Youth Marketing Insights » Facebook http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 MySpace: R.I.P or maybe just life support? Thoughts on keeping your brand relevant. http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/24/myspace-rip/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/24/myspace-rip/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2009 04:49:49 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=130

There are many examples of once loved brand giants that maybe were a bit complacent, misjudged impact of new consumer trends and in turn lost relevance with their youth audience. Ahhh, those “fickle” youth…As we know 20/20 hindsight is a bitch…

What stronger case in point is my once beloved MySpace. In 2005 it was darling of the web and a pioneer. Today, literally, it has had to face a remarkable reversal of fortune, marked by announcing that it is conducting its second round of layoffs in a week to a total reduction of nearly 30% of its staff.

From my own account I was loyal to MySpace since early 2004 when I initially joined, but when my friends almost exclusively migrated to Facebook, I found eventually I spent less and less time anywhere else. By 2008 I rarely logged on to MySpace. Over time it appears the site has evolved to become more about discovery – discovery of music, new friends, etc. Perhaps due to the self-branding options. None of things I ever really used it for in the first place. I wonder for how many this is the case?

But this story is larger than me (feign surprise). It is influence that other social networks are begining to have on the world at large which makes MySpace seem to be losing its relevance…fast. To put it in perspective, look at the other social sites and their instrumental role surrounding the recent election and since protests in Iran. Iranian opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousav has been blasting out messages as Facebook posts (see Mashable post here), YouTube has proven to be citizen journalist hot bed for raw footage you weren’t seeing on network news (see another Mashable post here), and Twitter has become a tool of the revolution (see #iranelection trending topic here).…

MySpace on the other hand? Struggling to keep its head above water, and all at a time when social media has never been more powerful.

So where did it go wrong? Well we can be sure that it is oversimplifying the issue to say they are losing relevance to its teen market and so are struggling. There have been major catalysts outside of any consumer facing issues which escalated the process. However stats reveal the user base and page views have declined, and the younger rival Facebook has overtaken. That I would argue is related to its core product/service offering losing its appeal. More concerning for them, in the US where MySpace has reigned supreme, according to recent Habbo research (June, 2009), Facebook continues to grow in popularity up to third place from fifth in 2008. Globally the research also finds YouTube and Facebook already outrank MySpace as teens top Web destinations, MySpace appearing at #4 on the list.

I guess the moral of my story is if you are marketing to a youth audience, never get too comfortable with #1 status. Keep asking yourself how you are going to stay fresh, are you still delivering to your audience’s needs. Try new things. Most importantly LISTEN. It doesn’t take a futurist to to predict what your audience is already asking for.

Lloyd Grove states in a Daily Beast article titled, “MySpace’s Dizzying Fall“, while sure it has been an incredible drop from “hot” to “on life support” for MySpace, it is possible that “neither diagnosis is true”, or perhaps both are. I would like to agree with that and extend – we should never underestimate the opportunity to inject energy into a brand and refresh it back to life. It wouldn’t be the first time innovation and change has brought new life to a fallen giant (Apple’s iPod; Nintendo’s Wii?).

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Don’t Punish Us: grass roots campaign fighting for the rights of our social life http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/11/dont-punish-us/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/11/dont-punish-us/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2009 05:47:58 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=54 Oh the power of peer-to-peer movements…I recently came across one I had to share.

I was out over the weekend at a local watering hole in Sydney, waiting in an absurdly long line to get a drink, when I spotted an unusual donation box of some sort. On it was a photo of a girl holding a giant speech bubble that read “Who Says I Can’t Drink Responsibly”.

A bit of background for non-Australian readers. Last year Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated he would “scare the living daylights” out of Australian youth by highlighting the real and dangerous effects of binge drinking. The solution proposed was a $53 million national campaign including TV ads, increases in alcohol-related taxes, as well as a host of measures put in place at bars and nightclubs, including a 2AM lock out.

Gasp, horror many night owls screamed in protest!

Stop right here though, this is not a commentary on binge drinking, this is a post to discuss what happens when an “unimaginative” government initiative (as deemed by the Sydney Morning Herald) collides with the empowered millennials of today.

Back to the beginning of my post. The donation box was collecting funds for a campaign called Don’t Punish Us. This is a non-profit, grass-roots movement established to build ground-swell support in favor of retracting the above mentioned pub and venue restrictions. From what I can read those supporting this movement are not suggesting to turn a blind-eye to the issue, but instead question in rather harsh terms the benefits, or lack thereof, of those that were initiated.

So, you might ask, other than lambasting the government on a public forum (what’s new there?) what to date really has Don’t Punish Us achieved?

Well, quite a lot. Already they have 17,000+ registered as part of the petition, and 18,000+ members joined the Facebook cause. At some stage the sheer volume of supporters will force the NSW government to respond.

However it is not just about numbers as we know, it is how this movement has sparked a conversation via the blog platform that highlights the real impact to me. This group has an opinion and they are holding the government accountable to finding the solutions. And of course they all have an opinion, why wouldn’t they? It is their issue, it effects them both the binge-drinking and in terms of the new restrictions. Why is it an after-thought to engage the target audience, especially when you are trying to effect change among them?

As for Don’t Punish Us, I think this is a great “youth” marketing example for several reasons:

- I like the power of grass roots demonstrated here, it is a bottom-through-to-top strategy, it makes people feel involved.

- I like the fact that it is both on and off line, just like social networks.

- I like that while it is a serious issue, the tone is perfect for the audience, it is entertaining and cheeky.

- I like how it is empowering and relevant – keys to youth marketing success.

- Most importantly, I like how it harnesses conversation and dialogue to effect change.

Moral of the story – if you doubt the impact of youth advocacy and/or social media, then I hope this modern-day story of David with his slingshot working to take down Goliath may make you think.

Oh, and thought it would be fun to post a little artistic irony from a friend (check out the box in the background)….

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