June 30, 2014

Unity attends LSN Global’s Youthquake II

Here at Unity we are lucky enough to work with some amazing youth brands, so when the opportunity arose to attend the LSN Global’s ‘Youthquake II’ we couldn’t resist the chance to get an insight into the ever-changing and complex minds of today’s youth.  We made our way down to the super-cool LSN Global headquarters in Shoreditch last week to be greeted by staff in lab coats who assigned us to a table number and ushered us inside, among their home grown vegetables and signature LSN Global smell, to mingle.

We were shortly introduced to the speakers of the night: a popular YouTuber named Oakley, James Marks from Channel Flip, Emily Cramp, Editor of Girl Talk magazine Bea Appleby and Nina and Mark from The Cut. We were informed that the event would involve a sort of  ‘speed-dating’ format as each group sat down in their room and the speakers circulated giving 8 minute speeches (strict timings given due to the England game at 8).

Read on to find out what these youth experts have to say:

Emily Cramp works for a youth communications agency. They commission research into their target audiences several times a year, as they believe that true insight breaks down barriers and connects brands. It also allows them to avoid pigeonholing young people with general terms like ‘millennial’. Emily emphasized that 18-25 year olds shouldn’t be considered as a homogenous group as there is plenty of variation within the bracket. For youth currently the main emphasis is entertainment. Youth expect to be entertained by brands and are willing to show extreme brand loyalty if brands will add value to their lives. Being mobile is vital to any youth brand campaign and should be a primary focus. Interestingly Emily noted that young people believe that large tech brands will shape their future more than politics will. Any concerns that youth have about privacy issues involved with targeted marketing are overridden by the notion that brands ‘know’/’get’ them.

James Marks is an indie video entertainment specialist. He manages YouTube talent and has realised through this that authenticity is key. The ‘Screenager’ isn’t impressed by the glossy finished ad as they have grown up alongside homegrown YouTube talent.

Bea Appleby, Editor of Girl Talk magazine, provided a unique insight into the interests of young girls. Their recently launched pre-teen feminism #GirlsAreAmazing campaign was born of issues such as the confidence gap, over-sexualisation of girls in the media and a survey of their readers that found girls aspired to be ‘pretty, kind, pop stars’ instead of ‘brave, strong, scientists’. The magazine committed to opening the eyes of young girls to a variety of career options and role models and ironically features a ‘Hero of the Fortnight’ section on page three.

Nina Manandhar, co-founder of The Cut, spoke of how they co-create culturally rich media content with 16-24 year olds based in London. The idea is to use their skills to help express their ideas. Nina observed that youth today aspire to make money from their talents and hobbies much more than in the past. The Cut has collaborated with brands such as Doc Martens and Nike 1948.

Oakley, known on YouTube as Oakelfish, is a YouTuber whose videos focus predominantly on gaming and vlogging to a male 13-21 year old audience. He has found that challenge videos (think cinnamon challenge and Coke and Mentos) are the most popular. Brand collaboration works if the brand suits the audience and he is allowed to be creative and remain true to his personality. Oakley made it clear that people subscribe because they like him and are similar to him, creating a sort of ‘friendship’. Therefore it’s imperative that his personality shines through in order for brand partnerships to be successful.

What is clear is that young people are ready to give their love and loyalty to brands more than ever before; you’ve simply got to tap in to their key values of authenticity and entertainment and make them feel empowered by your brand message.