What TikToks does about vaginal health have taught me about Gen Z

Are you wiping your vulva the right way?

If you’ve ever thought about asking yourself this question, you probably would on Google. But for Gen Z, learning about sexual health comes more naturally on TikTok.

This is why my company, Naughty bonsai, has had huge success making fun videos about everyday sexual health issues on Gen Z’s Choice Video App, demonstrating proper vulva wiping technique a watermelon (front to back, no double wiping), what is your the period color means, and how to recognize Symptoms of UTI. The Gen-Zers want their burning questions about sexual and vaginal health answered, with on-trend songs and dances included. Our videos, which provide accurate information and offer hands-on sex education, now have over 120 million views.

Theoretically, Gen Z shouldn’t run out of sexual health information or anything. They grew up digitally with all the information at their fingertips. But our content clearly filled a lack of education and connection on taboo health topics. The reason? Gen Z is looking for more than dry medical facts. They want the crude, the real and the relatable.

Born between 1996 and 2010, Gen-Zers now make up about 40% of U.S. consumers. By 2026, their demographic will overtake millennials as the largest customer base and social arbitrator. Their penchant for “reality” is here to stay, and they are already reshaping consumer trends.

Whether you’re creating content and products for the Gen-Zers or just looking to understand them better, you can benefit from what we’ve learned about what works and what doesn’t.

Adopt TikTok, it’s not too late

Five years ago, the Millennial Brands Playbook was due to launch on Instagram. Brands like Glossier have used organic engagement and community to drive phenomenal growth. But over time, Instagram has become incredibly saturated and expensive, dominated by paid ads.

With over a billion monthly active users, TikTok is the new platform of choice. TikTok took just five years to reach one billion users, compared to eight years for Facebook. But brands haven’t adapted as quickly to the new platform where Gen Z spends most of their time. (TikTok’s largest demographic is 16-24.) Forward-thinking Gen Z brands are just starting to experiment with what it means to be a TikTok brand first.

Be real

Being low key isn’t very Gen Z. Growing up digitally, they’re comfortable talking about their struggles and insecurities online. They attach great importance to authenticity. Consumer research has found that 82% of Gen Z customers trust a business more if he uses images of real customers in advertisements.

Getting connected with Gen Z doesn’t require a huge budget, but you should feel comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. It might sound awkward or difficult, but you just have to agree to be more real than with other audiences.

For us, that means we avoid euphemisms like “intimate health” and “out there”. We speak directly about the vagina and the health of women on a daily basis.

Don’t worry too much about a particular image

Watch the quintessential Gen Z Billie Eilish and her “it’s all about what makes you feel good” approach. At this year’s Met Gala, she replaced her baggy clothes and green hair with a Marilyn Monroe-inspired ball gown and platinum blonde headdress. Before meeting Prince William at the James Bond movie premiere, she said: “This is going to be crazy. . . . I’m going to pee. She combines the awkward, the hyperfeminine, the weird and everything in between. Gen Z takes the gamut because they accept people for who they are, with no excuses.

Act rather than talk

Sixty-two percent of Gen Z surveyed believe they can change their world by their actions. They take strong positions and expect others to do the same. In addition, 90% of Generation Z believe companies should help alleviate environmental and social problems. They are looking for brands to give back in a meaningful way, beyond just posting causes on social media. And they hold brands accountable.

Some 69% of Gen Z are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes, while 33% have stopped buying from companies that contribute to a cause they disagree with. They don’t necessarily choose the lowest price because they very intentionally consider the issues and the mission of the business before buying.

Generation Z, more than any previous generation, wants to be part of your brand, your product journey and your history. The reassuring piece is that perfectionism is not necessary or desired. If you can connect with Gen Z members and bring them in, you’ll see a ripple effect. They will become your most powerful amplifiers, helping you develop your ideas and your impact.

Elise Johnson is a graduate of Stanford University and co-founder of Cheeky Bonsai. At Cheeky Bonsai, 1% of all profits are spent supporting sex education and women’s health initiatives.

Comments are closed.