Young people are changing the way big brands sell

Often lectured about their phones being a permanent extension of their bodies, adolescents are spending roughly 60 per cent of their waking hours consuming media on them. Whilst researchers and parents alike have expressed concerns over the younger generation’s ‘addiction’ to these devices, marketers are having the opposite reaction; they’re rubbing their hands! In all seriousness though, the ubiquity of smart devices nowadays has opened up a whole new scope of opportunity for brands targeting young people; it’s turned the marketing model on its head. 

First though, I ask you to cast your mind back to long before the digital world, when the market followed a very simple equation. A company developed a product or service, and presented it to its target audience(s). It’s as straight-forward as that, and of course this is still the most common model. It’s one that dates back centuries, and has been continuously adopted by market giants. With Coca-Cola in the 19th century emerging with their trademark drinks, and in 1994 Amazon launching their ecommerce site. Fast forward to 2017, and things look quite different for some. With the amount of time teens and young adults devote to keeping tabs on their social media profiles, marketers now have the ability to tap into an audience through their Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat feeds and build a community before offering their product or service. 16-24 year olds, or rather the umbrella termed ‘millennial generation’, who are more commonly associated with a digital obsession, occupy the majority of total users for all of these platforms.

The content found in these spaces vary in format, with a leading one being viral videos. The proliferation of channels, such as Buzzfeed’s Tasty and The Lad Bible, are prime examples of how a publisher can build an expansive and highly engaged community, using quality and relevant content, in a relatively short space of time. Tasty, for example, gained a mass following of literally hundreds of millions, then went down the road of selling products like cookbooks and its hotplate. Marketers can now get their product in front of millions of people by just placing it within this content or selling something relevant on the back of it. These largely young communities remain engaged, enjoying regular videos and the like that inspires, informs or entertains them.

The benefits of engaging with young people through social media is being acknowledged and maximised by some of the world’s leading brands. Here at One True View, we work with household names including, McDonald’s, Netflix and SkyScanner to curate unique content that draws in their target market. This content is then posted across all of our social channels, and others that also have a significant following, before being organically shared and reaching a huge audience.

Not only are young people consuming this content, but they’re creating it too. Some teens and twenty-somethings who are overwhelmed by the choice of avenues to take after education, are opting for the nomadic life of a content creator. Travelling the world with all expenses paid, creating and curating incredible content for clients wanting to tap into this new way of taking their product to market. Young people are incredibly loyal to their digital news feeds; the amount of time they spend exposed to them, sharing content between thousands of friends online, offers an amazing opportunity for brands to gain wide-reaching exposure with the click of a button. So it’s now up to marketers to grab this opportunity with both hands, and keep up with the kids, because they’re driving this new model into exciting places. 

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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