Working with Young People

Image from Unsplash of #Schoolsstrike4climate march with young people holding placards

As I reflect on Season 1 of the Hear It Podcast (because Season 2 is about to go live!), a consistent point in engaging youth audiences is to… well, actually engage and work with them.

So often though, a token ‘young person’ is used as a barometer for ALL young people, which like any audience involvement is really ineffective. So, I wanted to explore what ‘good’ look liked and discuss different ways youth voice can really improve the way we can engage young people.

I spoke with Harry Beard, one of the creators of Prospect 100, an amazing competition spanning a breadth of genres, celebrating youth talent but importantly helping to empower it, connecting them within each industry area and giving them unreal experiences and opportunities if they win.

Harry’s main advice was to spend a little time getting to grips with the cultures and sub cultures within your target audience in order to really understand the influencers, content and way to better amplify your message and engage them. Take time to build your brand or what you’re offering, so a competition in Prospect 100’s case, as something of intrinsic value to your audience; the experiences, the opportunity to connect, how it fits in their world, is it cool and who have you had collaborating with you on it?

Next up I spoke with Jay Richards, Co-Founder of Imagen Insights, who connect brands with Gen Z for brutally honest insights. Working with over 1700 consultants, Imagen are more than used to involving Gen Z with real-world brand challenges and questions, in order to ensure they are really stress -tested before being rolled out as campaigns.

The stand-out point in this episode was not just listening to youth audiences but acting on what they tell you. The brands who do this are having greater success. And here’s the thing – if you’re only listening to youth voice because you feel you need to, but then not acting on it, you’re literally just paying lip service to valuing their opinion as well as wasting your time and money!

But we couldn’t talk about working with youth audiences without taking a moment to talk about ad land and culture and why it is people seem to think young people are “unreachable” or alien to us. I spoke to Amy Kean, Founder of agency Six Impossible Things, the DICE charter, a lecturer, author, columnist for Shots Creative, oh and she’s also had a successful career in the advertising, media and PR industry.

We explored what makes advertising and campaigns to youth audience works, what fails and why Top Shop got left behind. A reminder that people are still people and young people can’t be banded as one homogenous ‘other’ group and continued to be so misunderstood.

There are some cracking examples across all three episodes, lots of podcast and book recommendations and campaigns that are stellar examples of who engages youth well.

If you’d like to get involved in the Hear It Podcast email info@threadandfable.com or DM @hearitpodcast