Glocalization, connectivity, sensuousness - new marketing realities according to Euro RSCG

Marketers looking to create a 'buzz' among global youth should focus on the Bees (the trend spreaders rather than the trendsetters) and get serious about brand messaging and the media.

These are a few key observations by ad agency Euro RSCG Worldwide's X-Plorer Panel which consists of youth from around the world. Select members of the panel convened in Amsterdam in late June for six days for a conference that focused on brands and trends, as well as what's hot and what's not in youth culture.

Euro RSCG Worldwide chief strategy officer Marian Salzman who led the immersive session with 20 young people from ten countries says, "Today's youth have created brand new marketing realities. They absolutely value brand authenticity and are opposed to brands that are didactic or that promote uniformity. These young people favour what we call 'glocalization' (retention of regional nuances in global branding efforts). They are marketing savvy and generally distrustful of the media, which tends to colour the way they view world events and corporate behavior in general."

The most important factor in successfully targeting any market is gaining better understanding of the consumers within it. The X-Plorer Panel summit revealed five important new realities that global youth marketers would do well to heed:

1. Bees are the buzz builders - The marketers' best chance of reaching the $115 billion youth market is to focus on the Bees. While traditional marketers target the Alphas, or trendsetters, as a means of tipping trends into the mainstream, the Bees are actually the consumers with the greatest influence over other consumers. They serve as self-appointed messengers, delivering information and opinions to other Bees and to members of their many communities. They are highly social and, unlike many trendsetters, very open with the information they have. So while the Bees are less likely than Alpha consumers to actually set styles or trends, they are far more likely to contribute to the rapid pickup of new products and ideas.

2. Anti-consumerism and anti-globalisation do not mean anti-brand - Global youth aren't opposed to brands and logos or even to corporations in general (although they are strongly suspicious of some multinational brands). What they do oppose are brands and companies that are preachy or hopelessly static. They like mixing commercial styles with personal statements.

Marketers can do well to reach today's global youth by conveying a brand's authenticity, linked with tradition and strong values which constantly evolve. Youth have empathy for independent, small, local brands, perhaps because these companies' struggles for success and individuality closely mirror their own lives.

3. Glocalisation is intimate - Young people do not find a contradiction between taking a global brand and embellishing it with local tradition - it's a way of celebrating global similarities while respecting key differences. Therefore it is not suprising that music channel MTV's glocal approach of combining a global brand with local content scored points with the panelists.

4. Connected 24/7 - The degree to which the Internet was not discussed over the course of the summit is proof of the extent to which this technology is a given. Global youth adhere to the notion that 'information is power' rather than complaining of feeling a sense of info overload.

Connectivity also means multitasking and managing myriad relationships online. However, whereas Asian and European youth rely on SMS text messaging throughout the day, it is still a rarity among Americans.

5. Feed me: in search of sensuous experience - Youth's credo is 'fuel the senses' preferably with healthful, highly flavoured food and fusion music that expresses passion and a sense of identity. Food is viewed as a universal language with many dialects, serving as an entryway to understanding other cultures. Since socialising is 'in', 'feel-good food' has more to do with whom one is dining than what's on the plate. While music genres have created strong, differentiated subcultures, the ultimate global music language is party music.

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