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Engaging the New Generation

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The Voxburner Youth Marketing Strategy Conference saw speakers from music streaming platforms to FMCG brands deliberate the weird and wonderful world of young people’s lives, loves and hates. And how to market to them, of course. Here are our top three takeaways for brands from Europe’s biggest gathering of youth focused marketers and influencers.

1. Stand for Something

“The next generation of doers wants to connect with something greater than themselves.” Brand Marketing and Communications Director at TOMS, Allie Tsavdarides told us. Young people aren’t just ambitious. They want to achieve their dreams but they also want to leave the earth a little bit better than they found it. Businesses that are truly open, transparent and socially conscious will resonate strongly with the new generation. A recurring insight throughout the two-day conference highlighted the complexity of gender and sexual identity as a more accepted part of life than ever before; stereotyping will not wash with Generation Z.  Ariel India recently joined the conversation about gender equality with their powerful #ShareTheLoad ad campaign.

“The next generation of doers wants to connect with something greater than themselves.”

Sam Farmer is changing the personal care landscape with his unisex teen range. His talk humbly showed the incredible work he has been doing to fight against gender and sexual stereotyping. Co-founder of InSites Consulting Joeri van den Bergh tells us “gender neutrality has to start with the product”. For young people, brands need to take a stand for something, against something. Brands need to start movements, support causes, inspire young people to do something, do good, do better. Are you doing it?

2. Be Authentic

If brands want to empower consumers to connect with their mission, they must be authentic. That means, creating a consistent expression of their purpose in every aspect of their messaging and across all touchpoints. “Don’t hide your imperfections”, advised Callum McGeogh to brands. The generation growing up with Jennifer Lawrence and Lena Denham as mentors will embrace and celebrate imperfections more than ever before. Sport England’s This Girl Can and Nike’s Better for it campaigns are summarizing, with humour and charm, this idea that imperfection is more real and more interesting.

3. Offer unique experiences

Our relationship with stuff is rapidly changing - instead of owning, we are sharing. Benita Matofska, a global expert on the Sharing Economy, told us, “Generation Share want unique experiences, they want to belong and importantly, they want to feel like they are getting a good deal.” Belonging is to feel part of a community where you are connected with people. Brands need to enable sharing, to make it easy for people who need, to connect with people who have, and build a community of sharers. The Sharing Economy is growing faster than Facebook, Google and Yahoo combined. By 2025, it is predicted to be worth $335 billion globally and this is only set to increase. What will you share?

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