Youth. Engaged.Andy Holt • 24th September
Communicating effectively with young audiences requires a lot of thought, insight, a clear strategy, and tons of playful creativity. There’s no one-size-fits-all for this wonderfully varied and delightfully fickle audience.
If something doesn’t immediately grab and hold their attention or imagination… game over. Next!
At Words&Pictures we’re proud experts in youth engagement – the work we do with schools, academies, colleges, apprentices, graduates and employers ranges from engaging and educating 0-5-year-olds and their parents, to audiences in their early 20s.
And we’ve honed our different approaches to communicating with young people based on years of experience, research, best practice and results.
Projects focus on education and awareness around a huge variety of issues, so when it comes to creating compelling concepts, we always put the right people in the room. By working closely with young people and teaching professionals through our Trust in Youth and Trust in Teachers boards, our in-house experts come away with real insights, not second-guesses. And as our aim is to meet young people where they are, we develop and deliver playful solutions that capture attention, fire imaginations and are easy to engage with. These range from board games to interactive animations and communicate with rather than ‘at’ the target audience.
- We recently created a family of characters for a utilities company to inspire children and help them understand the importance of reducing water waste and saving water. We translated this into a Top Trumps-style card game for Key Stage 1 pupils. This mechanic and creative is familiar, easy to use, and quite addictive among this target audience. We’ve increased the complexity of the games for older children to keep them interested and involved.
- For Electricity North West we created Electric Avenue, a multi-layered competitive and problem-solving challenge. In teams of five, students take on different roles and connect a new housing estate to the electricity grid. With different cards and spending limits, teams become engrossed in the game, learning about obstacles and how the industry works as they go along.
- Creating communications for young people also involves targeting a digital-savvy generation. Our work with the UK Gas Distribution Networks (Northern Gas Networks, National Grid, SGN, Wales & West Utilities) reflects this and involved developing a digital game housed on a mobile website. Called iFest, it educates festival-goers about the dangers of carbon monoxide, and is designed in a colourful, lively style with the tone adapted to the target audience.
- For Unilever, we created an apprenticeship identity, helping them to show young people the opportunities available at their company. We tapped into the strength of Unilever brands, and used a photo-led style to show apprentices interacting with the familiar household names – planting the idea of ‘this could be you’.
The truth is that as with any audience, there is no one size fits all solution when communicating with young people. Instead, the old line of remembering your audience and the result you want becomes even more pertinent. And by that I mean to sweep aside the many assumptions about young people and to base your decisions instead on solid evidence and fresh insight.