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The latest youth trends: honesty, speed and genuineness

We recently attended the Voxburner Youth Marketing Strategy 2016 to find out what 16-24 year olds are talking about, what media channels they are interested in and what captures their attention. The two day event was interesting and brought together over a thousand brands, universities, agencies and youth organisations to explore and hear about the latest youth trends.

There were many insights that dominated the two days, but the most interesting insight can be summed up in one word – genuineness. This generation is one of the most accepting ever, with 75% of millennials saying they do not care about age, sexuality, gender, race, religion or income when it comes to selecting friends (source: Voxburner Youth Trend Report 2016). This generation is one in which labels have no place and brands who try to target people based on this will alienate this audience. It is now so important that a brand is honest in its approach and tries to identify with the audience. Hence the reason we have seen a recent rise in the impact and influence bloggers and vloggers have on media. Millennials need something to identify with; ‘real’ people are seen as more identifiable than celebrities. Success cases such as Dove natural beauty and Sport England’s #thisgirlcan illustrate that the way to get through to this generation is through real people demonstrating real issues.

So, how do you reach this audience? The Voxburner event put a lot of emphasis on social media. In a youth world where words have become empty, visual images, videos and content have become more prominent and where better to showcase this than on social media platforms. Apps such as Snapchat and Instagram have seen dramatic increases in download numbers over recent years because of the way that millennials consume media; quickly, visually and usually whilst they are doing something else. Some of the most successful campaigns that the event called out were ones where brands were omnipresent on all media channels and allowed conversations that may have started on TV or on outdoor media to move to social channels. It is important that youth brands have a presence and a strategy online to ensure they capture this audience and engage with them.

All Response Media Viewpoint

Most of these insights shouldn’t come as anything surprising for the youth brands out there – this is a generation of instant gratification and cross-media seamlessness. They respond quickly and expect brands to interact with their audience. The element of authenticity and the lack of labelling appeals to this generation more than any other before it. From a media perspective, quick and visual campaigns to grab attention is key – evident in the success of Snapchat and Vine, especially when twinned with a TV campaign that aligns messaging and tone throughout for more impact. It is imperative that a brand can be accessible and genuine in its approach so that it is inclusive to millennials and encourages interaction.