The Hottest Youth Experiential Marketing Trends Right Now

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Youth Marketing @ Voxburner

This spring, the Ambient team attended ‘Youth Marketing Strategy’, two highly inspirational events days, hosted by Voxburner at Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch

The event saw a range of marketing professionals brought together for educational talks, panel discussions and creative workshops, all exploring the latest youth trends and uncovering cultural, social and digital changes.

Some of the recurring themes and subjects over the two days included ‘fake authenticity’, the power of micro influencers and real-time storytelling. Here we’ve summarised some of our favourite bits and key take-outs from the two days.


The event opened with an analysis of Voxburner’s Youth Trend report, a national survey of 16-24 year olds. A key finding presented was the rise of so called ‘superhumans’ across Gen Z , demonstrated through clear evidence of a generation striving to achieve an optimised self through continuous learning, development and overall self-improvement. Out of the young people surveyed, nearly half stated that they’d consider themselves an ‘overachiever’, while 84% felt it important to continuously improve themselves and learn new skills.

This generation is not only passionate about bettering themselves, but also the world around them. They are liberal and see themselves as citizens of the world with a keen interest in politics and equality and are redefining success by developing entrepreneurial, portfolio careers, utilising a range of talents and skills.

This is a very savvy and capable generation and it’s of great importance for brands to recognise this and be intelligent with how they approach and communicate with them. Brands’ messaging needs to emotionally resonate with the audience and come across as truthful.

“This generation responds to personalised content and experiences, but can quickly see through anything dishonest or inauthentic.”

Navigating digital language of youth: emojis and beyond

The danger of ‘fake authenticity’ was further highlighted when the digital language of the youth was explored. This is a connected generation of visual communicators and as a result their expectations on how brands tell their stories and communicate their messaging are changing. Brands need to adapt and change as the language evolves into images and videos rather than text, which is enabled by platforms and reactions to content.

It’s important for brands to test what resonates with the audience, thinking carefully about the messages and emotions that they are looking to convey and use the right language to instil credibility. Furthermore, they should also carefully select the type of content and news they respond to; only topics relevant to the overall brand positioning should form part of their reactive marketing strategy. In order to capture the attention of generation Z, treat them as adults and give them control, tease their entrepreneurial spirit, talk about passion, values and tell stories across multiple screens.

The subject and power of storytelling has been a hot topic for quite some time and with that, real-time storytelling has become an essential part of how brands communicate. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook Live and Snapchat are of course key for this and it is important that brands utilise these tools in the right way to form empowering relationships with their customers.

“Brands that allow their target market to co-create content form deeper connections with their customers.”

Gen Z’s are fed up with being talked at and want to engage in two-way conversations. Therefore it’s important to make sure that they have the opportunity to give instant feedback and also to open up communication channels by responding to online comments and interactions. There are great opportunities for brands that connect with their consumers around common topics and values in an interesting way and as a result create loyal communities of advocates.

Over 70% of Instagram users follow a brand or business and 1 in 5 of the most watched videos on Instagram Stories is by brands (The Power of Real-time Storytelling, Instagram 2017).  By making customers part of live moments, such as behind the scenes content or exclusive footage, brands are able to build trustful and rewarding 2-way relationships. Using employees or ‘real people’ as part of live moments will form much deeper engagement, this has led to an increased use of so called micro influencers with a smaller but much more influential, closer following.

Experience Seekers

As previously touched on, the definition of status is also changing. Success has moved from being judged on ‘what one has’ to ‘who one is’ as a result of personal achievements and experiences.

“This is a generation of adventurers and explorers, who responds to personalised and exclusive experiences, with 70% stating that they rather spend money on experiences than products.”

To discover unique events and ‘instagrammable’ moments first, is of great importance. This applies to all brand touch-points, but becomes increasingly important when trying to create seamless transitions between online and offline brand experiences. Brands should look to create phygital concepts with social media friendly layouts to bring their brand to life and connect with the younger demographics.

Brands that manage to create emotionally charged experiences that merge the online and offline worlds in an honest and authentic manner will, as a result, establish enduring connections with their consumers.

For advice on how to successfully engage your consumer and drive sales through trial, contact Ambient’s new business team ideas@ambientww.com

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