Getting close to youth: Understanding millenials' themes of life to create Gen-Y-proof brands

Joeri Van den Bergh, Patrick Alders, Anneleen Boullart and Martijn Van Bijnen
InSites Consulting, Belgium and VIMN Northern Europe, Germany


In the summer of 2013 InSites Consulting and VIMN Northern Europe (part of Viacom International Media Networks) set up the 'Close to Youth' program. The program aimed at keeping the brands and departments of VIMN Northern Europe Gen-Y-proof. In collaboration with an international task force of VIMN Ambassadors and the insight department in Berlin, the 'Celebrating Youth' research community was launched to generate a deeper understanding of the Northern European Generation Y and validate the themes which are used as building blocks for VIMN's channel brands, programming and sales approach. Ten European countries were represented by a selected group of 149 active Gen Y participants (aged 16 to 32 years). During three weeks, these GenYers shared their hopes, fears and dreams and gave us insights in the real meaning of the VIMN Northern Europe building blocks. Furthermore, they also shared their opinion and evaluation of how the current VIMN Northern Europe content relate to these themes of life. Based on this input and internal exercises, VIMN Northern Europe's sales and marketing approach was evaluated. The five crucial themes in the lives of Gen Y youth are at the core of this approach, each manifesting in a specific way.