Aussie youth are a tricky bunch. Just when we think we have them figured out, they surprise us. (Well, they surprise those of us who are paying attention. For the rest, they will remain stereotypes and tabloid headlines in perpetuity.)

As a brand, trying to connect with this often hard to reach audience, how do you guarantee attention, engagement and a longer-term interest when there as so many other voices vying for their attention?

The answer is both as complicated and as simple as making sure you genuinely understand them and the things that are important to them. One of the reoccurring themes we found during our Young Blood: The New Australia research, speaking to 2,030 18-30 year-olds across the country, was the importance of human connection. Connection to other people through technology, food, nature, sport, experience. Every element of their lives revolves in one way or another with making connections and having experiences. Paying attention to this can help your brand connect with them too.

INDIVIDUALISM

We are so conditioned to think of our audiences as demographics and pigeon hole them into easy to understand packages, we often forget how beautifully rich, complex and multi-faceted real human beings are. 

It’s unsurprising therefore that nearly half of young Aussies think that advertisers are getting it wrong when it comes to understanding them and what is important to them. 

But young people love to have the opportunity to express themselves and tell you about themselves. That’s because 3 out of 5 feel that their generation values individualism more than any other generation ever has. And they want their favourite brands to do the same. This means brands need to show more diversity, more often. After all, over 6 in 10 feel that beauty comes in different shapes, colours and sizes but half of young Aussies don’t feel they see people like them, people they can identify with, on their screens or pages.

Have you thought about connecting with your audience by asking them who they are, rather than depending on second hand information? Starting a conversation with them will not only increase engagement with your brand but also create positive sentiment for a group that seldom feels listened to. 

ACTIVISM

They are activists at heart and use global and local political causes to connect with like-minded peers across the world in conversations about their future. 2/3 believe that they are the generation that has to take responsibility for forcing change when it comes to the environment. But they can’t do this alone. A third think that brands should be leading the way in helping to save the planet. That is an open invitation to connect with them through a subject that is weighing on their minds.

Brands, you can and should play a role but you must proceed with caution. Ensure you have a right to be involved and make sure your contribution outweighs the benefit to you because young Aussies are watching and either waiting for you to prove yourselves or fail- they will talk about it either way! 

Only 1 in 10 say they don’t care what a brand stands for but 43% stated that if they could afford it, they would only buy brands that were socially and environmentally responsible. If your brand can show it is moving in the right direction, talk about it- this audience wants to listen.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology has gotten a bad rap and seems to be used as the scapegoat for all of young society’s ills. From gaming to social media, the focus away from real life interactions and into the digital void is an easy excuse for a complicated time. 

What we found through the Young Blood research though was that young people overwhelmingly (79%) feel that if technology is used right, it can be a force for good. They have seen the power of social movements like #MeToo build global momentum online in hours and the humanitarian aid system being turned on its head using responsive, real-time technologies. 7 in 10 also feel that technology helps them feel connected to the rest of the world which is important for such an isolated country.

But where those critical of tech get it wrong is assuming young people are being less social due to it. 72% of our audience told us that they use tech to help them make real world connections (planning meetings, dates, social events, meeting new people, etc.).

They aren’t naïve about it though. 50% admit that spending too much time on social media makes them feel down/lonely and so are starting to become more conscious about the way they use their time online. 

And this is yet another opportunity for you as a brand to reach them. Can you use technology to help them connect in a more efficient way or disconnect altogether?

EXPERIENCE 

The most surefire way to connect with your audience though, is to immerse them in your brand. They are looking for reasons to get together and try something new. They want shared experiences with friends that they can talk (brag) about- the more unique, the better. 

After all, nearly half feel passionately about having fun and the same number feel passionately about having strong relationships, both of which can be achieved through sharing moments that make an impact. (It also doesn’t hurt that 2 out of 3 told us that the most important factor in whether they will make a purchase or not is experiencing a product or brand before they buy.)

2/10 young Aussies worry about being lonely and this is something your brand can help with. Do you have the power to connect like-minded people in a physical or digital space? Can you create communities around your products, services or brand? 

By Krupali cescau, Brand Director, Amplify

AMPLIFY: https://www.weareamplify.com/young-blood/new-australia/

THE MODERNISTS:  https://www.themodernists.com.au/