Generation Next gets brands in sync with the youth

On Thursday 11 May marketers from across the country gathered at the Sandton Convention Centre for the 13th annual Sunday Times Generation Next youth marketing conference. The conference offered marketers a glimpse into what makes youth tick.

Brand South Africa’s own Tshepiso Malele joined in on the discussion, touching on brand affiliation and the importance of authenticity in advertising. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)

Mathiba Molefe

Events at the Sunday Times Generation Next youth marketing conference got off to a great start with marketers representing both local and international brands gathering to take a look at what influences the buying habits of youth.

As the official custodian of the nation brand and an official partner of the marketing conference, Brand South Africa, alongside other partners such as Proudly South African, joined forces with Sunday Times to ensure the event delivered a memorable experience.

“This event is very important to us to get involved in,” said Brand South Africa’s marketing manager Tshepiso Malele. “This is a gathering of youth and young people, and we’re able to gather key insights into this market to help us better communicate with them in the work that we do. Particularly with Play Your Part where we feel the youth has a big part to play in developing and strengthening our nation Brand.”

Following opening remarks from Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko, a host of industry leaders took to the stage for a range of different discussions, each shedding light on the unpredictable but growing influence the youth has on business.

Nearly 10 000 young South Africans took part in this year’s Sunday Times Generation Next study, offering their opinions and insights into their culture, behaviour and lifestyle to marketers across South Africa.

Four young people representing their peers took to the stage with influence activist Arye Kellman, creator of #Kellman20, to answer a few burning questions from the audience.

Showing wisdom beyond their years, the four speakers unpacked and debunked misperceptions of the youth. They made it clear that the young people of today are a force to be reckoned with. They showed that they not only understood the difference between local and international brands, but also demonstrated an understanding of how supporting local brands stood to benefit us all.

Showing wisdom beyond their years, the four young speakers, pictured above along with influence activist Arye Kellman, unpacked and debunked misperceptions of the youth. They made it clear that the young people of today are a force to be reckoned with. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)

Youth, their voice, and their strength

“What we are trying to do as Brand South Africa is to introduce the nation brand to the young minds,” says Sithembile Ntombela, Brand South Africa’s general manager of marketing. “They need to play a part in order to make South Africa a better place.”

South Africa’s greatest potential lies with its youth and investing in them and listening to what they say is key to the country fulfilling this potential.

“As Brand South Africa we acknowledge the importance of making sure they’re actively involved in the development of our country,” says Malele. “Through Play Your Part, we look to engage with them, invest in them and instil a strong sense of pride and patriotism.

“The youth in this country make up 50 percent of our population so one can see the importance of getting them involved in shaping the future of this country.

“They have a very important role to play in the success or failure that we are headed to as a country, so if we want to make it a success then we need to make sure we use the strength of the youth,” he says.

Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.