Someone somewhere must be in charge of naming different generations. There are the baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and the illusive and somewhat difficult to understand Gen Z.
As for me, I’m of the Facebook generation. I know that because I learned recently that only old people are on Facebook.
A recent conference hosted a panel of young people who spoke about a variety of topics all designed to help old people like me gain a better understanding of how they think. We learned about where they find information, what sparks their interests, what brands they support and so forth.
That’s where I heard Facebook is for old people. Within this group, which included a couple of 14-year-old girls, a high school girl and a boy who is entering college in the fall, none of them are active on Facebook. For them, information comes on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Buzzfeed.
Another interesting discovery was what brands intrigued this group. They talked about one brand in particular, JustWater. The brand name says it all. It’s water in a bottle. But the water is 100% spring water. The bottle is made mostly from paper, the cap from sugarcane. The packaging is simple and vibrant, and the water comes in many flavors. The company’s Instagram account has more than 318,000 followers, which includes famous people like Kim Kardashian, which was of particular interest to this group. If you want to check it out for yourself, search @Just on Instagram.
Lost in all of the hip and coolness of JustWater and all of the other brands like it is the dairy message. All the panel members said the dairy industry needs to do a better job of reaching people like them. What’s clear is that in order to do so, messages about science and how good dairy products are for you do not resonate.
What does resonate, at least with this group of panel members, is centered somewhat on sustainability (although they didn’t call it that), and that’s something dairy can rally around. The teenage panel members said they like brands that demonstrate compassion for the environment and people in general, either by giving back to communities or helping people who can’t help themselves.
Certainly the dairy industry is loaded with stories of dairy producers who are protecting the environment, caring for their animals and giving back to their communities. And there are dairy producers who tell this story and tell it well on various social media channels.
But we need more, and we need it on the channels that the younger generation follows. Research shows, and this panel confirmed, that when young people connect with a brand in their teens, they tend to stick with that brand throughout their lives.
Wouldn’t it be great if other young people like these incredibly well-spoken panel members made a connection with dairy? Where is Kim Kardashian when you need her.