By Brendan Powell, General Manager – Isilumko Media
Trends in the youth market seem to dissipate almost as quickly as they are formed, but as we see our transition into the digital space further entrenched through our reliance on mobile and other handheld technology, we discover that certain trends could be here to stay.
Smart phones are the quintessential tool for the current tech-savvy youth. It has become a vital appendage from which they never detach, except maybe to shower. It is not only a part of their lives but is in a way a vehicle for their way of living.
Of all sectors, the youth are probably the most susceptible to peer pressure to the extent that a mass herd of “followers” seems to have emerged while at the same time they all do their utmost to stand out from the crowd and create a perception of individuality. In an interactive marketing environment, such as that created with campus activations, one can capitalize on the mass herd/follower effect of this segment.
By planting key individuals to seed a particular campaign, early adopters start a new trend. This is not new but it is extremely effective with this market and its impact is further amplified by the fast response and “real time review” capabilities of social media. These informal spokes people for the brand are able to authentically represent the brand or product based on real and honest experience. This could be considered a prerequisite when speaking to this market as they do not want to be told what you think they want to hear – they want the “real deal”. Including a trusted peer into the mix makes the engagement more impactful, relevant and legitimate.
It seems to have been said a thousand times before but social media is revolutionising how the youth communicate! Communication through social media casts a wider net which allows for real time communication amongst a much larger group of people than is possible in a face to face situation. Our Facebook friends extend beyond our “real life” loved ones who we interact with on a regular basis. In fact, FB friends include acquaintances, friends of friends, old school mates, former colleagues, potential partners – the list is endless. Brands have the opportunity to use social media platforms successfully to interact and engage in dialogue with the youth consumer.
Brands looking to interact with the youth market cannot afford to be absent on Social Media platforms. Fan pages, at times, replace websites and allow for engagement and dialogue whereas a website is particularly one dimensional. Furthermore, the low cost and inflated reach through connection with others is unmatched.
As we see communication exceed all preset boundaries one realizes the need for youth focused brands to communicate appropriately with this segment of the market all the while considering messaging, strategy and environment. Responsible brands must pay attention to the environment, the message and campaign execution in order to target the youth, with sufficient swag to grab their attention.