap lived their campaign messaging, announcing a $200,000 donation to the non-profit Fifteen Percent Pledge. Fifteen Percent Pledge encourages retailers to set aside at least 15% of their shelf space for Black-owned businesses. One of Gap’s GENERATION GOOD icons, Aurora James, is the founder of this non-profit. Gap also increased its early empowerment programs for minority youth, including internship and training programs.

In concert with their marketing push, Gap released a sustainable GENERATION GOOD clothing line made from organic and recycled fabrics. This was their most sustainably sourced clothing line to-date.

Understanding that Gen Z are the future mainstream consumers, Gap and other brands are smart to shape their marketing efforts around causes that this group cares about. Gen Z often feels misunderstood and unseen by brands. And they are also more likely than older Americans to use their buying power to support social justice issues. By aligning with causes this generation is passionate about, Gap is taking concrete steps towards developing a loyal, long-term customer base.

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Catherine Ake

Content Strategist

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