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Voxburner’s Brenda Wong on Youth Marketing Strategy London event

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 29 February 2016

Brenda Wong from Voxburner on the fifth Youth Marketing Strategy London conference

YMS London logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and what do you do there at for Youth Marketing Strategy (YMS) London 2016?

Brenda Wong (BW): My name is Brenda Wong and I am a marketing executive for Voxburner. I coordinate and execute Voxburner’s marketing strategy for their event, Youth Marketing Strategy.

Voxburner is a youth insights platform dedicated to giving companies the edge on young consumers. Our global industry events (such as Youth Marketing Strategy), research, and reports keep marketing professionals in touch with the ever-evolving world of youth marketing.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about YMS London 2016

BW: Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016 (#YMS16) is Europe’s biggest youth marketing strategy, taking place on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 - Wednesday 09 March 2016. In our fifth and biggest year yet, we are so excited to be welcoming over 1,000 delegates from top brands, agencies, universities and youth organisations to the Roundhouse in Camden.

The aim of YMS16 is to inspire and educate marketing professionals from all walks of life on all things youth marketing. We’ve got 120 incredible speakers this year made up of the best in the industry, and the conference will be made up of a unique mix of keynotes, Q&As, panels, masterclasses and more.

Also, at the heart of YMS16 is the annual Youth 100 awards. Hosted by Jason Bradbury, it is a celebration of the top youth brands as voted for by 2,500 young people - with an awesome party at the end.

Photograph of Brenda Wong from Voxburner's Youth Marketing Strategy LondonSMP: Who are your target audience and why?

BW: Marketing professionals seeking to shake up their marketing strategies for the 16-25 year-old demographic.

SMP: When is the event and how can delegate register?

BW: The event runs from the 08 March 2016 - 09 March 2016 at the Roundhouse in Camden. Delegates can register at the website.

SMP: Can you give us an indication of the guest speakers, keynotes and what attendees can expect?

BW: Our most exciting agenda to date features a mix of keynotes, panels and masterclasses from thought leaders in the industry. Here are a few highlights:

  • The future of media panel: Aiming to help the audience understand the latest media consumption habits of 16-24s, the panel will grill Buzzfeed, The Box Plus Network, Urban Nerds and vlogger Niomi Smart on their expert predictions.
  • The kids who decide what all the other kids talk about: Steve Bartlett from the Social Chain (The Drum’s social media agency of the year) will be sharing his influencer marketing secrets, and how the Social Chain managed to reach over 200m people online.
  • Screenage Hacks: Virtual reality panel: We all saw Mark Zuckerberg confidently walking down an aisle flanked by hundreds of people in augmented reality headsets. The rise of virtual reality is imminent, and we have experts from Hack the Planet, Curiscope, Contiki Holidays and Samsung to predict the next steps.

SMP: What do you hope that attendees will take away from the event?

BW: We want people to leave feeling like their youth marketing world has completely changed - that the lessons learnt from YMS16 will significantly shape the way they communicate to young people.

SMP: What’s different this year that you’re most proud about?

BW: This is our first year in the iconic Roundhouse - a space which has welcomed the likes of The Rolling Stone, Patti Smith, Blondie… it’s a space with atmosphere that really highlights what we are trying to achieve. The youth market is the most exciting and mysterious demographic of them all, and we needed a space that reflected this restless energy.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

BW: Oh, absolutely seeing the biggest brands booking on to attend YMS16. We’re welcoming Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Five Guys, Koppaberg, ASOS, Microsoft, Primark… the list goes ever on. It’s clear that we’re making some big waves in the industry, and I know we’re going to put on an incredible show.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities for your sector and the competition that you have?

BW: I think it’s changing the minds of people who go, “Millennials are too unpredictable/mysterious to understand.” Brands can sometimes be completely bamboozled, to the point that they are put off targeting this particular demographic. It’s our job to make them see it from our point of view: that millennials are the future.

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding youth marketing and sector for next 12 to 18-months?

BW: I think young people are getting savvier. It isn’t enough to be putting out sponsored content on publications or YouTube: product placement isn’t enough to drive the sales you need. Brands now have to think outside the box to create content for millennials that’ll stick, otherwise they won’t survive.

SMP: What are your top five predictions youth marketing and the sector next 12 to 18-months?

BW replies with:

  • The sharing economy will get an absolute boom. Businesses like Uber and Airbnb will continue their meteoric rise because it inspires trust in young people that other businesses cannot.
  • Content marketing is absolutely vital for a business to survive. Brands like Benefit, Aerie, GoPro have absolutely nailed their Instagram visual identity, and we’re going to see an exciting renaissance of amazing visual content from our favourite brands.
  • Ethics will become more and more important to young people. Remember when ASOS accidentally put a T-shirt that said ‘Slave’ on a black model? Doing good is good for business; and this is also true for the reverse.
  • Peer-to-peer marketing will slowly overtake influencer marketing. There’s already a pushback on celebrities on Instagram promoting products like Fit Tea - people are cottoning on to blatant advertising from their favourite influencers and they’re starting to get turned off! Young people are more likely to trust the opinions from their friends: so see things like Tripadvisor or Yelp (or perhaps someone new) push forward.
  • Technology engages. Augmented/virtual reality is going to take off in 2016: I predict things like Google Cardboard are finally going to go mainstream.

SMP: What are your top overall five youth marketing tips?

BW replies with:

  • I know this sounds ridiculous, but don’t be basic. Young people will actively engage with you if your content is fresh, exciting and new. Simply doing a listicle because the format is popular isn’t enough, and so is using any random GIF to highlight your point.
  • Don’t use the same marketing strategies for all of your social networks. Facebook is a completely different game to Twitter, and to be honest, Snapchat and Vine are where it’s really at. Understand what your audience want, then give it to them.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Actually, scratch that, authenticity is the best policy. Brands like Innocent do well because they are not afraid to be self-referential: young people love to be in on the joke.
  • Brand loyalty isn’t dead. There’s a perception that young people have really short attention spans, but that can honestly be said for any demographic! Take the time to build a relationship with them and they’ll keep coming back. Take people’s obsession with adidas’ Kanye West collaboration on the Yeezy shoes.
  • Give young people hope and help them thrive. It’s a tough world out there for 16-25 year olds: make their lives a little more awesome and they will thank you for it. Show this through providing them services that truly enrich their lives. Step 1: Create an genuinely amazing product. Step 2: Show (don’t tell) them that they need it. Step 3: Engagement!

Youth Marketing Strategy London website image

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything that you’d like to share?

BW: with Check out our Voxburner blog! We’re so proud to be able to share some amazing thought leadership content from our awesome event partners. There’s incredible tips on email marketing, social media predictions, content strategy and more.

SMP: Is the event LinkedIn with any others (for example the US event and how so)?

BW: Our US event is happening in September, returning to New York for the third time.

SMP: Best way to contact you and YMS London 2016?

BW: Get in touch at, tweet @voxburner, @brendaisarebel and keep up-to-date via the hashtag #YMS16. We’d  love to hear from anyone who wants to come on board the YMS journey.

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

BW: Smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese. A bit of indulgence I don’t normally partake in!

SMP: What’s the last good thing that you did for someone?

BW: I took my best friend out for a birthday brunch, and when I surprised her with it she shed happy tears. Plus, I got to have brunch, which is always a bonus.

SMP: If you weren’t working at YMS London 2016 what would you be doing?

BW: I would probably be out there generating viral content for my first love.

SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?

BW: I went home! Took two weeks off to spend time with family in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - my hometown.

SMP: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

BW: A (strong) cup of tea followed by catching up on my emails.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

The power of persuasion. It would make my marketing job a heck of a lot easier, I’ll tell you that.

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