What cool means today

💡 The Big Idea

In 2020, it’s cool to care. And the changing nature of cool is affecting what shoppers buy, who they follow, and how companies behave.

Here’s the TLDR to our field guide on the new meaning of cool.

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Author: Quartz Staff

Is Zoom on the road to genericide?

It’s almost hard to remember it now, but before the pandemic, Skype was a more popular way to Zoom than Zoom was. Now, as millions of people continue to stay at home, Zoom is how we work, learn, and socialize. It is a noun (“I have a 10 am Zoom”), an adjective (“We’re having a Zoom wedding”), and a verb (“Let’s Zoom”). It has a gerund (“Zooming!”) and, of course, an endless stream of memes.

Having a product that people depend on in an unprecedented crisis is a pretty good business model. In its most recent quarter, Zoom brought in $663 million in revenue, a quadrupling from the year before. The market value of the nine-year-old company, which went public in April 2019,  stands at $102 billion and briefly was higher than IBM’s.

But when a brand becomes so ubiquitous that it turns into a generic term for any type of similar product, it can lead to the loss of trademark value and hurt the ability of the brand’s owner to distinguish itself from the market.

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Author: Michelle Cheng

What companies need to understand about Gen Z

Today’s teens and young adults have never experienced life without smartphones. They’ve grown up connected to their peers, influences, and brands across the world through a screen. That’s led to a completely different relationship with corporations compared to previous generations. With an estimated $150 billion in spending power in the US alone, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, companies can no longer depend on traditional cultural gatekeepers to reach today’s young consumers. They’ll have to meet Gen Z on their own terms.

Quartz’s latest presentation looks at the progressive priorities driving Gen Z, from the environment to body positivity, and what this means for companies hoping to connect with young people.

A powerpoint slide showing Gen Z's attitudes toward climate change and the environment.

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Author: Quartz Staff