On Tuesday 25th September, Thinkhouse hosted ‘Don’t Miss The Mark’ a breakfast session for senior marketing professionals and business leaders who are responsible for marketing, youth marketing and future-proofing their businesses and organisations by ensuring they remain relevant.

Jane McDaid, Founder of Thinkhouse set the scene - outlining some of the common pitfalls that organisations fall into when they ‘miss the mark’ with marketing – tokenism, misinformation, band-wagoning, cluelessness and exploitation. McDaid highlighted the end result of brands and organisations that ‘Miss the Mark’ being a growing lack of trust and relevancy. She outlined how trust between brands, organisations and young people is at an all time low. She discussed how technology has changed the way trust is flowing through society and, quoting from Rachel Bottsman’s book ‘Who do you Trust?’ she said: “People don’t trust institutions, government, banks, the media – they’ll rent their house to strangers on Airbnb, get in a car with stranger on Uber or exchange Crypto currency. [Trust] used to flow upwards to authorities, experts, regulators and CEOs but now it flows sideways to peers, strangers, neighbours, colleagues and friends. And this changes how we make decisions and who we’re influenced by.”

Then, Claire Hyland, Head of Insights & Planning at The Youth Lab, talked about ‘The Era of Self Salvation’ – the realities of what it’s like to be young today. She talked about how young people see through the marketing hype and poke fun at bad marketing, before next outlining the key things that truly matter to young people today.

Then the team at Thinkhouse outlined key recommendations to ensure that brands don’t ‘miss the mark’ with their communications in the future.

The second half of the event was a client panel – featuring Nick Johnson, MD of Unilever Ireland, Chin Ru Foo, Global Brand Director, William Grant & Sons and Nora Torpey, RTE’s new Head of Marketing and Consumer Communications.

Nick Johnson spoke about ‘falling in love with the problem’ and how Unilever is built around solving societal problems – through its products, services and its outlook. He talked about the world’s impending food and water needs of the world and how this is a phenomenal challenge for companies like Unilever. In his ‘top tip,’ he encouraged brands and organisations to ‘sow first, then reap’.

Chin Ru Foo shared her journey on the Sailor Jerry brand and talked about cultural relevancy. As leader of WG&S’s Trailblazer Brands, she talked passionately about ‘zigging when everyone else is zagging’ and encouraged brands to channel their unique brand story to be more authentic and distinctive.

Nora Torpey spoke about the relevance of RTE today and how she sees the role of RTE evolving in the next five years – providing information, entertainment and an escape. She spoke about the importance of cross-departmental collaboration and how RTE’s impact on society now, and in the future, is huge. Nora said that marketers need to ‘be in the room when a product is being created, not at the last step in the process.’

Brian Higgins from Pieta House spoke about recruiting people in a movement and, in talking about brands that collaborate with organisations like Pieta House, Higgins made it clear that the brands need to be fully committed to solving the problems regarding suicide and self-harm – not in it to make a profit, but instead, to make a difference. Brian said that we must engage young people when it comes to breaking stigmas in society, such as the stigma around suicide.

All in all, a healthy, open discussion and debate around young people and the future of organisations, brands and marketing.

The event concluded with a WHOOSH!!! You had to be there…