Young people outwardly like to see themselves as individuals, however we all know that ‘belonging’ to a tribe or subculture, or indeed belonging to many at one time – is the key way young people create their identity.
Today, young people are more than just connected, they are hyper connected on a digital planet. They can all control, create and distribute content. They can all have their opinion spread, shared and discussed. They now have remarkable influence over brands.
Today, YOUNG PEOPLE ARE THE MEDIA and brands need to respect their social influence.
They’re evolved to copy and now brand decision making very much happens amongst the ‘swarm’ within social networks. Gen C prefer brands they hear about from friends or social networks.
Their constant exposure to status updates occur independent of face to face interaction. The rapid fire nature of these updates, provides almost constant exposure to new ‘news’. Their response is to filter the information they receive, and prioritise what they pay attention to – what matter to them. They start to prioritise ‘my world’ over ‘the world’.
Put simply, youth view the world as ‘Me, My World, The World’ (a concept first introduced by Peter Fisk a few years back in a presentation called ‘The Consumer Agenda)
‘My World’ is a representation of who I am, and also adds meaning to my life by connecting ‘Me’ to the things I care about or want.
‘The World’ is everything outside of ‘My World’ that does not have immediate meaning to ‘Me’. The vast majority of advertising operates in ‘The World’.
I gain and maintain credibility in my friends worlds’ by expressing opinions, sharing ideas, observations and thoughts. ‘My’ influence within my friends world is based on what I share, and how frequently.
The new youth mantra is ‘I share, therefore I am’.
Gen C ‘The Connected Collective’ rely on social networks to ‘protect’ themselves from info overload. As a result, info that comes to ‘Me’ through ‘My World’ will be prioritised, receive more attention and go ‘viral’ so to speak.
Brands today looking to engage Gen C have to create content that has ‘conversational capital’.
Content that is relevant, useful and entertaining.
Content they can actively spread through ‘My World’. That content could be anything from film, to games to online experiences to applications and utilities.
Content that begs a reaction and has a fun social interface.
Content that connects them with each other, not just with a brand.
Content that they can participate in, play with or produce themselves and pass on.
Content which enhances their social status within ‘My World’ and says something about who they are and which tribe they belong to.
That’s how you get into ‘My World’
Big thanks to my old DDB colleague, PC (now Digital Planning Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland) who authored the descriptions and insights above on ‘Me, My World, The World’ from a DDB Yellow Paper he co wrote with Brent Annells earlier this year.