Young people

What do young people really want?

This week, I was lucky enough to attend the Digital Disruptors Final at Old Billingsgate, as part of Performance Live.

The event really opened my eyes to the minds of young people, what they want and how we can connect with them. 

The Digital Disrupters is a funded programme set up with the mission to encourage young people to delve into digital and think about opportunities that could help with their everyday lives. Over the summer, the contenders got involved in a week of workshops learning about campaign work, lens creation and social platforms, along with a month of mentoring sessions to create a social or video channel with a purpose. 

Giving teenagers the chance to learn all these skills at such a young age, to create something that will make a difference, really shows how important this programme is.

Having only left my teen years five years ago, if I was given the opportunity to learn such varied skills and use them to bring change, I would have jumped at the offer. 

One of the events of the morning was a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style session, where five groups of young people presented their digital innovation ideas to four dragons, including our very own fabulous CEO Tamara Littleton. The dragons scored the teams, and at the end of the session one group was crowned the winner of Digital Disruptors 2019. 

Watching these young people take to the stage really highlighted what they want, how we can reach them and help them realise their opportunities.

There were groups who wanted to create a platform to give young people the chance to take part in educational and leisure activities. A young boy created a very innovative idea on his own to offer advice and news to those who don’t have means to phones and other technology and one group wanted to give teens the chance to create a legacy and give their life meaning. 

The team that stood out for me, which was also the winning group, was a group who called their platform CHANG3. They opened their presentation with a selection of images of young people who had lost their lives to knife crime over the last few years. The overall message of their platform is a channel that alerts young people to the current issues and problems, showing there is always room for change. 

As many of the groups pointed out, we’re so quick to assume the negative with teens and we forget that the majority of teens want change, they want educational and mental health support and they want new opportunities to give them a better life. 

A consistent theme across all groups was how they would promote their platforms and reach their market, each targeting 12-18 year-olds. Each group used Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube to reach their audience along with investing in influencers who can make a difference. Facebook was non-existent. 

When the event was over, I came away with the answers to three big questions: What do young people want? Change and opportunities. How can brands connect with these people? Through influencers who want to make a difference. Where can they connect with these teens? Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube.

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