Lessons in Charitable Giving and Cause Marketing for Digital Millennials

December 19, 2008

Great presentation from the folks at Resource Interactive on how Millenials approach the concept of helping others.  As Brand Managers think about cause marketing programs, they should consider these facts:

  • 87% of Millennials (defined as 16-29) agree that  my priority is to look after my family, charity begins at home.
  • 50% of Millennials agree that regularly donating your time to help others in need is a sign of success and accomplishment.*
  • There are four types of Millenials when it comes to their views on “giving”: 1.) Consistent Givers, 2.) Uber Givers, 3.) Not There Yet, & 4.) Spirit Givers
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Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup East with special discount for Hard Knox Life readers

October 8, 2008

On November 6 & 7, the Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup East will be “where today’s top brand, corporate and social marketers, media professionals, educators and others gather to share successful strategies on marketing to youth with technology.”  The conference is put on by my friend Anastasia Goodstein and should be a great event that I highly recommend.  Hard Knox Life readers can use the special code KNOX to save 10% on registration.

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IEG Sponsorship Report highlights my thoughts on Youth Marketing

October 6, 2008

One of the first posts I ever wrote on Hard Knox Life was about a talk I was giving at the 2008 IEG Sponsorship Conference on “Youth isn’t a demographic, it’s a mindset.”  Well it turns out that IEG took that talk and turned into a cover story for their 8/25 issue of the IEG Sponsorship Report.  You can check it out on Scribd.com

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Microsoft makes a bold move to understand direction of social networks with their latest new hire

September 22, 2008
Danah Boyd

It seems to be Microsoft day here on Hard Knox Life, but they just made a key new hire that should be getting a lot more attention than it is.  According to the folks at ReadWriteWeb, Microsoft Research has hired danah boyd, who is probably the most famous academic in the world focused on youth and social networks.  As RWW points out, the hire is important because “If Microsoft is going to be relevant to the next generation of computer users, who better to pay attention to than the leading expert on how the next generation is using social networks?

danah hit the radar of most folks when she published that kids were moving from MySpace to Facebook.  As danah wrote somewhat controversially in her research:

“The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other ‘good’ kids are now going to Facebook. …MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, ‘burnouts,’ ‘alternative kids,’ ‘art fags,’ punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm.”

I have been following danah’s work for quite some time, largely thanks to the frequent coverage she gets on Ypulse.  She is truly one of the sharpest minds in understanding youth and how their use of social technology will transform culture and business.  It is going to be really exciting to see the impact danah makes at shaping the future vision of Microsoft and their view of the social web.

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Is there such a thing as Consumer 2.0?

August 27, 2008
Recently the guys over at Mr Youth, sent me a paper they wrote on Consumer 2.0 and the 5 Rules to Engage a New Breed of Consumer.  Accordingly to them, the following 5 rules dictate how brands should interact with a new breed of “connected” consumers.
  1. Authenticity Trumps Celebrity – Consumer 2.0 responds to honest, relevant messaging from peers over marketing speak and celebrity endorsements
  2. Niche is the New Norm – Consumers 2.0 do not form a mass market. They relish in choices and look for products and services that speak to them personally
  3. Bite-Size Communication Dominates – Consumer 2.0 digests short, personal and highly relevant messaging in bulk while growing increasingly adept at blocking out noise
  4. Personal Utility Drives Adoption – Consumer 2.0 chooses to consume what they find useful in their lives over manufactured marketing needs
  5. Consumers Own Brands – Consumer 2.0 will speak about, re-purpose and associate with your brand as they see fit

Overall I think these are great rules, though I would push back on a couple of points they made:

  • Is it really the “Demise of the Glamorized Celebrity”? – Mr Youth makes the point that in today’s world, there isn’t a celebrity a brand can bank on that consumers want to completely emulate.  I tend disagree.  Sure consumers have woken up to the fact that most celebs are simply endorsing a product for the paycheck.  And sure every celeb can fall out of favor and hurt an endorsement.  But celebrities are at an all-time high today…they just aren’t as “lasting” as they once were.  For instance, thanks to The Hills, Lauren Conrad is now a “real” celebrity even though she was a nobody a couple of years ago.  Celebrities can still be a great benefit for a brand, but it is no longer as simple as signing the biggest name.  An authentic celebrity endorsement can still be worth its weight in gold.  Just ask the latest “it” fashion clothing who appeared in the pages of US Weekly or the folks over at Pinkberry if a celebrity endorsement helped them at all.  Authenticity may trump celebrity, but it is trumped by authenticity AND celebrity together.
  • Is there a “Decreased Power of the Brand.” – This is one I just flat out disagree with.  The report says that they aren’t anti-brand but instead they just don’t care about wearing brand logos, don’t believe in advertising, etc.  If anything, I think brands are more powerful than ever today because consumers are looking for brands they can identify with…brands with a purpose that say something about them.  10 years ago, you just needed a powerful brand that could appeal to everyone like Nike.  But today consumers are turning to brands like Method, Whole Foods, and others that stand for something, that have a Brand Purpose.  Brands mean more than ever today, but at the same time, brand building takes more effort than it did in the past in order to make someone care.
  • Does the term “cool” holds less weight with this generation? – I think the point Mr Youth is trying to make is that “cool” has lost its universal meaning…but not its meaning all together.  It is just that the emergence of the niche has allowed cool to mean different things to different people.  And best yet, as they point out, people that define “cool” the same way as you are just a click away.
  • Is there an increase in the type of social connections? – I find this chart from the report pretty interesting.  It says Consumer 2.0 has 3 types of friends.  I do believe this exists but I wonder if the line between each is that defined.  I think to my own social network and I don’t know if I can define people into each bucket (except the bucket of close friends that is). 
Breakdown of Consumer 2.0 "friends"

Breakdown of Consumer 2.0 Friends

The report is for sure worth a read so check it out for yourself.

You might be surprised where Gen Y is hanging out online

August 1, 2008

If someone asked you the #1 website for teens, my guess would be that you’d answer one of the top social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.  Same goes for the twenty-something set.  Well if so, the most recent TRU Study would have proved you wrong.  I was pretty surprised to see YouTube #1 with 8 of 10 Teens visiting in the last 30 days…beating out both MySpace at #4 (56%) and Facebook at #7 (42%).  A few other things that caught my eye:

  • 50% of Teens and 56% of Twenty-somethings visited Wikipedia in the past 30 days.  I think that answers the question of what Geny Y views as “credible” information.
  • eBay makes the top 6 on both lists and is the #1 “commerce” site for Gen Y.
  • Yahoo is #3 on both lists.  They have been getting slammed recently and basically discounted as irrelevant by some in the press.  My guess would be the high ranking of Yahoo is thanks to their Web 2.0 plays like Flickr, Del.ico.us and MyBlogLog…not their base portal or search (except maybe Yahoo Mail).

TRU July 2008 Most Visited Websites

Young people are weird: A lesson on how to build lasting youth brands

July 29, 2008

Graham over at Mobile Youth pointed the way to a solid presentation on “Building Lasting Youth Brands”.  The presentation included three key lessons:

  1. Base your brand on an enduring truth about young people
  2. Keep changing to stay relevant (and “aim off” to avoid becoming dated)
  3. Be where they are but don’t confused the delivery with the message