Preview – Alexa How should Youth Brands Use Audio in 2019?

Posted on: Saturday 29 June 2019 12:36pm by Sam Harris

Thursday 4th July 2019, 09:30 – 10:30

HUBS Common Room

It feels like everyone’s interested in spoken word audio right now – products like podcasts, smart speakers and (increasingly) audiobooks.

As the influence and importance of audio grows, media brands are developing new strategies and initiatives to capture the ears of consumers. These strategies are increasingly placing audio at the heart of a brand’s media mix. As such, audio has assumed a new importance in the battle to win the fluttering attention spans of their audiences.

Why audio?

Audio is part of a seemingly endless, entertaining carousel of new and on-demand content. Young audiences especially flit nimbly between platforms and devices, apps and web pages, in the hunt for the next great piece of entertaining content.

However, while young people may be happy with this newfound digital freedom and fluency – parents are concerned; not only with the inappropriate content they believe their kids are bumping into online – but also with the massive amount of time their children are spending glued to screens. As one Mancunian mother told us recently:

“I took the dog for a walk the other night and just saw people in their homes staring into their phones, and I thought what’s happening to us? I’m scared my daughter wont experience what we have – the normal world” (Mother of Girl, 8 – Manchester)

While a bit over the top, this dystopian scene conjures a fear – felt by many parents – that screen-based devices are negatively impacting the health and well-being of their children. Consequently, parents are now embracing the idea of audio-first products as a means of assuaging their ‘screen guilt’ and helping them strike a balance with their children between screen and non-screen-based play.

“We’re a generation of parents who are trying to get that balance right, and it’s a constant battle… I think anything that is different and stops children from being drawn to screens and captures their imagination in the same way is a good thing” (Father of Boy, 10 – London)

The Challenges and Opportunity

There is clearly a great opportunity for brands operating in this audio space, but there are major challenges as well. Although parents (and their kids) are enthusiastic about audio products, there are still major roadblocks that need to be overcome: parents often find this content hard to source; they don’t always understand how the product or content works; and sometimes struggle to see how it would fit into their kids’ busy lives.

To better understand how brands are dealing with the opportunities and challenges in this space, Hook Research will lead a conversation with experts from the BBC, Penguin Random House, and Sony Music. In this session, we’ll explore how these brands are engaging with podcasts, smart speakers, and audio books while also hearing real-world examples of how they are coming to grips with these exciting ‘new’ audio products.

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Sam Harris

About the author

Sam Harris

Hook Research, Insights & Engagement Director

With a background in content development and marketing strategy, Sam leads the insights & engagement team at Hook Research. Bringing together designers, videographers, and copywriters, this team ensures that each of Hook’s outputs is delivered with design in mind. Sam’s enduring fascination with meme-culture, video listicles, and political podcasts means… Read more