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The mobileYouth Way: 7 fundamentals that will change how you view technology


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The mobileYouth Way: 7 fundamentals that will change how you view technology by Graham Brown

Published in: Business, Technology
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The mobileYouth Way: 7 fundamentals that will change how you view technology

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  2. In 2001, we set up mobileYouth. It was a time of 9.6K WAPenabled phones and the Nokia star trek communicator. I (Graham count beans and crunch numbersBrown) had spent some years out living in Japan and had seen the we focus on the human angle torise of i-mode in the late 90s. My business partner, Josh Dhaliwal,had been working for a national TV broadcaster. We were both insights - (ACE: Anthropology, Culture and Ethnography).convinced in the future of the communications industry and we Sure, there are more surveys out there telling us that teens areboth believed that the future would come from the grass-roots - sending 1,000 messages a day but what exactly does that mean?teens and students but we needed a platform to help the industry Has anybody else been asking the question why?join us in our vision. That’s where we came in. We found clients were overloaded withThat’s why we launched our research business. Well, I say research data and research, what they wanted was someone to tell thembecause that’s what we started out selling. Over a decade later, what it all meant and put it into context. That’s why we developedsome traditionalists would still call us a research business but The mobileYouth Way because we’ve been doing this since thelooking at what clients are now demanding we like to think of days when Nokia once told us “we don’t do kids”. How times haveourselves as an insights consultancy. Rather than changed. 2
  3. The base of The mobileYouth Way is the decade+ of and with each of those comes their respective anecdotes andresearch and insights we’ve gleaned from working with a diverse insights learned from different markets. In fact, there were soof brands from Vodafone to Apple to Disney to Red Bull. Each client many fascinating stories that I decided to write a book about the the relationshiphas given us new insights into experience. The book’s called The Mobile Youth and is about the young mobile owner (not the company).between youth and their mobile I wanted to focus on the relationship between youth and thephones and, importantly, the relationship between youth mobile phone; the emotional, psychological and social. It was theand the industry. story untold by the industry. That’s why I was keen to gather a wide set of stories from Amish teens secretly using mobile phonesWhat validates our research isn’t industry opinion but getting out to access Facebook to Japanese high school girls hacking pagersthere (a key component of ACE). Whether it’s interviewing kids in back in the 90s. These are just some of the stories from ourNew Delhi or traveling the world to find the next big thing, we’re in travels that made the cut, and it’s from this wider set of insightsthe mix somewhere to be found. In the last 2 years alone, I’ve we’ve created the The mobileYouth Way.notched up nearly 500,000 air miles (or so my Tripit account says) 3
  4. The mobileYouth Way is a consolidation of success lessons learned * Increasing recommendation and “buzz” with young customers * Better product hit-rates and reduced launch failures Ford, Monster Energy,from companies like * Better, more qualified customer insightsInstagram, Facebook, Nordstrom, The Way doesn’t have all the answers but it provides us with powerfulAmazon, Apple, Ebay and questions that should lead our enquiry. The Way doesn’t provide quick fixes to systemic problems but helps us understand the causes of theseStarbucks. They are not all mobile companies but we could systemic problems and what we can do to address these challenges andlearn a lot from stepping outside our industry. All the answers to our improve both our brand and product lines.questions in mobile are already out there, we just have to have lookharder. We have successfully applied The Way to a wide set of industry challenges since 2001 and we believe this approach will continue toWe designed The mobileYouth Way as the philosophical basis to yield dividends in the future with careful and mindful application. Wecommon mobile industry problems e.g; hope, too, that fans of The Way will help us grow and evolve the* Reducing churn, increasing loyalty concepts to produce a more robust philosophy.* More effective marketing 4
  5. Ask a young mobile owner why they chose Blackberry and they’ll tell really make a big difference, like the way he makes you coffee in the That’s whatyou they liked the QWERTY keyboard. morning or the way he dances around the house.happens when you run a focus You wouldn’t tell a stranger as much because you’d worry about looking stupid. You see, the quality of the insights we glean from research are agroup. function of the quality of our relationships. Why so much focus group we’re trying to find research is flawed is becauseThat’s what happens when you run an online market researchcommunity. That’s what happens when you employ an ad agency to find real-world answers in fakeout what’s the next big thing with your product. Truth is that people buyon emotion and justify with logic. Youth don’t buy QWERTY keyboards situations.they buy something completely different but they just won’t tell you. If people bought on logic alone nobody would smoke. Why buy aIf you think about a loved one in your life and list all the things why you product that killed you? Yet, as I’ve shared from the data in the Mobilelove them, chances are it will be the small, seemingly trivial things that Youth book, smoking is so much more a social and emotional behavior, like mobile phones. That’s why they are also competitive. 5
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  7. People don’t buy stuff, they buy give to strangers (like focus group interviewees). Wewhat stuff does for them. don’t want to expose our deepest emotions, our true identities and our vulnerabilities.Young people bought Blackberry not because of the QWERTY keyboard As technologists we need to be aware of the difference betweenbut for a variety of social emotional reasons: the sense of arrival “content” and “context”. The first is what we make, the second is howafforded to young black Africans, owning the handset of the male we make them feel. Don’t confuse the two. Ad agencies seduce us intoexecutive as a symbol of status for young girls or the peer group believing a good campaign highlighting the key differentiators of ourbelonging afforded by BBM. content is key to selling the product. They’re marketing like it was 1989 and the days of Coke and Pepsi.If asked, few would confess to strong emotional drivers like “I wouldfeel left out” or “It makes me feel important” but these are the true If you want to know how you make youth feel then you need to get The logicalreasons why youth are buying your technology. away from the echo chamber of the advertising world and start builidng a a relationship with customers. Employ ACE in your research and getanswers are the easiest ones to out there into their world. Otherwise, your world is a world of content, of bits and bytes, 3G and 4G or iOS vs Android. 7
  8. In the 1980s, Pepsi ran its famous “Pepsi Challenge” - blindfolded social packaging - the story, the authenticity and the way it connectssubjects were asked to choose the better tasting cola for the benefit of them with each other.the cameras. Most people preferred the test of Pepsi. Pepsi was thebetter tasting cola. But when scientists repeated the experiment years When we sell technology as an industry we often choose content - thelater but this time with a twist, they revealed the naked truth of content ingredients, the taste, the physical appearance of our “soda” and hire anand context. When subjects were told which cola they were drinking ad agency to tell the world why it tastes great.beforehand, 4 times as many preferred the taste of Coke to Pepsi. In reality, the reason young people are buying and using our technologyBy priming people’s expectations, marketers can actually make Coke isn’t to do with the “soda” itself but the can in which the soda comes.taste better. And this is marketing in a nutshell. As Seth Godin says, BBM is a good example - it wasn’t a great technology but was accessiblePeople don’t drink the soda they“ to a specific group of users (youth, particularly women in emerging markets). BBM’s capacity to allow discrete networking and the formationdrink the can”. of select peer groups gave this peer group better tools to connect. BBM had a better social packaging than other products around, even if itContent is the product or technology you make, context is the tasted more or less the same. 8
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  10. The “real social” is a combination of 3 human disciplines As technologists, our world views are biased; we favour featuresknown as “ACE” - Anthropology, Culture and Ethnography. over benefits, we see faster as better and we forget that the biggest cost of our work isn’t developing the products but theWhen Japan’s NTT Docomo launched the world’s first mobile attention of our customers.internet service in 1998 (i-mode) they furnished their launchmaterial with images of high-powered business executives Consequently, we pitch innovation at the wrong target groups likeaccessing stock quotes and business news on the go. It was typical NTT DoCoMo did. High net worth, business owners wantad agency - emphasize the unique sales point of this product consistent, robust products that won’t fail or baulk whenbased on its unique/cool features. With 2 years of launch, the most integrating with legacy platforms.widely used services weren’t those driven by these high net worthindividuals but jokes, horoscopes, dating and picture messaging, Reaching this market, however, involves a lengthy process ofservices driven by young, low spending mobile owners. market adoption that starts with the traditionally “low end” customer - youth, those with more time than money and a need to explore.The ad agency approach failed. 10
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  12. The drivers of emerging technologies like mobile video aren’t business If you want to understand the social drivers of mobile then youusers conferencing with each other but teens in their bedrooms usingservices like ooVoo and young immigrants. With respect to the latter, it’s understand the social context need tothe Hispanics in South West USA who are the hungriest for new mobileservices, not established white communities up the Atlantic coast. When of mobile owners’ lives.we understand how mobile is an integral part of each person’s socialfabric we also understand how and why they use it. Immigrants and You won’t get this information from focus groups - all you’ll learn thereyouth share a similar social profile - both are often outsiders in their is how young people provide fake answers in fake social situations. Youown home, both are seeking a change in their circumstances and both also won’t get this information from your creative agency because thehave limited access to the mainstream of society. disciplines needed aren’t design and advertising but the human disciplines - Anthropology, Culture and Ethnography.This is the “real social” of mobile and it’s little to do with social mediaand it requires us to appreciate the real world stories of young mobile What are her pain points? What problem are we, as technologists, tryingowners, the kind of stories I’ve documented in the book “The Mobile to solve? How are we going to make her more significant? How are weYouth”. going to help her belong to her peer group? How are we going to help her tell her own story? 12
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  15. When clients ask us how Apple does it they are surprised tolearn that their secret is actually a well known fact. Apple doesn’t invest much in socialRather than invest heavily in advertising and creative agencies, Appleunderstands that getting the “social” thing and connecting with media marketing, the buzz iscustomers requires ACE. created in the real world. If you want to understand social you need to understand first that the social mediaThe Apple store is as iconic as the Apple brand itself, in fact the store is marketing buzz you are trying to create needs to filter into the reala key composite of the brand. So important is this element of their world. That’s the end game not a byproduct of a cool campaign thatmarketing that now 30,000 of Apple’s 43,000 employees in the US work garnered 100k likes. It’s easy for technologists to overlook thisin the stores. Each store is itself a living case study of human behavior. “technicality” because the outside world of teen interactions andBy interacting in the real world with customers, the Genius crew do conversations is a world away, a world that’s difficult to reach and bestmore for creating buzz than any clever creative campaign could do. Not replicated through proxies like Facebook. If you want your technology toonly does this “Frontline” drive buzz but it also generates invaluable embrace social you first need to embrace the social context in whichethnographic insights direct from the source that can be funnelled back your customers use it - the 3H as we call it at mobileYouth - homes,into marketing and product development. hangouts and hideouts. 15
  16. If you want to innovate, understand first why innovation If you consider the last 10 years of mobile innovation you see ahappens. The etymology of the word “amateur” derives from the familiar pattern - young people hacking existing products to makelatin word “amator” - or ‘lover’. If you want to understand “why”, them work better.look no further than the amateur. This can mean using SMS to bypass voice calls and save money orWe tend to view the word “amateur” in the pejorative. “Amateur Instagram to re-balance the open nature of Facebook. Either way,dramatics”, “an amateur performance” or “If you want something it’s a labor of love and something that can only rarely be repeateddone, get the professionals to do it”. But professionals aren’t the by a design or ad agency.source of innovation. Innovation doesn’t come from the guy with“innovation” in his job title or from the mythical “department of If you want to innovate, you need to work with amateurs, those who have a vested interest in your product. innovation comes fromgreat ideas”. No,the amateur, from the street because They’re already innovating whether you’re there or not, they could just do with a little help along the way.the need there is real and that’s where passion drives change. 16
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  18. I often use the case of Flip vs Zune in presentations. Flip was a they hated the most - carrying cables. And hence the Flip washandheld video camera purchased by Cisco for $600m (now born, a small pop out USB stick that allowed the user to plugdefunct, thanks Cisco). straight into the computer.Flip’s claim to fame was capturing 18% of the video market up By contrast, the Zune was designed by professionals. $200m inagainst Sony etc despite spending $0 on advertising. How did it do development, Microsoft hired the “hottest” ad agency on the block - CP&B to help convince young, cool iPod owners why the Zuneit? The answer lies in social innovation - working with the was better. In most instances where I’ve shown a slide of a Zune in understand better howcustomers to presentation, audiences have confused the Zune with an iPod.they used the product in their daily In less than 1% of instances, even this technology savvy audience have been able to correctly identify a Zune.lives not focus groups. Despite investing infocus groups they were still none the wiser as to what really were Well done CP&B.the pain points of mobile video usage until, that is, they gave 100units to young testers, who after a month of usage told them what 18
  19. William Gibson, famed for coining the word “cyberspace” once wrote to only 32% of business execs. Clearly, the marketers had got their“The future is out there, it’s just not evenly distributed”. When you sums wrong.want to understand the future of innovation, look no The pager’s popularity is intrinsically linked to the story of the Japanesefurther than the Japanese high high school girl herself - her position in society and relationship with friends. They place an inordinate emphasis on their close peer ties andschool - as detailed in the book “The Mobile Youth”. value highly the tools that help them maintain these relationships. The pager’s enduring popularity was largely due to the development of “pokekotoba” - pager language - that exists as a forerunner to “txtspk”In the book I share the story of how a product (the pager) originally as we know it today.aimed at high end business users was first adopted by low end girls whocreated the foundation for an industry which later was able to go on and High school girls in Japan are extremely innovative. Trends come and godevelop services for those high end business users. Without the grass at lightning speeds but many fundamental behaviors remain - such asroots exploration and experimentation of the amateurs, those high end the messaging protocols of the pager, the development of pictureusers would still be stuck at square 1. By 1998, at the height of the sharing - and do so sometimes 5 years or more before the rest of thepager boom, 64% of Japanese high school girls owned one, compared world gets a hold of them. 19
  20. I’m amazed how technology execs will spend large sums on focus When we raise doubts, they seduce us with new concepts like “Marketgroup research or with a creative agency yet when pushed on the Research Communities” which are effectively focus groups but online.subject as to what youth want will turn to the example of their 13 yearold daughter using BBM at the breakfast table. Real innovation happens with realWhen we want to do the “youth thing” we wheel out the “youth panel”at the industry conference then we, the industry, gawp at them for 30 people in the real world.minutes like watching some monkeys in the zoo. Your agency won’t like this idea at all because they sell ideas not real. IfThe irony is that the BBM story is more valid, more real and significantly you want to embrace the amateur don’t hire experts. Set yourself a goalcheaper to attain. When we work in large organizations we tend to fear of hiring in young interns to work on projects or, better still, a goal ofamateurs because they are somehow unqualified, messy and beyond getting your marketing team out there into the field.control. Fear compels us to waste money with agencies because that’swhat’s always been done. If you want to see innovation happen it won’t happen in a focus group but on campus, in a bar or in the shopping mall. 20
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  22. Your creative agency is probably trying to sell you on the “design about profitability but dedicating your career to a cause you can bethinking” myth - the belief that great products, great innovation proud of.comes from a great mind. Steve Jobs, they tell us, woke up in themorning and looked in the mirror. That’s how “Apple did research”. That cause has got to be one that isn’t obsessed by protecting its own identity but embracing change. Apple embraced change and built itsNeedless to say, this school of thought encourages us to depend on retail stores to change the way it sourced insights and innovation.agencies for insights and disempowers mere mortals by perpetuatingthe myth of genius designers capable of dreaming up genius products. Our reliance on experts willThat’s why creative agencies are generally resistant to the idea ofbottom-up innovation driven by amateurs because they challenge the become our own weakness. The most widely used innovations of our era - the internet, text messaging, filestatus quo. Record labels have long fought against file sharing despite sharing and Facebook are not the product of one expert or one agency,the obvious benefit this technology could yield for the industry. Sure, but that of countless iterations. These amateur social interactions haverecord labels may, to some degree, be profitable but who these days evolved robust platforms that continue to yield rewards for all thosegrows up saying “I want to work for a record label?” Sometimes it isn’t who are associated with them. 22
  23. Communication isn’t an industry, it’s what we do on a daily In the book, I share a case study of a young American girl, Danielle,basis. living on the east coast in Long Island and how she used video to hang out with friends and talk to her boyfriend.Nobody craves 4G technology or a Nokia phone. What they do crave,however, are the tools that help them socially in their own worlds. Because her parents were so strict, she had little time to socialize outside of structure school activities so tried to reclaim that lost socialUnfortunately, we have found ourselves the victim of our own space through group chat. Unknown to her parents, she would whilesuccesses. A decade ago you could have marketed pretty much any away 5-6 hours a day simply hanging out, watching movies togethermobile product and people would have snapped it out of your hands. Allyou needed was a good ad agency and deep pockets to help market the These are online or watching friends watching movies.key differentiating factor about your handset/tariff. simple human needs, the need toNow, however, we live in a different era but the creative agencies arestill plying the methods of yesteryear - tell them your product’s cool, tell belong and be someone and it’s the stuff that so often fails to make it into ad agency pitches because it’s toothem in a big way and keep telling them. mundane, too real world and... wait for it... won’t win your agency any awards. 23
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  25. Sexy wins awards. Reliable wins Fans. terms of execution and simplicity. Instagram built its app around people by making the whole social proof aspect of “Likes” key to interactionAn ad agency would much rather spend $1m creating “active” stuff. E.g. and nothing more.create a cool flash mob (read T-Mobile “Life is for sharing”) or throwparachute your new youth car out of a plane (read Chevvy Sonic) than What really matters is the mundane nature of daily conversations nottalk about real world stuff like passive communication, hanging out andeveryday interaction. Your brand is worth less than brands.If you read the story of Danielle, you’ll understand how communication you think.isn’t active in the “look at me, I’m at a concert!” style touted byagencies but in the very ordinary sense we come to expect of daily life. Forget what your brand consultant or ad agency tells you. Youth don’t wake up thinking about your brand. Get over it. Your customersBut that’s what building a business around people is all about - probably talk about your brand a few times (if ever) in a week. Theyaccepting that it doesn’t have to be exciting or award winning, it just certainly don’t fantasize about using your product at a concert.simply has to work well. Take Instagram for example. Not the first or Accepting this reality is the first step to realizing that youth owe thethe last photo sharing app in the world but perhaps one of the best in mobile industry nothing. 25
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  27. If your product is to work well then you need to appreciate the pain through the sharing of pictures but not “networking” as business userspoints you are trying to solve. would know it.ooVoo works for Danielle because her pain point is lack of social space. We are often seduced by advertising rhetoric that leads us to believe2 generations ago, her parents and grandparents would have had the that youth want the cool stuff - the fun things that win ad campaignfreedom of movement to interact in public places, diners and parks but awards whereas in reality they want stuff that just works well.not Danielle in this era of “stranger danger”. Mobile companies that “stuck to the knitting” and focused on customerInstagram works because it solves the pain point of discrete networking. service grew faster long term than those that tried to buy the attentionWith parents, future employeers and teachers all over it, Facebook has of their customers through importing cool from other brands.become just like the school yard or the living room for youth - not aplace where they can interact privately. Do common things uncommonlyInstagram, however, allows users to find people of similar interestsregardless of background. It encourages interaction and belonging well. Be known as a reliable tech brand. Build on this trust. 27
  28. I recently read about RIM’s attempts to undermine an Apple product Engaging fans isn’t easy.launch by a guerilla marketing campaign that employed a “busload ofpaid activists” to heckle the store. There are perhaps too many things You can’t throw a large marketing budget at it.wrong with this approach to go into detail here, suffice to say that onefactor underpins all of them - the creative agency. You can’t employ an award winning agency.Most creative agencies are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the You can’t trade off having a “cool youth brand”. You have to do themarketing of mobile technologies. The most widely used services - work. You’ve got to get out there, organize the events, organize theFacebook, Instagram, Kik, Whatsapp, BBM and SMS have reached mass hackathons, be part of that community and that’s a step too far for themarket adoption as a result of Fans spreading the technology from guy who spent his whole career trying to get a bigger office not morestudent to student not through creative agencies. If you want to time on the street. When Tony Hsieh (CEO) of Zappos is in the office, he’s on the phone talking to customers. These customers become fans. you’re be better offengage the youth market, CEOs need to lead by example.engaging Fans rather than the The era of paid media is over. Earned media means just that. You can’tagency. buy youth trust and attention anymore, you have to earn it. 28
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  30. Fans tell each other about the Zappos story. Every brand has fans.The problem is that handset companies, for example, speak to their ad There is real strength in humility,agencies and get convinced that their fans are Apple fans and that ifthey want to compete with Apple, they’ve got to “outcool” them. Bad accepting who you are for whatadvice. you are.If you want to compete with Apple, you’ve got to do like Apple and be Tech brands could learn more by listening to their fans and what theytrue to your core DNA. Nokia fans and Apple fans are distinct, it’s just really feel about the brand rather than the story the ad agency wants tothat Apple is the only brand of the two that is actively supporting its Nokia has a problem accepting its fans love the indestructible3300. Rather it builds castles in the sky by having their real fans wax Ultimately, when the ad agency has gone or collected their award, it willlyrical about the Lumia and MS OS than what they really love. Fans of be for the fans to continue the conversation (ad campaign on Facebooksushi restaurants aren’t fans of McDonalds so why should McDonald’s or not) in their daily lives.try and grab the cooler crowd? McDonald’s is far more profitable thanany sushi restaurant in the world so who has the better business model? 30
  31. When I was a student back in the 90s, Apple Macs were for lefthanders; artists, graphic designers and the Bohemian set who hadn’t forfeited the clever, long term marketing plan that hasquite got onto the Windows bandwagon yet. Now, every student ispretty much running an Apple Mac. quick wins of clever ad campaignsSuch as sea-change of opinion is one that requires a combination of for slower, longer term wins thatclear vision and long term focus. are ultimately more sustainable.The fundamental shift that occurred in those 20 years neither happened Apple’s approach to market serves as a useful case study into how toovernight or as a result of a clever advertising campaign. Apple’s K-12 successfully win, even when you’re an strategy has played a fundamental role in their long termvision of capturing the student market. Apple knows that by winning The answer? Build a Beachhead of Fans and focus supporting those Fansthis market yields significant returns down the line. Students influence who already love your product rather than trying to convert those whotheir parents on technology choice. Students graduate and bring their are skeptical. If Apple went after the non-believers, it would haveMacs into offices. Students become IT managers. The slow conversion of simply wasted all its marketing budget with the latest “hot” ad agency (like Microsoft did with CP&B and the Zune).an entire generation one student at a time has been the result of a 31
  32. If your focus group tells you that youth “like” your product you need to post-advertising era. How can a brand like Apple generate 9% marketdo 2 things: share with 62% of market profits. Being the biggest by volume is no1) stop running focus groups longer meaningful.2) be afraid, be very afraidIf youth like your product you might as well be invisible. In the modernattention economy, youth easily forget about products they like. They Focus on those who already lovecertainly don’t recommend them to friends. your product and try to forget about converting theWhat matters is love. Winning the youth market isn’t about getting remaining 90%.elected. It isn’t about winning 51% of the market share, it’s aboutwinning that small 10% who are passionate about your product. Focus Sell to the sold, they are your best marketing department out there.on the 10% that already love your technology and leverage them to Rather than ask “how do we engage these fans?” we need to be askinginfluence the 90%. The 90% aren’t listening anyway. “how do we break down the walls that prevent these fans from engaging us?” The barriers aren’t technical but organizational, mental even. IfAd agencies will tell you otherwise. They’ll tell you about awareness, you want to be loved, you have to first break down the walls thatbrand equity and “top of mind”. These concepts are meaningless in the prevent those from loving you. 32
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  34. Jerry Seinfeld and his “Mac vs PC” ad. David Beckham and hisMotorolas. T-Mobile’s “Life is for Sharing”. Microsoft’s Zune. Countless How does technology get into the 5%? In the same way that we onlytech products endorsed by folk like Lady Gaga and At the end really pay attention to photos with us in them. We look through theof the day, the tech industry continues to make celebrities and ad albums of our friends with a secret desire in our head, “Where’s the oneagencies rich regardless of its own results. with me in it?” And we approach technology marketing in the same way; every young person looks at your communication material andIf you want to sell technology to the youth market you need to first asks this one question, “Where am I in this story?”appreciate that they aren’t paying attention to whatever you have tooffer. And, no longer can you buy attention with a clever ad campaign, Go to the creative agency and more likely than not they’ll tell you aboutyou need to earn it. cool social media marketing or guerrilla campaigns using subversive students on skateboards. More often than not it will involve a celebrity.Earning attention means getting But, the reality is that people don’t care which soda Britney drinks. Theyinto that 5% - the 5% of information that the brain are more interested in what their friends are drinking. It’s not who’s telling your story but whose story you’re telling that counts.processes at one time. If you’re in the 95%, you might as well bethrowing your marketing budget down a black hole (and many do). 34
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  37. Youth today grow up in a very different world. They don’t play outin the park until dark. They don’t talk to strangers. But, to say that Storytelling can take many guises - a text, a tweet, a fashionyouth are somehow compromised underestimates their ability to find statement, a mural on a wall, the design of a fixed gear bike, a “Like”solutions to these limitations. Youth are extremely resourceful. In the on social media or a video - but one factor remains constant - it isbook “The Mobile Youth” I covered one story of a 17 year old boy who youth, not ad agencies, telling the story. Our mistake as an industry itbroadcast news from inside Rio’s gang-ridden favelas via his mobile to try and control this story. Nokia is constantly trying to reinvent itsphone while all the professional journalists were outside, too afraid to brand story and remake its image in the wake of Apple’s success but it’senter. building castles in the air by fabricating an unauthentic story with its creative agencies. The real story lies in those told by its fans on a dailyEvery product or technology we basis - the story of indestructible 3300s, the story of the techs into Windows and the story of the guys remixing the ringtones on Youtube.produce will at some point become There are a billion storytellers out there and they are far morea social tool for youth to tell their influential and effective than your ad agency. But, leveraging these opinion formers means first accepting their story, not yours, is the mostown story. valid. 37
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  39. Every mobile phone is a social tool. In fact, we’ve found that youthwill use the mobile phone as any of its 7 distinct social tools during a to evolve the tool to make it workgiven day. for them.The social tool isn’t determined by the company that manufacturesthem. There are numerous cases of tools being developed after the Technologists too often focus on the importance of a high end consistenttechnology has left the factory gate - SMS, BBM as examples of product that has all the answers but in many cases, the high endtechnologies that required the youth market to first evolve and exploit market is too risk averse, too encumbered by legacy systems to absorbthem to make them viable for the mass market. change. They’ll absorb change through familiarity with their sons and daughters or younger members of their team.What youth buy isn’t the out-of- What technologists should focus on is developing a platform that helpsthe-box technology but the ability people connect rather than a finished product. Push the platform into the youth market and work furiously with Fans to evolve the connective capacity of the technology. 39
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  41. If you want to understand Social Tools, take a look around us on a Instagram has shown how most people don’t actually crave higherdaily basis. Food is an easy place to start as the act of eating is replete quality imagery but a service that is more shareable. Technologists toowith both ritual and protocol. Food is a core element of social gatherings often fail by considering how to improve the product by doing just that -- from Weddings to Barmitzvahs to business meetings. We don’t like improving the product. What we need to consider is how we caneating alone (go Google the subject). How is it then that we baulk at improve the social experience.waiting in line for more than 5 minutes at efficient McDonald’s but willpay extra to wait in line for 30 minutes to 1 hour for a Food Truck in Los The mobile TV hype soon blew over 5 years ago despite the widespreadAngeles? available of technology to support its delivery. What youth really wanted wasn’t TV on the go, but traditional TV in more social format (textThe reason is that it’s the context of food, not the content, that is more interaction with TV, Youtube etc).important. We pay to wait in line for a food truck because we are payingto belong to a crowd of likeminds who have a passion for gourmet fast- When we evolve technology we need to consider how we can firstfood. Likewise, we have to consider the social function of our evolve the social experience the technology delivers. In many cases, technologies become less social with time and our goal is to reclaim thattechnology. Faster isn’t always better. loss (e.g. with the advent of CDs and MP3s, music became less shareable until the arrival of services like Napster). 41
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  43. About Graham Brown, author “Graham Brown is a marketing whistleblower despised by advertising agencies the world over for sharing the simple truth that you can’t buy or hurry love…you have to earn it yourself. So ifSince witnessing the growth of youth media and technology having you’re happy to continue paying for sex that leaves your brandlived in Japan in the early 90s, Graham along with business empty on the inside, crying itself to sleep at night, don’t botherpartner Josh Dhaliwal has helped grow mobileYouth to serve over reading this book. However, if you want to build a brand with soul250 clients in 60 countries worldwide – names such as Vodafone, and earn lifetime loyalty from your consumers then buy all hisNokia, Coke, McDonald’s, Telenor, Orange, O2, Verizon, Boost books before advertising agencies find a way to silence himMobile, the UK government and the European Commission. forever.” Jamal Benmiloud, VP Marketing, Monster EnergyGraham is a regular public speaker and has presented at the 3GSM DrinksWorld Congress, Barcelona and been interviewed on CNN, CNBC,BBC TV and Radio. His work has also featured in the Wall Street Books: “The Mobile Youth” by Graham BrownJournal, Financial Times and the Guardian. He hosts the youth Blog: www.MobileYouth.orgmarketing stream on Upstart Radio and mobileYouth’s own TV Research: The Mobile Youth Report by mobileYouthchannel. Make contact: Contact form here 43
  44. THE MOBILEYOUTH 2013 REPORT youth marketing insights for handset brands, content providers and operators features: 29 reports 400+ pages data, charts, cases mobileYouth: tracking youth & mobile culture since 2001 MOBILEYOUTH youth marketing mobile culture since 2001
  45. THE MOBILEYOUTH 2013 REPORT MOBILEYOUTH youth marketing mobile culture since 2001