***Guest Blog from Rebecca Roberts, Founder of Thread and Fable***
Matt Hancock may be pleased he didn’t totally stumble through an interview this week but his narrative around young people “not giving the virus to their grandparents” felt as relatable as Gavin Williamson’s sympathy to A-level students. So, in a crisis when you need to engage a youth audience how do you do it?
One of the biggest failings of engaging youth audience is the lack of readiness to properly consult and engage young people to develop a message. A token image, quote or approval of a message simply won’t cut it. Working with young people to develop your message and inform how you’ll get it out is time well spent, particularly with messages deemed critical.
Having grown up in a time of austerity, single-issue politics in the UK (Brexit) and differences in the way they communicate with friends, family and with the news and wider society, their ecosystem is totally different to other audiences. Ignore this and you’ve failed before you’ve started.
The data surrounding physical and mental wellbeing, educational gaps, social inequalities, youth violence and life prospects as well as preferred content channels, trends and innovations can be overwhelming when wanting to ‘get it right’ with a youth audience.
So much of the narrative to youth audiences is from a ‘telling’ viewpoint. Young people are told that they are too young to vote, that they are ‘snowflakes’ for speaking out, ‘idealists not realists’ when they are passionate about a cause and have been on the frontline of the virus in terms of education, care, emotional and physical wellbeing and overall development.
I’ll be sharing some of the key themes from data leading into and during the pandemic and what crisis communications should consider when they want messages to land with young people at the Crisis Chat Webinar on 23 September 12noon BST to join me check out the link
Rebecca Roberts has more than 16 years’ experience in marketing and communications spanning the sport and higher education sector. She founded her own consultancy, Thread & Fable more than three years ago, delivering award-winning campaigns, projects and content within the sport, higher education, charity and public sectors. Her passion for youth marketing has led to her own Engaging Youth report, training and workshops about the issues, challenges, trends and opportunities surrounding children and young people and how to improve marketing and communications to a youth audience.