A-Z of Experiential Marketing: Y for Youth



The penultimate in our A-Z of Experiential Marketing series brings us – rather predictably – to Y and the huge topic of marketing to Youth. Arguably, this 16-24 year old market has never been more segregated from the universal audience in terms of their mindset, motivations and media habits. Yet, as a market force, they are a powerful global community capable of making or breaking a brand in a day.

We can only really hope to scratch the surface of this subject in a single blog but hopefully it will give you food for thought if you are targeting an experiential campaign at the mobile generation any time soon.

Understand and Empathise

Brand experience for young people is about more than just making a purchase. As a generation weaned on multi-platform media they are used to filtering out messages they deem irrelevant and cherry picking those that speak to them. Extremely media savvy, they are suspicious of being told what to like and prefer to align themselves with a product that respects their individuality. Brands that succeed with young consumers are those that engage on an emotional level. Perennial youth favourite Coca-Cola has never been afraid to tug at the heart strings and its multi-media Happiness campaign – combining sentiment, social consciousness and personalized branding – has proved a huge success with the net generation.

Create Connections

As the first truly digital generation, teens and twenty-somethings are natural networkers, passionate about sharing their opinions, interests and purchases via social media. This desire to connect extends to communal experiences of all kinds and brands seeking to engage with them must be mindful of facilitating secondary connections when they do so. Witness the trend for pop-ups or other restaurants where the act of lining up creates a community and is as much a part of the experience as the food.


Be Relevant

Young consumers see themselves as global citizens and share a strong sense of social justice. Empathy, authenticity and tolerance are all important values and tuning into these is a way of winning brand loyalty. The Dove Real Beauty Campaign is a powerful example of a brand demonstrating a social conscience. In tandem with on and off-line advertising promoting positive body image, Dove has pledged to reach 15 million teenagers using self-esteem workshops in schools and youth groups. Brands that make a stand or adopt a campaigning stance will inspire devotion while those that appear deceptive (e.g. Starbucks and Amazon) will lose customers.

Earn Media, don’t pay for it

According to international pollsters, Nielsen, 84% of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations over any other type of product endorsement (Nielsen Trust in Advertising Report 2013). The status-making possibilities of experiential makes it the obvious choice for brands seeking to connect with a younger demographic. In recent years, footwear giant Nike has scaled down traditional TV advertising in favour of a series of dramatic status making activations aimed at young adults. Whether via a gigantic floating skateboard park or interactive event app, Nike has successfully and repeatedly built lasting consumer relationships by creating memorable experiences.

Create Fans

For Millennials buying into the brand is as important as shelling out hard cash for it. Social media has created a new form of currency where opinions and reviews are traded in place of notes and coins. The power of these platforms to globally make or break a brand is well documented. Activations aimed at the elusive youth market should always have a built in digital element to allow users the opportunity to post their opinions, images or ideas as well as to provide all-important secondary reach.


Make sure it’s mobile

Smartphones don’t just provide a communication tool for the mobile generation. These consumers buy more online than ever before and they do so via their phones.

Unlike older consumers, they’re not tied to traditional ideas of ownership. The proliferation of brands like Spotify shows how a ‘product’ hosted on a Smartphone can be as valued as a physical artifact. Make sure that access to your brand / product is readily available on any and every platform.


Have some fun

Brands that can connect with young people in stimulating ways will build lasting connections with them. The huge popularity of virals and online gaming is largely down to this age group’s appetite for novelty and participation. Apps like SnapChat and Instagram also satisfy.



So, there you have it, our 7 top tips for targeting Millennials.  By constantly bringing new technology and new rules to the party they present marketeers with a challenge but also with huge opportunities for creativity, stretching the imagination and charting new territory.

Want to read more of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing posts? You can now download and keep A-N as a PDF ebook.

Or select another of the posts from the on-going series to view online:

Audience | Brief | Content | Digital | Engagement | Fun

Global | Hindsight | Insight Journey | Knowledge | Logistics

Mobile | New | Old | Product Launch | Q&A | ROI | Social Media

Target Market | User Experience | Venues | Word of Mouth | X for X Factor | Y for Youth | Z for Zeitgeist

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