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Millennials and Brands at the 2017 Sunday Times Generation Next Conference

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Brands continue to shift from a one-size fits all approach in their communication, where their social media strategy talked to everybody and the youth had to fit themselves in, to now being more specific. The dynamic digital space and the emergence of more social media platforms have ensured that the youth organise themselves into multiple niche communities where brands must be clear and specific in who they are targeting. Studies prove that young people use specific platforms and anyone working to reach millennials should be on the most used digital platforms.

Based on the Social Media Landscape Report for 2017, survey respondents on among brands and agencies spent a significant chunk of their digital marketing budget on Facebook at 78% of total spend and Twitter at 12%.

Influencer Marketing:

Authenticity is a key ingredient to a successful influencer based digital campaign. Millennials are highly conscious of their surroundings and are not to be taken for granted because they gravitate towards genuineness. This is perhaps one of the reasons that SnapChat has gained so much traction among the youth as it feels authentic which is also confirmed in understandingteenagers.com. As a platform, Snapchat encourages real-time raw images, snaps from real life, while the likes of Facebook and Instagram represent highly curated and selective images. It was therefore unanimous among the panel of influencers that being ‘real’ was the way to go.

The relationship between the brand and the influencer needs to be a symbiotic one and not only serve to augment the brand’s reach but also promote the influencer’s image. It can be tempting for the influencer to agree to promote brands that are not within their frame of reference, which has proven to yield very little success. In fact, such campaigns put the influencer’s following at risk and could lead to a loss of credibility which in turn tarnishes credibility.

The onus is on the influencer to pick the right brands and on brands to perform extensive research on personalities that will connect with their messaging. The panel agreed that having the best fit of ambassadors was better than going for the highest reach. They must get to know what the possible influencers are known for, what they advocate for and what brands they are known to make use of before approaching the person.

Youth Marketing Landscape in South Africa and Africa

The youth marketing landscape is made up socially conscious youths who gravitate towards authenticity and reject being boxed. They constantly want to reinvent themselves, to be multi-dimensional and to build multiple income streams that give rise to the #sidehusttle. Their conscious nature makes them want to be part of positive change.

Mbuluma Silumbwe

Mbuluma Silumbwe is a senior social media analyst at Ornico. Silumbwe has an interest in social media analysis, digital strategy and brand messaging that drives buying decisions. He has been involved in youth advocacy, media and big data sectors for over 5 years.

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