Youth marketing needn’t always go as planned; make it relevant

Mikko Ampuja, pioneer of youth research in Finland, speaks about how insurance could be boring but a relevant category for the youth.

e4m by Jhinuk Sen
Updated: Jan 31, 2011 7:14 AM
Youth marketing needn’t always go as planned; make it relevant

Selling insurance to the youth is a challenge. Insurance matter, after being subject to solicitation, is also considered to be in the category of ‘the boring, the irrelevant and the expensive’. But Mikko Ampuja and his company figured a way around it. The Chairman (Europe) of the Global Youth Research Partnership presented the case study of the Finnish insurance company Tapiola to explain how a product that is otherwise considered ‘uncool’ can be made to fit the requirements of the rather ‘cool’ youth.

Ampuja explained that the biggest challenge was not to create a brand, but to launch it and support it. According to him, to take a clients’ question, ponder over it for two months in office and then come up with an answer after research was like driving a car and looking at the rear-view mirror. It surely took the brand forward, but that did nothing to maintain it in the market.

In Tapiola’s case, he said, insurance was a boring, faceless and a distant corporation and the youth were not interested in it, since it seemed expensive, involved jargon and was just not relevant to them. To turn matters around, Ampuja and his team realised that they needed to include young people in their story. What came out of this idea was a Facebook page with the title - ‘Because things don’t always go as planned’. With the creation of this page, the company hit bull’s eye since youngsters started sharing their stories online. From hilarious to perfectly embarrassing, strange, unsuspected and surprising events were being shared on Facebook. Even videos were uploaded on the page, the contents of which would make anyone get themselves insured.

Ampuja then went on to state the lessons that one needed to keep in mind to market to the youth. According to him, one needed to evolve; surely one would not have answers in the beginning and ideas would be trashed, but one needed to persevere on and evolve for the best ideas to come. The second lesson was to include the target audience – in this case the youth. It was integral, according to him, to know what the youth were thinking and hear the stories that they had to share and to include that in the ideas for the brand in question. Finally, one needed to be active and participate; stagnation of any sort would never help a brand sustain or grow, because no matter how well the brand might have been created, life did not always go as planned.

Ampuja was speaking the exchange4media Youth Marketing Summit that was presented by UTV Bindass and powered by Mudra Concrea, in association with Tuborg.

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