Why we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to engage young audiences

Often strategists and marketeers talk about target groups as if they were aliens coming from another planet. I understand we need to group in order to make a complex world manageable. But, in doing so we forget that each one is an individual with her, his or their story. 

In their latest book “On Connection”, Kae Tempest says: “Empathy is remembering that everybody has a story. Multiple stories. And remembering to make space to hear someone else’s story before immediately telling your own”.

Public service media (PSM) have become good at listening. We have been part of society for almost a century and we have evolved from broadcasting to the group towards offering all audiences their proper platforms to share their stories.

Young people don’t come from Mars. They are our children or grandchildren, our neighbours, our past and our future and they teach us many things, such as the planet is something we should care about.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. A friend of mine Jan Callebaut, another strategist, taught me that media is all about establishing relationships. So, the fundamental question is not: what platform or what format, but what relationship do we want to build?

As you can see from our EBU Youth – What Works? report, some EBU Members have become extremely good at building relationships with young people. They don’t talk about this generation, but to this generation.

If you haven’t yet read the report, here are some of its takeaways:

  • Know young people really well. 
  • Let young people create content for young people.
  • Take a user-centred approach
  • Be real and authentic, mirror their own life
  • Create content that helps to build a better world and society
  • Take your distribution and platform strategy very seriously

  • Your PSM brands and young people have a lot of things in common

Access the report to find more information on our 10 strategic recommendations and successful PSM case studies on connecting with young people. 

Written by

Jean Philip De Tender
Deputy Director General, Director of Media
+41 22 717 2068