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1 November 2023

27 min

S9 - E8: Engaging Youth – Rebecca Roberts

Rebecca Roberts is a marketing and communications professional, specialising in youth audiences. Her award-winning work as Thread & Fable brings specialist teams together, as well as sees her work directly with clients across the sports, higher education, charity and public sectors.

Having worked in Premiership Football, Olympic and Paralympic Sport, campaigns across the FE and HE sectors and for clients such as Women in Sport, the NHS, Youth Sport Trust, Plan International, among others.

Her Engaging Youth reports have shared insights into the experiences of children and young people growing up in the UK, providing talks, workshops and the Hear It Podcast, to help other marcomms professionals get to grips with generational changes. She also co-hosts Have You Got 5 Minutes? And has talked at commsHERO week.

Podcast overview

If you’re trying to communicate with young people within your target audience, or are hoping to engage them within your work, this episode will help you understand how to better listen, engage and empower young people within your work.

We speak with Rebecca Roberts, founder of Thread & Fable and specialist in youth audiences about her Engaging Youth insight reports and what top tips she has for better connecting with young people through marcomms. If you’ve read much in the media about youth audiences, you’ll have been told they’re hard to reach, have short attention spans and are snowflakes (even more so than Millennials were) – Rebecca tackles why stereotypes are not only untrue but are unhelpful in understanding the real context of what it’s like growing up in the UK and how comms are well placed to improve the conversation.

Podcast questions

  1. Tell us more about what made you start looking closer at youth audiences within your work?
  2. Why do so many organisations get it wrong when trying to connect with a youth audience?
  3. What have your Engaging Youth reports highlighted as some of the key things impacting young people we should be aware of this year?
  4. You deliver marketing/comms consultancy as well as campaigns that involve and target youth audiences – what have you found from your own experiences that might help listeners with their approach to working with young people?
  5. What are your top tips for engaging young people?

Disclaimer: this is an automated transcript. Please don’t call the grammar police on us. You never know, we may have ChatGPT writing our next one…

Asif Choudry (00:06):

Hello and welcome to a new episode of the You’re my commsHERO podcast. And I’m your host, Asif Choudry. Today my guest is Rebecca Roberts, founder of Thread and Fable Marketing communications and campaigns consultancy, specializing in youth audiences. Rebecca is a marketing and comms professional specializing in youth audiences and her award-winning work as Thread and Fable brings specialist teams together as well as sees her work directly with clients across the sports, higher education, charity and public sectors. Uh, having worked with, uh, worked in Premiership football, no less Olympic and Paralympic sport campaigns across the Fe and he sectors for clients such as Women in Sport NHS, youth Sport Trust Plan International amongst others, and her engaging youth reports of shared insights into the experiences of children and young people growing up in the uk, providing talks, workshops, and the Hear It podcast to help other marcoms professionals get to grips with generational changes. And she also co-hosts a have You got Five Minutes podcast as well and is, uh, a regular season veteran to the Comms Hero, weak speaker circuit. So Rebecca, it’s a pleasure to welcome you on the podcast.

Rebecca Roberts (01:22):

Oh, thanks so much for having me. What an intro. It’s always quite strange to so introduced

Asif Choudry (01:26):

Me. Thanks a lot. So many accolades and what have you. And a little bit of a backstory, we’ve tried for months to get this podcast recording, so I’m, I’m honored and privileged that we’ve finally got Rebecca into the recording studio. She’s, um, uh, well sought after guests. So yeah, we’re, we’re honored. And so will you be the listeners as well. So before we get into the, um, podcast episode, which is, um, engaging youth and how to communicate with young people, let’s get to find out a bit about you, Rebecca, with some quick fire questions. So tell me, what’s the most played song on your Spotify playlist?

Rebecca Roberts (02:02):

It is probably Artic Monkey’s 505. That’s just like a, a staple that I’ll go back to, but I will obsessively listen to a new song if I like it.

Asif Choudry (02:11):

They’re touring and we’re recording, uh, as towards the end of June, but they’re, they’re touring now. Everyone at, in the Office at Resource has been talking about it and uh,

Rebecca Roberts (02:21):

Yeah, they’re one of the best gig I’ve ever seen, but I think he’s getting a lot of stick at the moment for singing slightly off, um, beat To I, I dunno if it’s his own humor just to annoy people and ’em off. They can’t sing along, but I kind of like it. It’s funny.

Asif Choudry (02:33):

Okay, so Arctic Monkeys. It is. And so let’s ask you then, which, which famous person would you invite to dinner and why?

Rebecca Roberts (02:41):

I think I would go with Beyonce, which probably is an obvious choice, but not only do I think she do, I think she’s amazing in terms of music, but I love how she’s built her personal brand, um, as a mum, but also as a business as well. I think that’s kind of interesting. And also she’s kind of one of those celebrities that I don’t feel like I know all her business. I kind of like that she’s quite, she’s quite private, so yeah, I think I’ll go to

Asif Choudry (03:06):

Beyonce. I, I don’t think we’ve ever had Beyonce on before in terms of that invitation today, but I like that she can do a, she’ll do like a bit of the sing song as well. Get her on the karaoke. She might be all right. Sing she,

Rebecca Roberts (03:16):

Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Asif Choudry (03:17):

Should be. Alright on the karaoke. So final one then, three words to describe you then Rebecca.

Rebecca Roberts (03:25):

Um, I think I would go with, um, passionate as we’ll talk about engaging youth, but I’ll get on my soapbox in a minute about young people. Um, creative, I think I’d go four and, and not necessarily in terms of my, my drawing skills are trash, but in terms of approach to doing things and I’ve sound quite determined. Um, and that’s sometimes on the negative side, like a laser focus on having to get something done a certain way. But yeah.

Asif Choudry (03:48):

Excellent. I like that. I’m sure listeners, you’ll have to uh, reply, um, when we post this on socials and tell us, um, if, uh, Rebecca shares some of the same, um, qualities as you. So thanks for that and that that’s always, it’s always nice for the listeners and myself to get to know the guests as we, uh, as we have them on. So let’s get into the podcast itself. So I, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of an intro here just to give everyone a bit of insight into what we’re gonna talk about and then I’ve got some questions to pose to you, um, to help us get through that content. So if you’re trying to communicate with young people within your target audience or are hoping to engage them with you within your work, then this episode’s gonna help you understand how to better listen, engage and empower young people within your work.

Asif Choudry (04:34):

And Rebecca, who is a specialist in youth audience, is gonna tell us more about her engaging Youth Insight reports and what top tips she has for better connecting with the young people through Marcos. And if you’ve read much in the media about youth audiences, you’ll been told how to reach, have short attention spans, and our snowflakes might be some adults in amongst there as well. Not necessarily just the, uh, young, uh, in amongst us, um, even more so than millennials were now as well. So, and Rebecca, you, you also, you tackle why stereotypes and not only untrue, but are unhelpful in understanding the real context of what it’s like growing up in the UK and how comms are well-placed to improve the conversation. So it’s gonna be a fascinating chat. So I’m gonna kick off with the first question. So Rebecca, tell us more about what made you start looking closer at youth audiences within your work?

Rebecca Roberts (05:27):

Um, so yeah, as you mentioned earlier, I worked in high performance sport before getting into higher education and um, and that was a real kind of, um, step change for me into a different sector. And there were a lot of agencies, um, on the circuit, still quite a few around that do this whole, you know, a little bit of scare anding, like young people have an attention under three seconds. Like you have to grab and you have to do this. And some of it’s is based in, in, in facts around, you know, well yeah, we’re all a bit more, um, we’ll scan things, scam, read things in social media in a different way perhaps. But the stereotypes I found really unhelpful working with students in higher ed. That wasn’t what I was seeing from these kind of like marketing reports about young people. Um, and it made me really interested around how do you actually genuinely engage young people and not believe the hype that they’re impossible to reach?

Rebecca Roberts (06:14):

And it’s about people, right? That all this comes down to people and connections. So when I set up my own thing, I wanted to have an element of that because I’ve learned so much, um, through working with young people, um, directly in higher ed. And that kind of just then snowballed. So there wasn’t ma there weren’t many people putting out content for free on this. It was like, buy this insight report or here’s seven ways, seven hacks, like pay this. Um, and yeah, so I just want to share it and democratize it and just sort of give the full picture of what young people are experiencing. And that kind of just set off, uh, a thing in motion I guess, and has led to me ending up doing a lot more campaigns and work directly with and for youth audiences, which has become, you know, specialist is a funny word, but it’s something I’m particularly passionate about and I’ve just am more of, um, yeah. So I believe in we can all do that better to sort of serve young people.

Asif Choudry (07:04):

Yeah, and I definitely say it, you know, specialists, subject matter expert. Um, you’re definitely in amongst that. And I, when we first spoke a couple of years ago about you coming onto Comms Zero, it’s probably what kind of stood out was that I, I haven’t seen many people in this space to be honest with you, who are subject matter experts in youth audience. So I can totally relate to, to what you’re saying and that that must be, you know, one of the, uh, reasons for your success because you kind of filled a, a gap that lots of other people are doing in amongst what they do day to day with many different audiences.

Rebecca Roberts (07:39):

There’s definitely a lot in the commercial sector, I’d say, but that comes down to sort of sales and products and trends and, and, and I totally respect that. And I, I guess where I, um, fit my little niche was around like the social impact on that and how are we helping in people, um, and understanding kind of what’s going on, whether that’s politically, whether that’s, you know, socioeconomic factors. There, there is just a lot that young people go through and as a parent you do, you always have that eye on like what it’s like for your child growing up, um, you know, around social media and around these sort of forces. So yeah, that’s kind of

Asif Choudry (08:13):

Combined. That’s true. So then tell us, ’cause you know, why do so many organizations and why are they getting it wrong when it, when they’re trying to connect with the youth audience?

Rebecca Roberts (08:23):

I think there’s a real power issue when it comes to youth audiences. So, you know, young people don’t get to vote until this to the 18, which is also quite bizarre. Um, you, you’d think actually that would come down to 16. I know New Zealand are looking at lowering that. Um, but also when it comes down to when they do get that vote, there are quite a few things around, like Id at the moment, the ID changes this year, you know, uh, if you had an an OAP bus pass that counted, but a youth bus pass wouldn’t. So it’s, it’s sort of stacked up against young people to not have a voice in a lot of ways. Um, you remember back to the pandemic and you know, a lot of it was like, don’t kill your granny, don’t go out sort of telling young people what to do.

Rebecca Roberts (09:03):

And the unfortunate thing with youth audiences is, and without revealing my age, and unfortunately I’m not bothered about that, but, um, it’s hard to, um, you put your own perception on that and what it’s like to be young so you feel like you know what it’s like to be that age. And so with the best one in the world, like even with student campaigns, you don’t need a bunch of millennials going, do you know what’s cool in 2005? And then doing that? So it’s about, I think that’s where organizations fall fo as they put that perception on. And then also the youth engagement I found in terms of when they do consult young people, it was really tokenistic, like, which one do you prefer? Red or blue? Which do you like? And sort of ticking the box or you know, you’d get someone senior, um, who wheels in a nephew and go, well, they’re 18. So I’ve asked them and they said it’s fine. And not really think of it like any other audience. And youth is almost like homogenizing this big category rather than of course you have subcultures in that and sections and in that sectionality and intersectionality and understanding that is just as important for youth as it is for any other age group, but we kind of tend to, we seem to band over sixes together in one lump and then anyone under 21 is one big lump. And it’s,

Asif Choudry (10:11):

Yeah, it’s true actually. It’s a fair point you raised there in terms of like, you know, when you’re doing, um, data insight for creative strategy and you’re looking at socio socioeconomic profiles and you, your historical models, A, B, C, uh, you know, that kind of stuff, C one, C twos, et cetera, that that’s, they exist, so why shouldn’t they within these other huge groups of, like you say over the sixties and um, and the youth audiences as well. So that’s a fair point raised and I can understand when you just said that. Now, so you’ve, you’ve, we talked, I talked in the intro about your engaging youth report. Um, so what has that report then highlighted as some of the key things impacting young people that we need to be aware of, um, this year?

Rebecca Roberts (10:56):

Um, yeah, look, a few things really. Um, I think one of the biggest things, I mean in subsequent reports over the past few years actually have been that, um, the sort of the impact of the pandemic and what we’re sort of seeing outta that. So it’s kind of widened socioeconomic disparities really. So, you know, when we see that at like primary school, the gap’s back and at secondary school. So if you are from a less affluent background or you are in a poor area, it’s even harder to kind of break that. And we’ve seen that with food banks, that’s not like, that’s not groundbreaking, but when you think about that, the impact that has on confidence and thinking about your prospects, you know, for a lot of young people deciding to go to university now is that becomes even harder because you just think actually financially can I do that? Um, and there are lots of other things around not just education, but around like perception around society. They don’t necessarily feel like that they have the power to change things as much. I love working with young people and most of ’em are really, um, ful. Sorry, I just got someone waving from me through the window. Um, you’ve got a lot of people, um, wanting to, um, to break. Sorry, I’ve totally lost my train of thought now. Um,

Asif Choudry (12:03):

That’s all right. What I’ll do, what we’ll do, I’ll come in, let’s go with that question. We’ll kick in. So I’ll make a note. Don’t, don’t, don’t worry. Yeah, that’s fine. I’m just delivering something. That’s fine. That’s why it’s a good thing about not doing this live, don’t worry. So 1150, yeah,

Rebecca Roberts (12:18):

Do that question again.

Asif Choudry (12:19):

I’ll do that and then, um, just kick back in with your answer from the beginning, so don’t worry. Okay. So, um, I mentioned in the intro Rebecca then about the engaging youth report then. So what, how has that report highlighted as some of the key things impacting young people that we need to be aware of this year?

Rebecca Roberts (12:39):

Yeah, there’s a few things. I think the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, it we’re sort of seeing a lasting effect, um, this year, um, in terms of, you know, people breaking out of poverty. We’re seeing more young people, children, young people falling into poverty needing food banks and, and that has, you know, a lasting impact in terms of their education. So more young people really understanding is that a value for me to go to university because there are, it’s these young people on this kind of cusp of, you know, they might not get a scholarship, but they’re sort of sat going, actually, is it worth it progressing? You know, do I need to get a a a job now? Do my, can my family afford to support me in any kind of way? We’re seeing more students just out this week, actually more students than ever are working alongside their education.

Rebecca Roberts (13:24):

So that’s a trend we’re sort of seeing this year. I think the other factor, you know, apart from the the socioeconomic thing is this belief and you, the prince’s trust is a great source of a lot of this data, but the s just look at young people’s, you know, perception on prospects. And I love working with young people in terms of they tend to be, um, wanting, they want to change the world. They believe that it can, there is still that belief there, but I think there is this, you know, do I have the power to do this? Are we gonna see any change? And things like climate change, you know, we see the grownups in the room making the, the policy changes, maybe not as significant as it could be. So there’s this kind of a, a growing lack of belief in the power structures that I think we have, which I think, you know, yes, you can say, well that’s always been there, but I think it is really challenging for a lot of youth audiences.

Rebecca Roberts (14:10):

Things like, um, uh, mental health and climate crisis is a growing issue. So young people actually it’s affecting their wellbeing. Thinking, you know, what, what is our future like? And the third thing, which is I think is important for communicators is this, um, growing change in terms of shifts of media habits. So I’ve just been commissioned with um, CIPR to do some research into young people, gen Z in particular’s media habits. So yeah, social media for news, that’s not a new thing, but we’re actually seeing a real shift in terms of the sources. So not just going to sort of B, BC on, on social media for that news source. And that has opportunity, but also issues in terms of misinformation, obviously being the negative, but the opportunities for different organizations to be voices of authority that youth audiences will engage with. And just being a bit more creative about letting go a bit about where that media content exists.

Rebecca Roberts (15:03):

You’ll see BBC, for example, on TikTok, but also reels being really creative with presenters telling a story in a different way and letting that exist on a channel that previously they were quite slow to get to. So I think that’s something that I’m really interested in, in terms of where you put your information, um, and how you have that conversation with the youth audiences rather than just having that, you know, I don’t know, maybe outdated view that if you have an app and people would even want to go near it, if you have a website that people go on it. I was having this debate the other day that, you know, if you’re asking someone to click, I think all of us, if it takes two clicks and a scroll, oh, I gonna bother. Can you not just tell me what I need to know now. And I think with youth audiences, when they’re used to finding out all the information about you, um, well, why can’t you have that conversation in a space that they might expect to see you? So I think, yeah, that’s, that’s an interesting trend that we’re, we’re gonna see more. Yeah,

Asif Choudry (15:54):

Some really good insight there. And there’s lots of, it’s amazing how that, that has changed over the years as well to accommodate for that audience, that instant desire for news at your fingertips. And it’s interesting, you mentioned like two clicks and a scroll, which it’s not that many years ago that you’d to think, oh, if I can get somebody down to that level, that’d be amazing. And now we’re thinking, that’s too many, you know, it’s, but it, it is, it things evolve. Yeah.

Rebecca Roberts (16:18):

And, and and, and by no means am I thinking that, you know, young people, young people have no attention span. ’cause that’s one of my pet hates because if you look at, you know, podcasting, particularly with a youth audience, um, but also, you know, they, they’ll binge watch in depth series, they’ll read long form content Yeah. When they’re interested. So it’s not, the problem isn’t them, it’s you if they’re not kind of engaging with it. But it’s just thinking about like Wall Street Journal do a really great job on TikTok, for example, in terms of their news content. Really recommend having a look at how they do it because they’ve totally gone. Actually, that’s where an audience is. We want to tell the story. We’re gonna tell it in a way that they expect. So it’s not necessarily about being like, Hey, here’s everything you need to in two seconds. It’s about being creative. And I think that’s exciting for the media. If you’re doing things completely traditionally, that’s where it’s

Asif Choudry (17:05):

Probably gonna be. Yeah. And it’s that concept of personalization, I suppose, which isn’t a new concept here, but it’s probably not being introduced to a, an audience here in terms of youth audiences where, you know, why wouldn’t you put information in a, uh, ideally in the right channel for the way your audiences are gonna actually consume the information, which are the fundamentals of marketing. But they do get forgotten quite often as we as many marketers put that broad brush approach. And it might be down to budgets or whatever, but spending that time, um, actually drilling down into the audience. And I’m sure many people have lots of insight projects and invest time and insight, but then if you do nothing with that insight or you don’t execute the information in the right channels, which isn’t a new concept, but it sounds like on the youth audiences that perhaps has been, um, overlooked.

Rebecca Roberts (17:55):

Yeah, you can’t, you can’t ever assume. I, I think certainly with the issues based stuff I’ve done with youth audiences, you know, like sexual health is a classic one and that I’ve spoken to someone on the here podcast just about this as the other week and we were saying it’s really easy, it’s really hard to not put your own perception on things like, of course young people would know this, of course they know who the guardian is. They’d always go to the traditional media, of course they know about say sex advice. But actually you have to meet your, their audience, your audience where they are at that time and understand what they’re going through. So for a lot of young people, they won’t, they’ll have missed out on a lot of experiences, whether that’s, you know, um, sexual health lessons at school, I’m doing another campaign on travel for during the pandemic. They didn’t get to do those rites of passage, that first holiday away with mates and different things. So you’ve gotta understand their current situation and that’s quite exciting with youth audiences because they’ve not, they’re not old hats. So it is kind of like fresh pair of eyes on on where,

Asif Choudry (18:49):

Yeah. So that some really good insight there and I hope that, I’m sure that will have helped, um, the listeners or just giving them a fresh perspective. It certainly has for me. So then Rebecca, so you deliver marketing comms as a consultancy as well as campaigns that involve and target youth audiences. And from, from that experience then, what have you found that might help listeners with their approach to working with young people?

Rebecca Roberts (19:12):

So one of the biggest things that I would sort of advocate for that, you know, it doesn’t cost loads. ’cause again, the normal thing is I go, the big brands do this, it’s hard to do is speak to young people and work out how you can kind of involve them in your process in some way. So if it’s a campaign aimed at young people, how can you involve them? And that might simply be a always try and pay them. Now if you are looking at young audiences, sometimes that can be challenging around PAYE, whatever, but you could do a voucher system which works pretty well, like an Amazon voucher as a thank you for their input and make the process, um, easy for them to be involved and inclusive. So often you’ll get, you get this a lot in councils and they’ll go, yep, we’ve got a, a youth, um, you know, parliamentary group and whatever.

Rebecca Roberts (19:54):

Now they’re quite a self-selecting group. They’re not necessarily representative of a wider youth audience. And that’s the reality as, as is most, you know, if you wanna volunteer and do this or if you want to, it is just you have to work harder to be representative and inclusive. So that is, you know, am I being diverse? How are we listening to the right voices around the room? So one campaign we had young people, um, from the Roma community and how they engage actually was best through um, a youth work that was doing some work with them, but they didn’t work necessarily well communication wise with a wider young group. So we will actually, we could get feedback that way and then on email that would work really well for them also with young people with disabilities and working with, um, a campaign at the moment was worked with youth audiences with learning disabilities for NHS Dset.

Rebecca Roberts (20:43):

That’s really complex and there’s been a fantastic challenge around actually what do we want to, um, ask them? How can we best engage in what format and are we being realistic with what we’re asking here? Um, and making it accessible, light touch and effective. So don’t, you know, you might as a marketer want all these responses and all these steps of info, um, and you know, forms that they fill in to kind of submit things. And actually if you reverse engineer it to that young person suspected like are they gonna, I’ve recruited some student ambassadors recently. Are they gonna fill in a long form? Probably not make it like touch now the quality of application. We didn’t have a poor quality of application for this thing that we put out, but we made it so easy that we had, we were oversubscribed, we had over a hundred young people want to be involved.

Rebecca Roberts (21:28):

So then it allowed us to go, right, let’s make sure we’ve got, like we had a 50 50, um, we had like 50% non-white in our group, which is unheard of. But because we’d made it easy accessible, like engaging, exciting to be part of, they could use it on the cv. We’re paying them. Think about everything from a young person’s perspective and why on earth they’d wanna help you. And then you’ll get much better engagement and just finding on the creative process. If you are looking at a youth campaign, um, don’t be tokenistic and go, which do you prefer? Or you know, just ask one young person. Um, not only have a youth panel or youth board in somewhere that you pay to get involved, um, do that through the creative process. So be clear about what their involvement is gonna do. So you can say, yep, you’re gonna have three sessions and from that you’re gonna, this is where your input sits, this is where it doesn’t.

Rebecca Roberts (22:17):

’cause if you go in and say, you know, you are gonna co-create this and it’s gonna be amazing, you’re probably lying ’cause UL ultimately they might come up with something you gave my boss. We’ll never sign that off. And then you just kind of end up doing a version of it, which is awful. So be really clear like, hey, this is the parameters we’re working with, how can you be involved and this is how we’ve adjusted it based on your feedback. ’cause then it’s like genuine involvement, um, rather than like a one-off thing. And then blind test Yeah. Is the other thing, just quickly. So if you, um, you’ve got a great concept, just blind test it before it goes, goes out. Like how is that landing? If you’ve had young people that have had no involvement in this project, are they gonna get it or are you looking like you, your mum or dad dancing with some cringe words that they’ve never used because that that’ll, it’ll fall down ’cause you’ll go, oh, I thought this is really funny or I’ve written it this way.

Rebecca Roberts (23:02):

And you go, oh like yeah, you know, from your own kids as if like you’ll say something and my, my daughter went, no one says that mom. Like no one says that. And you’re like, alright, okay. But even locally, like if it’s a regional thing, there’s local dialect, there’s loads of great ways you can make that not too cringe that has young people at the heart of it. Um, and also, you know, don’t try to be too cool. Yeah. Like if you are not a cool brand, you know, if you’re not supreme, um, that’s okay. Like you’re not, that’s even worse when you’re trying to be something you’re not, you are a local authority or you are the NHS or whoever you are. There has to be a level of, like universities do an interesting job on this. You’ll see the ones that are trying to be super cool and you go, I’m paying how much a year. I don’t want you to be cool. I want you to be somewhere I’d go to learn. So it’s just trying to be, um, what your audience want are expecting of you in a way that feels

Asif Choudry (23:55):

Yeah. Well it’s a really good, good shout that because there are, um, there are brands who do it, who do it well and others that are, you can just see ’cause it does make you cringe and it doesn’t fit the brand personality and stuff like that. Which is, you know, the, the fundamentals of marketing communications don’t change. Uh, here they’ve applied for years and they still will continue for, for years further on. But the tactical level is the bit that really changes based on generations or trends and all the, all the rest of it that we have to factor in. So that’s some really interesting takes there and your experience has really helped with probably clarifying a lot of the mystique, uh, and myths around how to do this. So then to wrap up these, this set of questions then Rebecca, so tell us what, what your top tips then for engaging, uh, young people.

Rebecca Roberts (24:43):

Um, yeah, so be clear about um, how they can support you with their campaign, that creative process. Um, be authentic and recognize how they see you before you, you force how you want them to see you. So that goes back to that point I made before about if you’re not, if you’re an organization or authority, like you may not need to be something. They go, oh, we find you hilarious. We want, you know, want all this from you. Um, the expectations on how they might consume your channels is really important. I would say nine times out of 10, that’s probably a bit harsh, but a lot of clients or conversations I have, they totally think an app will be the coolest thing to do for a youth audience. And, and let me tell you, the real estate to get on anyone’s phone, yeah, it’s pretty high.

Rebecca Roberts (25:27):

Um, let alone a young person that probably doesn’t wanna hear from you. So think about the channels. You know, I, I’ve had people go, I want more young people to sign up to newsletter. And I go, why? What’s in it for them? Why would they, I hate newsletter. Like, you know, I like some but then I don’t want loads. So it’s just being realistic about what you expect. ’cause I think youth audiences can be a tick box for a lot of people. Like we need young people so that, that relationship’s important. Um, and just finally speak and engage and, and really, um, you know, look at the, my insight reports are free, by the way. This isn’t like a sales thing, but I share that mainly because there are so many opportunities to support and engage in people in a great way. And they’re brilliant. Like working with young people is brilliant. It, yeah, it can be hard, but I think we can really help them with so many issues they’ve got going on. So, for example, employment is really, really challenging. If you’ve got an opportunity that they can, a obviously you should pay them, but they can use on their CV in any way and develop skills that can help them get a job. Yeah, why wouldn’t you do that? That’s brilliant. So there’s lots of things we can do as marketers and comms professionals to really help young

Asif Choudry (26:29):

People. Excellent. No, that’s great. And there’s, there’s tons of stuff packed there, you know, years of experience that you’ve, that you’ve had in a accumulated over the, uh, over time there just, and it’s really nice that you’ve, um, shared that insight with our audience as well. And so I mentioned before that you’ve, um, been a big supporter of the comms hero community. So you just tell us, tell us the listeners then, why is Comms Zero important to you and would you recommend people working in comms and marketing to be part of the community?

Rebecca Roberts (26:59):

Yeah, of course. So, um, comms Hero, what’s lovely about Comms Hero is all about community. So yet you’ll go to the events and you’ll hear, you know, great range of people speaking, but it’s that connection to others. And I’ve met some really great, I mean it sounds funny saying Twitter friends, but I’ve met lots of Twitter friends through Comms Hero and it is that community particularly, you know, I’m a, you know, a sole operation, but I put teams together for specific projects. But it’s really nice connecting with other people. I don’t have like a huge work team. I don’t work in person at a lot of like spaces. Like I might have a client that I’ll work with for a few months and then move on. So it’s lovely having that peer to peer conversation with people about challenges they have and it’s really relatable. So yeah, the community that comes here is, is what I’d say definitely

Asif Choudry (27:43):

Involved in. Oh, that’s great. Thanks for sharing that, Rebecca. And speaking of, let’s, let’s find you some more Twitter friends. So tell us what your social handles, where are people gonna find you? ’cause we want people to connect with our guests, so

Rebecca Roberts (27:55):

Yeah, please. So I’m Rebecca, seven Roberts and yeah, obviously talk about youth, um, a lot, but also other stuff. Um, and there’s Thread and Fable, which is all one word. Um, yeah, that’s my, my business one. So yeah, I’m on there.

Asif Choudry (28:08):

And we’ll, we’ll share those in the show notes as well. You’re on LinkedIn as well. Um, Rebecca Roberts. So you’ll find Rebecca on there. So, um, you’ll find this podcast on Spotify, apple or your chosen platform and on our website, Uh, if you do listen on Apple and Spotify, do leave a rating and review and f hit the follow and subscribe button. So there’s new episodes every two weeks, so you’ll be first to, to hear about those. You can follow us on Twitter at coms hero, uh, and on LinkedIn as well. And um, Rebecca, it’s been absolutely fascinating. I really enjoyed that and I, I know the listeners will as well. So thank you very much for giving up your time. It

Rebecca Roberts (28:46):

Was worth 804 attempt to get together as if thanks for having me, <laugh>

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