Youth Marketing 101: How to get young people interested in a totally unsexy brand

We often hear examples of incredible marketing campaigns by cool brands like Netflix and Coca-Cola, which go viral among young people.


If you’re working on a less trendy brand, you might find this dispiriting. After all, it’s a lot easier to get your target audience to share your content and engage with your brand when it has a great reputation already.

However, there’s no need to be pessimistic: there are plenty of examples of more ‘everyday’ brands that have achieved great results through marketing to young people, from finance to education and many other sectors. Here are some tips to get you feeling inspired and excited about the task at hand.

Appeal to Gen Z’s values

Research has shown that Generation Z (people born after 1995) have strong opinions on certain issues, such as gender equality and the environment. For example, 55% of Gen Z choose brands that are eco-friendly. Therefore, if your brand is aligned with their beliefs, this can have a significant impact on sales. Using your marketing activities to highlight relevant initiatives, such as a charity project or carbon footprint target, could give you an edge over your competitors.

Go to your audience

If your brand isn’t traditionally viewed as ‘cool,’ you can’t rely young people coming to your website or social media profiles of their own accord. The answer is to focus your marketing on the platforms where they are already spending their time. We recently wrote about the social networks that every youth-focused brand should be using. Similarly, you should research which other forms of media your target audience enjoys, such as websites, magazines and TV shows. You could even plan direct marketing at relevant events and locations, such as flyering at a concert or advertising on shopping centre billboards.

Speak their language

Using teen speak in your marketing might not be appropriate for all industries, but that doesn’t mean you should use the same language for marketing to teens as you would to engage adults. Think about what your audience would understand and respond to, using clear, accessible language and relevant examples.


Want to hear more advice on this subject from industry experts? Come along to our panel on building brand love in an unsexy industry at YMS London in March, featuring speakers from the NHS, Monzo, Transferwise and more.