Brand strategy is the way that a product connects to the heart, mind, and soul of its customer. In each of those three connections it has to articulate the reason that it has a right to be present.
For a laundry detergent, the mind is: "It cleans my clothes." The heart is: "Cleaning clothes makes me feeling like I’m taking care of my family and being a good mom." The soul is: "This detergent is environmentally conscious."
Decision-making in a family is like a complex circuit. It’s not a simple matter of one person seeing a marketing message, and deciding they want to purchase something, and going to the store and buying it.
Family decision dynamics reflects the fact that today’s families are much more democratic than in previous generations; that they discuss decisions as a unit; that the children in the family, children of any age, have a voice in the things that are purchased for themselves and for the family. This concept acknowledges that there’s a series of interactions that happen that result in a product or a service being chosen for a family.
People are affected by the culture and the time in history in which they live. We are at risk of being ineffective in our marketing and engagement programs if we attempt to remember back to "when I was a kid.”
Yes, there are some developmental issues which are always present with any 12-year-old, but what it was like to be 12 in the 1970s is very different than what it’s like to be 12 today.
The generational point in time recognizes that the culture in which any of these audiences is living has a large effect on how they view the world, the kind of things that matter, and the kinds of things that are able to engage and excite them.
Engagement is the better way to think about marketing. You don't want to create one-way communication from a brand or a business to its customer; you want to create a two-way conversation.
This distinction is particularly important in the youth and family space. The generations that we’re talking about have grown up with technology. If there’s something that they don’t like about a brand or a marketing campaign or a product that they’ve interacted with, they can go on Facebook and tell their friends and talk back to the company. They expect to do that.
Youth refers to any person who’s not 100 percent responsible for their own life yet. It's easy to think of kids and teens, but this also includes people in college or even people in their early 20s who are still living at home. If they are part of the family system then they would be part of this definition of youth and family space. Psychographically, it’s a life stage where they are primarily associated with being part of the family as opposed to having their own home and independent life.
There are subsets of youth: 0 to 4, preschool; 5-11, kids; 11-14, tweens; 14-19, teens; young adults. Each of those life stages is very different and represents enormous developmental growth and change.