Go Lean Commentary
One mission of the book Go Lean…Caribbean is to sell the youth of the region on future prospects in the Caribbean.
The publishers of this book therefore must assume the role of Marketing Brand Managers.
Why is this important?
- 65% of Caribbean population is under the age of 30[b][c]; 30% under the age of 15.[c]
- 70% percent of Caribbean tertiary educated abandon their homeland and migrate to foreign shores.[d]
The job description for the publishers of the Go Lean book therefore become part-Marketer, part-Demographer, part-Drum Major; much like the resource in this article here, Tina Wells, a writer, blogger and marketing firm founder:
By Alfred Edmond, Jr.
Black Enterprise Magazine – Book Review – April 19, 2011; Retrieved 07-06-2014 – http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/book-review-chasing-youth-culture-and-getting-it-right/
Subject: Buzz Marketing Group CEO Tina Wells urges you to market to teens, tweens and young adults not by age alone, but by tribe
In her new book Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right: How Your Business Can Profit by Tapping Today’s Most Powerful Trendsetters and Tastemakers, Buzz Marketing Group (Wiley, $16). Buzz Marketing CEO Tina Wells urges you to market to teens, tweens and young adults not by age alone, but by “tribe.” Citing her company’s research, as well as the success and failures of company’s marketing their goods and services to young consumers, Wells identifies four primary tribes:
- The Wired Techie, driven by the need to be the first to discover, use and recommend new tech devices and gadgets.
- The Conformist Yet Somewhat Paradoxical Preppy, traditional yet trendy buyers who are driven to want to fit in and belong.
- The Always Mellow Alternative, who deviate from mainstream buying habits in order to pursue and support causes they believe in.
- The Cutting Edge Independent, who deviate from the mainstream just for the sake of it.
While it’s difficult to accept that Wells’ tribes truly represent the totality of the thinking of tweens, teens and young adults, her book underscores an important reality of sales and marketing in the age of The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less of More ($10, Hyperion)–Chris Anderson’s must-read book about the changing nature of consumer choice and tastes in a largely digital marketplace: targeting consumers by age, race, gender and other traditional demographic markers alone is no longer enough for a business to be effective and, ultimately, profitable.
When it comes to marketing to youth, [Tina Wells] comes with unimpeachable bona fides. Already a 15-year veteran in the marketing business, she started Buzz Marketing as an 18-year-old, quickly carving out a niche and establishing a knack for understanding the trends, tastes and influences driving young consumers. Eventually graduating with honors with a B.A. in communication art from Hood College in 2002, and currently earning a marketing management degree at the Wharton School of Business, Wells creates marketing strategies for clients in the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial and lifestyle sectors. Her clients have ranged from Sesame Street Workshop and PBS to American Eagle Outfitters and SonyBMG. Today, Wells, an expert contributor on entrepreneurship to BlackEnterprise.com, is well established as one of America’s most honored and celebrated young entrepreneurs.
So it’s no surprise that Wells brings and authoritative voice to Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right, confidently explaining the diverse world views of young consumers while smartly taking into account parents, as both their primary financial resource and the people with the most influence on their values. Wells also breezily illustrates, using vignettes of real young people who were subjects of her company’s survey, the impact of social media, globalization and the Great Recession on the “new millennials”. She also courageously weighs in on how young consumers feel about everything from environmentalism and corporate America to hypersexual content and America’s two-party political system.
In fact, sometimes Wells is over confident, making bold, sweeping overstatements about this or that aspect of the way young people think. For example, her description of “Global Mobiles” —young people who “live in a world without geographic or cultural boundaries” —is a stretch, conveniently overlooking the millions of young people, particularly low-income rural and urban Americans, who are hardly conscious of how people live on the other side of the tracks, much less the other side of the world. (Think Shawn Carter in the Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects before he became Jay-Z, the mogul and global citizen). While global mobiles absolutely exist, it’s too early to categorize them as a dominant factor in marketing.
The other major weakness of the book is [the] many examples of companies’ failed and/or successful efforts to market to youth culture; Wells ends up quickly glossing over most of them, causing them to lose some of their illustrative impact. I wish she’d used fewer examples, which would have allowed her to more effectively use those that remained as more enlightening and instructive case studies.
That said, if you’re a marketer or entrepreneur who wants to tap into the spending power of the generations of consumers who will drive the national and global economies over the next several decades (and come on, who doesn’t?), then you cannot afford to not read Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right. The book is both confirmation of Well’s formidable track record as an expert on the trends and tastes of young people, and powerful evidence of her prowess at using her immersion in her chosen area of expertise to peer around the corner into a future consumer marketplace, one that is evolving as unpredictably as it is quickly. Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right does solve all of the mysteries of marketing to young consumers, but it most certainly provides the most necessary, fascinating and useful clues.
Tina Wells is CEO of Buzz Marketing Group and is a columnist for BlackEnterprise.com [and Huffington Post]. Follow her on Twitter at @tinacwells and check out her new book, Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right, available now on amazon.com. (See Photo here).
About the Review Author:
Alfred Edmond Jr. is SVP/Editor-at-large of BLACK ENTERPRISE. He is a content leader, brand representative and expert resource for all media platforms under the BLACK ENTERPRISE brand, including the magazine, television shows, web site, social media and live networking events. From 2008 through 2010, Edmond was SVP/Editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com, helping to lead the transition of BLACK ENTERPRISE from single-magazine publisher to digital-first multimedia company. From 1995 through 2008, Edmond was chief editor of BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine. He also hosts The Urban Business Roundtable on WVON-AM in Chicago and Money Matters, a syndicated radio feature of American Urban Radio Networks.
Follow him on Twitter: alfrededmondjr; Facebook: http://facebook.com/alfrededmondjr; BE Insider: http://beinsider.ning.com/profile/Alfred
VIDEO: Inc. Magazine Entrepreneurial Reference Source – http://videos.inc.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/1_5jek9891/uiconf_id/22577421
The book Go Lean…Caribbean, parallels Chasing Youth Culture as it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to elevate Caribbean society and culture. The idea of the CU must be marketed and sold to Caribbean stakeholders, young and old. The CU has 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.
The Go Lean/CU effort is that of the legendary “Piped Piper”, in reverse to lead the children back home.
From the outset of the book, in the Introduction, the Go Lean roadmap (Page 10) posits that a target for the CU’s empowerments is Caribbean youth:
Our youth, the next generation, may not be inspired to participate in the future workings of their country; they may measure success only by their exodus from their Caribbean homelands.
Thusly, the CU must channel its inner “Tina Wells” to reach, engage, and sell to this youthful market.
There are other pronouncements that bear a direct reference to this foregoing article and source book, included here on Pages 11 & 13 of the Declaration of Interdependence:
vii. Whereas our landmass is finite and therefore limited as to population growth potential, it is imperative that prudent growth management be practiced so as to protect our legacy and still foster future opportunities for the hopes and fulfillment of a prosperous future for our children.
xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores…
xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.
The source book, Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right identifies the target demographic of millennials. This subset of youth population is identified as those born between the decades of the 1980’s and 2000’s[a]. Why so special? While every age group has always contended with a generation gap (Depression-era, Baby Boomers, Generation X), this current millennial generation is at the frontline of the current Caribbean battles, of which the region is sorely losing. The issues/crises dumbfounding Caribbean governance include: the impact of social media, globalization and the Great Recession.
Go Lean…Caribbean trumpets a call to the world of technology to impact Caribbean life. In addition to economic and security empowerments, this roadmap advocates the launch of a social media site – www.myCaribbean.gov – for all Caribbean stakeholders (residents, Diaspora, young students, business entities, and even visitors). This can create a universe of over 160 million unique profiles. The Go Lean roadmap is to deliver many government services via electronic modes, including public safety fulfillments, like Reverse 911 and Emergency Alert messaging.
The following lists details from the book Go Lean…Caribbean that parallels the advocacies of the source book Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right:
|Community Ethos – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Cooperatives||Page 25|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future||Page 26|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide||Page 31|
|Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good||Page 37|
|Strategy – Customers – Member-State Governments||Page 51|
|Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology||Page 57|
|Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization||Page 57|
|Strategy – Agents of Change – Aging Diaspora||Page 57|
|Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy||Page 64|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Postal Union||Page 78|
|Anecdote – Turning Around the CARICOM governance||Page 92|
|Anecdote – “Lean” in Government||Page 93|
|Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change||Page 101|
|Implementation – Ways to Deliver||Page 109|
|Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media||Page 111|
|Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate||Page 118|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology||Page 197|
|Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce||Page 198|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora||Page 217|
The source book Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right is a great guidebook for developing participatory, agile institutions, enabled by advanced technology – a recipe for the CU. The Go Lean roadmap is also a great guidebook!
Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people (teenagers, adults & senior citizens) and governing institutions, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean…Caribbean. We cannot expect the youth to take their own lead; they must be led, but they will only respond to a certain style of leadership. Understanding that dynamic is the heavy-lifting involved in impacting change in the Caribbean region.
This is an art and a science!
There will be costs to incur for this advocacy, yes, but there are a lot of benefits too. The benefits are far too alluring to ignore: dawn of a new economy and new opportunities to preserve Caribbean culture for the Caribbean youth … and future generations.
Appendix – Cited References:
a. Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
b. Example of Haiti; retrieved from http://populationaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Haiti_Summary.pdf
c. Latin America & Caribbean Population 2005 retrieved from: http://www.eclac.cl/celade/noticias/documentosdetrabajo/6/48786/ Demographic_Trends_in_LAC_PAULO_SAAD_ED_12_7_09.pdf
d. Inter-American Bank report featured in CU Blog; retrieved from: http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1433