Friday, October 24, 2008

“I’m gaining on you.”

Whenever my 13 year-old daughter measures her height she says to me, “I’m gaining on you.” The same could be said to any communicator who markets to her generation.

I recently interviewed an independent school branding consultant for a CASE CURRENTS story. She was blown away by the fact that the 11 year-olds in her focus group could not only tell her what photos they would take to represent their school but what camera angles and lighting they’d use.

Her surprise is what surprises me.

Just check out any middleschooler’s Facebook page. Not only are they experts at shooting, editing, and adding graphics to their photos, they can tell their own brand stories with enviable style and wit (the brand being themselves).

After watching a professionally-produced Stanford video and a student-produced MIT video back-to-back I was struck by how similar they were. Sure the MIT video didn’t depict the ethnic and racial breadth a college office would want but there wasn’t a lot of difference in the level of message and execution.

So, as school or college marketers we have to ask ourselves what do we bring to the table? How can we up the ante, using our savvy to capitalize on next-gen talent and expectations?

Because they’re gaining on us.

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