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Navigating Gen Z Slang: A Guide for Modern Brands

As a steward of your brand's identity, it's an important job of any marketer to listen, to pay attention to how people are responding to, interacting with, and referring back to your public presence. But listening doesn't do anyone much good if you don't understand the slang people are using when they react to your content. Maybe I can help.

Group of Gen Z laughing at something on a screen

Attempting to capture even a piece of the ever-evolving landscape of Gen Z slang in a blog post is a daring feat. As quickly as new expressions emerge, they just as swiftly fade into obscurity. Nevertheless, let's dive into a snapshot of some popular Gen Z sayings that have gained traction recently, all while acknowledging the fleeting nature of these linguistic phenomena. Let’s get started!


On TikTok, side-eye is our secret weapon of sass. This gesture is how we show doubt, suspicion, and mock something or someone without saying a word. We've turned it into an art form, adding that extra flair of attitude to react to the absurd, cringe-worthy, or downright hypocritical. It's the ultimate way to be like, "Nah, that's not it, fam." If your brand ends up on the receiving end of a TikTok side-eye, it's time to reassess and bring the laughter back. Nobody wants to be the subject of a side-eye spectacle, trust me! Least of all, your brand.


A shortened version of charisma, rizz describes that awesome friend who's just too cool for school. They're the epitome of swag and confidence, with a dash of mystery thrown in. Rizz has this effortless charm that makes heads turn and hearts flutter. They're the trendsetter, the influencer, the one who knows what's up before anyone else does. Having Rizz is a good thing. When we say "Rizz is unmatched," we mean “they're in a league of their own”. It's like they've unlocked the secret to being effortlessly cool. If this word is used to describe your brand, you’re doing something right.


"BFFR" stands for "Be F*cking for Real." It's a phrase used to emphasize that someone needs to be completely honest, genuine, and authentic. Essentially, you're telling someone to cut the BS and get real. When you hit someone with a "BFFR," you're straight up telling them to drop the act, cut the fake vibes, and be genuine. If your brand is called out using BFFR, it’s likely a sign you’ve missed the mark.

Here's to embracing the ever-evolving language of our times, staying relevant, and fostering genuine connections across generations. And who knows, by the time you finish reading this, a whole new set of Gen Z slang may have emerged and deemed this irrelevant. (For your sake, I hope not). Stay curious!


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