Connecting with the Digital Detox Dreamers + Exploring Unfiltered Worlds
By Celia Forshew | Founder, Seed
First published in Campaign, 04 July 2018
Seed are Amplify's sister agency. Seed specialise in accessing and engaging student audiences all over the world for brands including Spotify, ASOS and Nike. Their ‘What Matters To Us’ research is being released later this week highlighting some gems to help brands better understand this ever changing audience. We have identified 3 key trends that marketers need to be aware of and take positive action on to stay ahead of the curve with this always questioning, culturally expanding and socially aware group.
Digital Detox Dreaming
"I think we're getting to the point where people are putting less importance on social media, I think especially amongst people in my immediate circle."
Whilst brands have been focussing on their social strategies, and Instagram has been figuring out how to increase ad spend on their platform, students have been asking themselves whether social is good for them at all.
Countless studies have shown even a few hours of social media usage a day is bad for our mental well-being, increasing chances of depression, low self-esteem and obsessive behaviour. So, it should come as no surprise that a subculture of students is emerging who take social media detoxes, with a hard core few staying off social channels completely.
77% of students said they would definitely do or consider doing a no-social-media-month, in line with Dry January, Veganuary, November, etc. 10% of those admitted that they really needed it.
Young people don't always want to be plugged in, they are fully aware of the dangers but experience real conflict when it comes to potentially missing out or being left behind.
There is hope for brands to follow where they lead, however. Students told us that the best part of a brand campaign was the experiential component, demonstrating that a real world presence is more important now than ever. Amazon, Sonos and Birchbox are just a few brands blurring the lines between digital and physical, offering audiences a genuine connection and a way to break out of their digital bubbles.
It looks like there is a tide of social media detox coming. Brands need to help young people find a balance and seamlessly integrate on and off line. Apps like Calm, which promote breaks from social media and ways of managing addiction to it are winning app of the year. Brands can't afford to ignore the sentiment, no matter how much energy they have put into their social strategies thus far.
From Binge Drinking Clubbers to Stay at Homers?
“Me and my flatmates, we’ll sit in, mix some tunes, watch some football, darts, wrestling, maybe chip in, make a big dinner, eat it together, that sort of thing.”
Booze brands have always been able to entice students with drink deals on and off trade. But it’s no secret that alcohol consumption is down with more socialising being done outside of the traditional pubs, clubs and bars. Students are under pressure, with more debt, higher university fees and fewer guaranteed career prospects. And although the cost of going out can be prohibitive, it transpires that actually the main inhibitor for responsible students is the downtime and loss of productivity after a big night, whether in or out of the home. Not something you would have expected to hear from a previously notoriously hedonistic group.
Staying in is definitely the new going out. And staying sober doesn’t raise eyebrows. More than 50% of students told us chilling out and relaxing at home is their favourite group activity.
It’s no wonder though, when you consider the advances in home tech and internet speeds. Only 24% of our respondents were gamers but a significant majority had Amazon Video, Netflix, a Spotify or Soundcloud account with a decent sound system and access to services like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Really, with a cinema, club and restaurant under one roof, why would they do anything else?
The challenge for brands in this situation is becoming part of the fabric of a student’s ‘at home’ leisure experience. But if you aren’t an entertainment brand, what do you do? Uber is a great example of a brand that went from being the facilitator of going out with cheap rides, to the facilitator of staying in with Uber Eats.