MAW Communications Appoints Youth Strategy Director

MAW Communications Appoints Youth Strategy Director
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Boutique creative, content and PR business Men At Work Communications (MAW) has embarked on a strategy to target the marketer’s white whale – the hard to engage 18 to 34 Millennial market – with the creation of a youth strategy division.

Furthermore, MAW has promoted account manager Nick Donovan (pictured above) to the role of youth strategy director. Donovan has been with the agency for two years, and has been instrumental in MAW’s shift from a PR business into a full-service digital agency. Relevantly, he is a Millennial.

MAW managing director Adam Mumford said: “There is a major gap in the market when it comes to Millennials, because no one really understands how to reach them.

“They simply don’t consume media in ways that traditional marketers understand – they aren’t watching linear TV, they aren’t consuming traditional advertising.

“They are the major consumers of social media, but if brands try to engage with them in the social space in an inauthentic way, they switch off immediately

“The key is authentic communication, and all too often these communications are coming from older marketers who don’t truly understand the audience, and so the message doesn’t resonate.

Mumford believes there aren’t many businesses out there connecting with the Millennial market.

“The best example of a business doing it right is probably Vice – they get how to connect in an authentic way,” he said.

“We see a huge gap, and that means there is a huge opportunity. We’ve developed the youth strategy division and put Nick in charge to really drive our connection with this elusive market.

“This business unit will develop research, build client relationships with youth-facing brands or brands that want to enter the youth market, and focus heavily on creating authentic communications strategies.”

Mumford said the agency has been quietly building its capabilities in this space for some time, and is already working with a number of brands that are looking to target the youth market.

Commenting on the new role, Donovan said: “It is so obvious when brands are trying to communicate with younger audiences and failing.

“You can tell that some old white guy in an ivory tower somewhere has said something like, ‘Let’s reach the kids of today with some hip messaging. Let’s put a rapper in a TV ad. Is Vanilla Ice still popular?’ Messaging so often comes across as condescending and hackneyed.

“Millennials are the most informed youths in history. They are critical, they are discerning and they have a highly attuned bullshit-meter. Not only do you need to know where to find them, you need to know how to communicate with them and when to do so.”

Donovan’s appointment follows a raft of recent business wins for the agency, including Cub Cadet, Wealth Within, Harcourts, Rhino-Rack, Shimano, Fiskars, Kennards Hire, House of Marley, Blackwolf and Suunto Watches, among others.

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