Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Youth Interviews

written and videotaped by Priyanka Patel and Errol Veloso

Recently, at Culturelab, we have added a new method of research to our repertoire: Video Blogging, to stay up with the times. In our first of many installations, we have gone around the Dallas area to interview youth on their lifestyles.

We learned some of interesting things when conducting these interviews. For example, the youth that we spoke to were really feeling the effects of the economic downturn, instead of it being something abstract to them. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much so) they were either cutting back their spending in order to prepare for worse times ahead or getting extra work to support their lifestyles, throwing that theory out the window that youth don't plan ahead for the future.

Some trends that we learned about from these youth is that the old school 80s music and fashion are back in. This was illustrated from the music they listened to, that incorporated electro in their music, to their fashion seen through the types of wayfarer glasses (think Tom Cruise in Risky Business) they were wearing. Another important thing that I learned from these youth is that they develop their interests based on what their friends are doing and heavily rely on them for advice for most everything that they do.

As trends continue to evolve, we at Culturelab hope to stay on top of them in the coming weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned!

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes We Can and Yes We Did!!

written by Kevin Walker

photo by: Wendy Piersall

OK, we are just now recovering from our incessant celebration since Tuesday night!! What a remarkable night Tuesday was. We can kind of think now, so here are a few thoughts:

The Barack Obama campaign has been the best business school case study EVER--of how to market a product and convince people to "buy." The campaign was also a great case study in the use of new media to connect to people and galvanize them around a cause. I will forever remember the 3 a.m. text message I received announcing that Obama chose Joe Biden as his VP running mate.

The Obama campaign provided all of us with a textbook example of mastering the online/offline worlds of millennials. Their use of web video, Youtube, emails after key campaign moments, and texting, was done in the organic way that most Gen Y'ers use them.

One of the most brilliant decisions the Obama team made was hiring the co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes. With his innate knowledge of the dynamics of online social networks they were able to effectively use the communication tools that young people use on a day-to-day basis. They used the web as a mobilizing force to organize grassroots activity organizing 150,000 meetings via the internet over the 21 months of the campaign. They also perfected the pioneering work of the 2004 Howard Dean campaign in the use of the internet as a fundraising mechanism. I am sure that ALL marketers will be analyzing the success of the Obama campaign in the use of new media.

Consistency in your brand and in your marketing strategy means a lot! Even when things were not looking too good after the McCain team's pick of Sarah Palin, the Obama campaign stuck to their strategy and chose to focus on their issues and not the opposing team's personalities. The Obama campaign fully understood what people were looking for during these difficult times.

Knowing the mindset of your targeted consumer is perhaps one of the greatest tenets that the Obama campaign exploited. They fully understood that the majority of Americans were ready for a change so they branded the whole campaign around CHANGE. As most of us knew when McCain adopted the Change mantra, it was disingenuous to say the least. We could go on and on about how brilliantly Obama demonstrated how well they understood the mindset of the people.

As Russell Simmons has so famously said, "Do You!" Obama definitely did himself! He was calm, funny, corny, confident, serious, and he consistently reached out to ALL Americans, not just his base. Even when folks like me wanted him to get rougher with the opposing team, he remained true to himself.

Obama is the right brand for America in a time when America has dramatically slipped in global stature. Being a global citizen benefited Obama greatly in his outlook and ability to connect with all people. I will go out on a limb and say that being a global citizen and being bi-racial will make Obama one of the greatest statesmen that the world has ever seen.

Finally, the most striking thing about Tuesday night's selection of the new American President was that it was a total validation of Richard Florida's theories about The Rise of the Creative Class (please read his book by the same name). Obama is a Creative Class President from a Creative Class city, Chicago! Did you see how fantastic downtown Chicago looked as a background for the acceptance speech?!

Many states that McCain won-the so-called Red States-did not have Creative Class cities. Texas with Austin was the exception but that is it! Also, many of the states that McCain won were southern and Great Plains states with homogenous populations, many rural areas, and declining populations (West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Alabama, etc).
The Blue States, on the other hand, were states with large populations of young people, heavy concentrations of universities, and very diverse populations.

Also, those who supported Obama were urban AND suburban educated whites, Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans. So, Obama is a President for the urban, young, globally conscious,enlightened, diverse and progressive people-THE REAL AMERICA. This is the CultureLab demographic! Obama is symbolic of what our Agency, CultureLab, represents: the reality of the diverse New America/New World that we live in. Like Obama is the right President for this new era, we are the right Agency for Clients who want to connect better to young, technologically savvy, globally conscious, and multicultural people in this new era.

Please also see: Youth Vote Record Turnout

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obey Giant- Vote for Change Video Postcard

The following video is a part of Obey's Vote for Change Video Postcard campaign co-directed by Shepard Fairey and Melissa Balin. "The grass roots viral political action campaign," speaks volumes about the power of Web 2.0 and why Obama has registered with so many people in this era of new media.

Click here for more videos from Vote For Change