Discrimination is good

I don’t mean that headline in a racist way.

What I mean by it, is that alot of youth brands fall into the trap of trying to ‘appeal’ to entire cross sections of youth. They try and appeal to everyone and in doing so often end up with vanilla brand strategies that go unnoticed. They don’t discriminate in terms of which youth tribes and communities they want to align with or connect.

I believe discrimination (in terms of picking a specific tribe to engage with) is a good thing when it comes to youth marketing. Brands today need to be more subversive and tightly define what it is they stand for. Sitting on the fence is a death sentence for your brand. You’ve got to create conversation around your brands  ideology and it’s about finding the true believers who will stand with you  through the good and the bad. Discriminating (by standing against something) allows you to create heat and friction around your brand, some talk value, whether that be playing with a tension, or just having a different POV on the world.  As adliterate once said, “it’s far more important to be interesting, than to be right”.

As a brand , you don’t want to try and be for everyone. The brands that do, end up standing for nothing and become disposable , quickly outflanked by challenger brands.

Discrimination requires you to firstly find something in culture worth changing, aligning your brand to that in a credible way that creates a new reality for people. Complete this sentence..

‘We are for the…..one’s”…  or “We’re for those that believe in…..”

If you can articulate who you’re for, and the verbs around that it  becomes easy for people to either believe in what you are doing, or not believe.  Although I panned it in a previous post, Diesel’s ‘Be Stupid’ campaign is a good example of a brand that is discriminating well. They are standing for something, a point of view on the world, you either believe in it or you don’t. But at least, they are creating conversation.

One of the first creative directors I ever worked with said to me: “Being polarising is a good thing…at least you’re standing for something worth talking about“. In todays hyper cluttered world, I believe those words are more relevant than ever. Find something worth changing in culture, work out what community you want standing beside you and how you can spark conversation within that community. It’s just as important to think about who/or what you’re against.


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