Ypulse Interview: Lauren Puglia, Undercurrent
- May 27th, 2009
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Today’s Ypulse Interview is with Lauren Puglia, a strategist at the digital think tank Undercurrent. Lauren will be appearing on the panel “What’s Cool in 2009 and Beyond” at the Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup. To hear more on the rising trends and fading fads, save a last minute seat and register today!
Ypulse: Can you describe a little more about what Undercurrent does and their general philosophy towards connecting with youth?
Lauren Puglia: Undercurrent is a digital think tank that develops strategies for deeper and more lasting relationships in the digital space. We used to focus on helping brands connect with folks that were born digital, but now we help them connect with a much broader group, as we’re all increasingly addicted to technology (social or otherwise). Our philosophy for engaging youth is to focus on passionate fans (finding them and/or making them) and to be as transparent and honest as possible. Be who you are, and if you don’t like who you are, change it. We talk to people based on their passions, habits, and behaviors rather than demographics, which don’t make sense on the Internet. In this way, we connect with youth in the same way that we connect with everyone else, by listening and talking back. Oh, and quite a few of us ARE youth.
YP: What recent trends have you fascinated by? Are there any that seem more like passing fads?
LP: Location tracking and digitally tagging the real world (for an example check out playfoursquare.com). Fads? How about celebrities on Twitter.
YP: How has social media changed for Gen Y in this past year with the rise of Twitter and their fatigue with Facebook and MySpace? How do you account for this change and what does it mean for brands?
LP: Born digitals aren’t going to abandon Facebook any time soon. Facebook was a part of their upbringing, although it doesn’t serve as distinct a purpose for them anymore. Facebook will continue to be a part of the daily online routine, but the excitement has worn off. It’s going from being the digital place to express yourself within your small network to something more ubiquitous like email. (How can it be the street corner if all of your teachers and grandparents are signed in?). As people are more comfortable with their online identities, they are becoming more open to public networks like Twitter, where it’s easy to meet like-minded people and expand the social graph. Twitter is also indicative of people wanting to consume media in a bit-size chunk rather than sitting down to read an entire magazine. As for brands, this is an opportunity to easily listen to what consumers are saying in public turf and to create direct channels for conversation, be it promotional or for customer service.
YP: Could you name one or two brands who recently did a successful job spotting and leveraging technology trends?
LP: We are fans of JetBlue, Starbucks and Whole Foods on Twitter and H&M and Dell Small Business on Facebook.
More on Lauren
Lauren is a strategist at Undercurrent, a digital think tank based in New York City, where she works with Pepsi. She is a people person: she likes listening, observing and talking to them. She also is fascinated with the differences between subculture and pop culture and technology’s role in speeding up the trend cycle. Prior to joining Undercurrent, Lauren worked at Deep Focus, where she led innovative digital strategies for entertainment, lifestyle and fashion brands including HBO, Dewar’s, Havaianas and Vitaminwater. Lauren likes to split her time exploring the globe via her laptop screen and using her feet. She is very, very afraid to unplug. Her personal blog is fortheartofit.