Reaching Generation Y: what PR consultants should know about today’s young people

Reaching Generation Y: what PR consultants should know about today’s young people

Sharmee Mavadia

Sharmee Mavadia

Following on from our recent post on PR top tips, “how to reach Screenagers”, we were intrigued to learn about how fast digital maturity is catching on around the world for this group of savvy young communicators.

According to a Digital Diaries survey, by the time most kids in the west turn 11, they have already moved onto mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter. In Italy and Spain, digital maturity starts as young as 10 (wow), a time when many of us Fireflies remember playing ‘I Spy’ or ‘Hopscotch’!

This young and very unique generation represents a new consumer force, with their buying, spending, trendspotting and trendsetting prowess. They are the first to be fully ‘wired’, meaning they cannot be ignored anymore and need to be fully understood in order to be reached. PR consultants need to ensure that any campaigns are tailored to, and suitable for, this audience.

Young people definitely have much greater awareness of what's going on around them now, than they did eight years ago. They're seeing the news on their computers and cell phones. They also have the latest products, the trendiest fashions (you only had to look at the number of teenagers queuing outside H&M stores for the Versace launch recently); and now, the must-have Christmas present is the iPad.

Marketing to this generation is something to be handled with care. For one, brands need to ensure that any campaigns adhere to CIPR guidelines regarding direct communication with children. However, with this age group being as digitally savvy as they are, there is certain inevitability in them being touched by many large-scale PR or marketing campaigns. So bearing this in mind, here are our tips on how to do it properly:

  • Children typically have short attention spans and are drawn to new things. Make sure any campaigns are kept short and sweet, and easily formatted for smartphones, social media and online usage.
  • Children love to spread news. This is a huge area to tap into. Kids are obsessed with coolness, new things and forwarding messages. Brands can engage kids through social networking, virals, videos, competitions and forward-to-a-friend options.
  • Children are the biggest buyers of music. Where relevant, brands can incorporate music-related marketing. For instance, an online screening of a music concert or sponsorship of bands will appeal to this generation.
  • Avoid obvious marketing: this is a clever group of consumers who don’t want to be overtly targeted, but are happy to pick and choose the information they receive. For instance, they don’t want to be bombarded with information, but are interested in hearing what a brand is up to. Make sure all communication is consistent and up-to-date.

Are you trying to reach Generation Y? Make sure you talk to us about how we can help with understanding and reaching this audience.

Share this story:

Read more from the blog


A changing landscape: Building reputations amid shrinking media pools 

Amid shrinking media pools, PR professionals need to begin thinking broader and deeper than simply media relations. ...Read more

Claire Walker
Claire Walker

Step forward with year-round inclusive PR campaigns this Pride Month

How can organisations do better this Pride Month and beyond? We discuss the dos and don'ts for inclusive PR campaigns. ...Read more

Megan Hogg
Megan Hogg
Tech News

Summer is here, and so are our top tech news stories of the month

Whilst June flew by in a flash of picnics in the park, it didn’t fall short on delivering yet more weird and wonderful tech news stories. ...Read more

Georgia Dallas
Georgia Dallas


  1. Compassed understands the needs of Generation Y and can help your company! If you want your company to reach Generation Y visit our webpage and contact us!

Add a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information