Q&A with Voxburner's Richard Jackson

With #YMS16 just around the corner, we sat down with our very own Richard Jackson to talk about Voxburner's journey so far. Read on as he speaks about our biggest event yet:

Let's start with a really simple question. Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Rick Jackson, and I'm Voxburner's Global Partnerships Director.  I set up and manage key partnerships for Voxburner in the UK and the US.

Sure. Could you take us through a typical day in your role?

Well, I can tell you that no two days in Voxburner are alike. We do start every morning with our team scrum, which is ten minutes spent together as a unit aligning our common goals. Starting the day reporting the successes from the day before is always great - after that is a full day of of meetings, as well as focusing on making and maintaining key connections with the best in the youth marketing industry.

So, why Voxburner?

Why Voxburner? Where should I begin? Firstly, I've seen the brand go from strength to strength over the past two and a bit years. We started off with conducting bespoke research project, and moved on to hosting small-scale events. Five years later we find ourselves hosting a 1000-person event at the Roundhouse. Honestly, words can't describe how proud I am. 

Secondly, I absolutely love brands. It's a joy being able to work alongside them every day, and to be let in on the real 'latest and greatest' big thing. I love it.

I have conversations with brands daily who say they haven’t yet found a way to crack this emotional connection with young people. That’s what we’re here to fix.

What are your favourite brands?

Anyone who knows me will probably know it's a toss-up between Domino's and Apple. Both for completely different reasons too.

Apple is all about the lifestyle they've inspired. I love the aesthetic - and I love the user-friendliness of every device they've come up with. I'm a total Apple geek - and yes, I use Apple Music over Spotify!

Meanwhile Domino's is all about the feelings the brand invokes in me. I guess you say Domino's and I have an emotional connection - it reminds me of having a relaxed night in with mates, it reminds me about home. They're not aiming to be anything else but themselves either, which clearly works as there is no brand that can rival them in the delivery food market.

That's what we're trying to teach brands to do with YMS. We're teaching brands to develop that emotional connection; that emotional ping in people's brains. I have conversations with brands daily who say they haven't yet found a way to crack this emotional connection with young people. That's what we're here to fix.

With that in mind, could you let us in on your storytelling process? What do you think makes a good corporate story?

The trick is with selling is that there is never one single 'sell'. Of course, you have to know your product like the back of your own hand, but that's just the foundation. 

When you're on the phone, put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side. What do they want to hear? How engaged do they seem? What should be the goal of this conversation? Figure out what excites them and adapt to their desires. 

This generation are the new influencers. To tap into their age group is to open yourself to a whole world of marketing possibilities.

What do you think makes the Youth Marketing Strategy story a worthwhile story to tell?

I think YMS is is interesting because we're changing the narrative. We're debunking the myth of the 'mysterious millennial', and telling brands that they should focus on what is traditionally seen as a difficult demographic. Trust me, millennials are not as mysterious as you think they are. You just have to have empathy. 

This generation are the new influencers. To tap into their age group is to open yourself to a whole world of marketing possibilities.

Picture Voxburner in 5 years time. Where do you want it to be? 

We have quite aggressive plans for growth, which is hugely exciting. Post YMS LDN 2016 we're launching our third New York event, and for the first time we're holding a two-day conference, where previously we've only attempted one day. 

In 2017 we're looking to launch in Berlin, and after that we plan to crack even more of Europe. We want to be everywhere - but I would say Australia might be a bit of a stretch.

Voxburner founder Simon Eder and Rick Jackson in a fun outtake from Voxburner's recent Metro feature photoshoot.

Voxburner founder Simon Eder and Rick Jackson in a fun outtake from Voxburner's recent Metro feature photoshoot.

And now for some fun questions. What is the one thing that gets you up in the morning?

I know it's cheesy, but I love going to work to face new challenges and new situations. Never a dull moment, working in Voxburner. I mean there's that and my daily morning Nespresso.

What is your favorite piece of tech at the moment?

 Oh god, what a question. It would have to be my new MacBook. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an actor, so I went to drama school and trained for two years.

Is acting in your future?

Well, it was. I was an actor for eight years and I had a great time, but I felt I needed a bigger challenge.

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to most at YMS16?

I just can't wait to see it all come together. There's nothing like sitting back after letting the audience into the auditorium, waiting for those last few moments before it all begins. That's what I've been waiting for.

YMS16 attendees, you will no doubt catch Rick at the Roundhouse from 8-9 March 2016. You can also follow him on Twitter at @richardjackson3.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.