Youth are NOT a target audience, they are Partners in production

Marketers need to stop thinking of youth as their ‘target audience’.  This description treats them as a destination point for marketing messages and assumes they live in isolation of each other. In reality web 2.0/ social media platforms have made youth remarkably connected and the way in which they discover, process and share information and content has changed dramatically. Forget target audience and trying to talk to individuals. Think about what ‘COLLECTIVE’ you can interact with and inspire – they are all about belonging to a group and now rely absolutely on that collective for which brands to engage with.  Todays youth are obsessed with remixing content and need to be treated as your partners in production and distribution of ideas – think of them as ‘message carriers’ – your biggest media asset.

Young people appreciate brand narratives which build and involve them across different touchpoints, not just linear one dimensional ads. This requires us to stop thinking about marketing communication programs as rigid structures – the future will all be about flexible ‘open source ideas’. It’s difficult, but you need to plan for content you don’t create. Like the fact that people may rip off your ads on youtube or create facebook fan pages, or blog negatively about your ideas. You need to be able to embrace this type of community feedback.

Our job as marketers is to spark conversations in culture around topics of interest relevant for youth, then allow for collectives to jam on it and send it on.  Savvy brands tell interesting and engaging stories which zig and zag across multiple media platforms but are built around a common theme which creates cultural capital amongst youth collectives.

Generation C- A look into their world

I wrote this deck late last year, my first presentation exploring the world of Generation C and how they’re different. In subsequent presentations I’ve spoken a lot about Gen C being the ‘connected collective’, whereas this presentation gives more of a quick overview of what this community of digital natives are into and some tips for marketers looking to engage them. These guys and girls are digital storytellers who use social media to express themselves and demonstrate their belonging to a community.

Addicted to Remixing and Mashing

Digital Natives treat content as collaborative as recombinant. Remixing is a digital behavior that is increasingly prevalent, as media production technologies facilitate easier and easier mashups . Gen C naturally understand that re-deploying pre-used content is an easier way to make their own things. ‘Control C’ is their most commonly used keyboard directive and they love anything open source that gives them the chance to play and participate. Check out youtube and search on ‘spoofs’ and you’ll see how many brands and movies have been spoofed and remixed by Gen C’ers.

Generation C- The Connected Collective

Hi everyone…my name is Dan Pankraz and I’m a Strategic Planner based in Sydney with a keen interest in the youth space. Here is a recent presentation I put together on Generation C- the connected collective. It’s all about how social media has given rise to a new type of consumer and the implications for marketers trying to connect with this crowd. Check it out