Today’s guest post comes from Mindelle Ziff, President and Founder of Kaleidoscope Youth & Family Marketing. Mindelle discusses the importance of playing on consumers’ ‘turf’, while seamlessly staying relevant on and offline. She also talks about how critical it is to consider the context of today’s consumers in order to effectively reach and engage in their lives.
Many people switch hats throughout their days. I tend to switch shoes. As a youth and family marketer, I walk in shoes of all sizes and many generations – from young kids in their first shoes, to fast growing (and changing) tweens and teens, through college students in flip flops or stilettos, as well as their parents and grandparents in sturdy, comfortable shoes.
Of course, these shoes represent the ever-changing and distinct needs and behaviors for each segment of the youth and family audience. There’s much that’s different in values, interests, and communication styles among the audience segments, but there’s a unifying element to all. They are communities.
Communities are circles of your peers. Communities provide your own “turf,” places where you feel comfortable, confident. Communities are a safe haven and river rapid for new information, for growth and exploration. This is where word-of-mouth begins, flows, and builds.
Connecting your brand message to the target – within their communities – demonstrates your understanding of how they live and where they share experiences. It does more than just put your brand on their radar. It integrates your message into their daily lives. Your brand becomes a part of their turf and their peer base.
Connecting with communities authentically and meaningfully demands an integrated approach that’s both live and digital. Today’s teens and Millennials have had the distinct experience of growing up not only as consumers, but as creators and innovators in the digital space. Their participation in the evolution of social media has fostered an innate understanding of how mass communication works. Despite being a step (well, several steps) behind, the baby boomer parents are catching up.
While the connectivity of social media has allowed us to form instantaneous relationships, which for marketers means a larger, easier-to-find audience, it also forces us to examine the question of quantity versus quality. But is there a measurable strength to each one of our digital relationships? While we have the tools to measure our online connections through analytics and insights applications, a click through or unique impression cannot always be compared to the success rate of connections we form in smaller, personal communities.
Striving to create meaningful connections in both worlds – online and offline is key and creating personalized interactions between brands and their audiences, on their turf, within communities where they live, work, play and interact is crucial.
Mass messages need to feel personal and tailored. It’s finding the integration of the two worlds where the most meaning can be found, and connections made. For example, by engaging live with moms at the school PTA meeting or on the sidelines at the soccer game, they are inspired to share the experience with their Facebook community or through Instagram. What a perfect opportunity to connect live and encourage an instant engagement on your page or through a purchase.
It’s those little moments where a brand’s audience is experiencing the simple joys in life. Slip on a pair of their shoes, and you’ll see it. Don’t miss out on opportunities to connect during those moments, whether online, offline or both simultaneously to drive brand engagement.
Mindelle is a national leader in youth and family marketing, with a focus on cause marketing and health and wellness. She has built her career creating and implementing integrated brand strategies for Fortune 500 companies, government entities and non-profit organizations. Pragmatic business savvy, insight, energy and focus enable her to navigate the ever-changing youth marketing industry while consistently delivering results for clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bic. She is passionate about families and marketing, particularly about melding the two in a benefit-driven, cause-oriented manner that reaps tangible rewards for both.