Strategy

The first priority in any company’s Gen Alpha plan

Time to listen to the generation that’s expected to have multibillion-dollar spending power in the next five years.
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· 3 min read

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.

We’re hoping that you’ve already read our piece about the spending power of Gen Alpha, which outlined the importance of reaching the generation born between 2010 and 2024 because that group’s spending power is expected to hit $5.46 trillion by 2029, according to research-based advisory firm McCrindle.

But let’s pretend for a moment that you’re just a casual CFO Brew reader who doesn’t hang on to our every word with bated breath. Maybe, just maybe, you need an on-the-go, quick-burning primer as you attempt to get a Gen Alpha financial strategy in place. And hey, would you look at that: We can offer that as well. Or rather, Kristin Patrick, the EVP, CMO, and head of e-commerce for teen accessories retailer Claire’s, can explain the most crucial ingredient of a good Gen Alpha game plan.

She’d know: When Patrick started at Claire’s, “the company had been taken through bankruptcy, and there was a new leadership team” she told CFO Brew. “What we very quickly realized is that we have this tremendous brand and tremendous equity. We’ve got about 95% brand awareness around the world. And when we talked to consumers, they told us, ‘Listen, we love Claire’s. We haven’t been in the stores in a while, but we actually would accept more from you.’”

So Patrick and her team “set out on a journey to transform the brand and to make it something that would appeal to the ‘Gen Zalpha’ demographic,” she explained.

Let’s get it started. Step one in that plan? Understanding the consumer. Historically, Patrick noted, the company’s demographic was “four to 24,” which she admits was “pretty broad.” Patrick and her team “had to really start with an analysis from a research perspective in terms of who the consumer was.”

For any company leader, she said that should be top priority before you start crunching the numbers on Gen Alpha. “If you’re not putting the consumer at the heart of your strategy, you’re never going to be relevant, and they definitely vote with dollars,” Patrick said. “I know that may sound simple, but to be able to, as a company, build different markets, abilities, and to be nimble, in some cases that goes against the essence of the corporate culture. I think that truly is step one.”

And while the top priority is putting “the consumer at the center of everything,” Patrick thinks the second-most important task for any Gen Alpha strategy is “trendspotting and cultural analysis. It’s forced us to build new capabilities around that.” And step three? You might have to learn “to let go a little bit.” In the years to come, she said companies attempting to target Gen Alpha will “in some ways, have to turn your platforms carefully over to the generation, and you really have to listen to them.”

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.