WATCH LIVE | Beyond emojis and acronyms: beneath the surface of youth marketing
Join the Sunday Times GenNext online discussion with Yellowwood and Gautrain on how brands can ensure they’re relatable and authentic
As technology becomes more of a staple of our daily lives, it influences the way we raise families and engage our children. As a result, the older, “boomer” generation is struggling to relate to the Alpha children of today.
Lives that were once considered sophisticated and aspirational by the Baby Boomers (born 1946 — 1965) and Gen X’ers (born 1966-1976) are almost obsolete.
Few (if any) of today’s youth will ever have watched a movie on VHS tape, wound a music cassette with a pencil, fed paper into a typewriter, climbed off the sofa to physically change a TV channel, or heard the whirr of an overhead projector.
Gen Y’ers (born 1977-1994) will probably be the last to remember floppies, stiffies and CD-ROMs.
Today’s young people, Gen Z or Millennials (born 1995 — 2012) are comfortably immersed in a digital world where the boundaries between real and virtual are blurred. They are digital natives: at one with online influencers and social media, and busy building apps for anything that can be imagined.
While this level of tech sophistication is exciting, it’s also one that requires caution: with great tech comes great responsibility.
As young people become more exposed to conspiracy theories, fake news, and online propaganda, and measure their self-worth on likes and virality, it becomes the responsibility of marketers to understand what makes this generation tick and how best to serve them well.
What shapes the decision-making of these Gen Z youth? Is it that they grew up in a world of smartphones and social media, using their parents’ devices with an instinctive ability to swipe a touch screen? Is it seeing a world where they’re exposed to crises on a global scale: droughts, floods, pollution, famine, disease, war, corruption, and now Covid-19?
Technology has exposed today’s youth to so much more than the youth of the 1970s or 1980s. Marketers need to look deeper — beyond the emojis and acronyms — to understand the values they live by, and the consumers they’ll become
Join industry experts on how brands can ensure they’re relatable, authentic and trusted by SA’s young people, by building marketing campaigns that are engaging, sincere and approachable.