PLATF9RM Learns

"The Internet Is In Our Blood.” A Guide To Generation Z, by 18-year-old CEO Brandon Relph

By 2019 Generation Z will comprise 32% of the world’s population. This data, published by Bloomberg, classified a Gen Z member as anyone born after 2000. If you’re a business that wants to engage those 18 and under, you’d better act fast if you don’t want to seem as medieval as a MiniDisc.

For those hoping to unpick the minds of Gen Z, there’s no better person than the Eastbourne-based Brandon Relph. Brandon is 18 and CEO of his company Internet Ready, who consult on and devise Generation Z-focused internet marketing strategies. He became the world’s youngest CEO – a title he no longer holds – at just 13-years-old after launching the Minecraft-based business goCreative.

Five years later he spends most of his days helping Fortune 100 companies drag their feet out of the past. Added to that, he’s an international speaker and was once described as “awesome” by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Speaking to Brandon, perhaps surprisingly, will make you feel both old and scornful of the painfully childish whims of your own 18-year-old self. We caught up with him to discover everything you need to know about Generation Z.

 

Hey Brandon. What’s the main difference between millennials and Generation Z?

Millennials changed the world but Gen Z are changing it again. The main thing is that we grew up with the internet. It’s in our blood. It changed how we see the world.

 

Has growing up behind a computer affected your attitude to work?

It’s hard to say but we definitely prefer to work independently. We’re less interested in collaborating. I think we like our own space because we’re used to having it. We can connect on the internet rather than sitting in the same room!

 

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We read a lot about Gen Z being more mindful than those before. How does that play out?

We’re much more careful with money and thoughtful about how much things cost. We are a lot more savvy around brands and where we put our money. Millennials were quite oblivious to when they’re being marketed to but we’re very, very aware. When we become adults we’ll have the highest buying power of any generation, so we’ll have all the money but we’ll spend it wisely.

What about careers?

We want accelerated careers. We want to just get on with our thing. We don’t want to go in at low-level jobs.

How do you channel that though? Everyone has to start somewhere.

The world is still working out how to adapt but I think there’ll be a lot of smaller firms. A lot of individuals and freelancers to make a web of talent rather than just having pure bureaucratic companies. 

How important will the culture of an company or employer be?

We’ll want something that constantly stimulates our minds. Rather than just going in and doing one job we’ll want to go in, have three different jobs and just get on with it. 

How important is “constant stimulation” in marketing?

We need to have our attention grabbed quickly and kept consistently. Marketing needs to be fast marketing rather than slow. You need to create a different mindset around the brand. Rather than just one advert you need multiple adverts and to build a brand, rather than just sell a single product.

Who is good at this?

The bigger companies are being quite successful because they’re building brands first and products after. Take Apple: they are really good at sustainability and that means a lot to us.

Who are Gen Z icons?

Increasingly I think it’s Influencers. We’ve moved away from mainstream celebrities to people that we can connect and relate with: you can see Influencers more as friends than just people on the TV. Through vlogging and other ways you can understand what they represent. They’ll do meet-ups. It’s all about connection and it’s why influencer marketing is so effective. Influencers also value their audience as people: they could sell something dodgy and perhaps get away with it, but it would harm them brand and con people they have a relationship with. They’re very mindful of this.

Who’s a big Influencer we should know?

There’s a Youtuber called Shane Dawson. He’s had a lot of success and people see him as a stable and interesting guy. 

Are there any bad brands for Gen Z?

Our generation don’t use Facebook much. Personally I don’t use Facebook. It’s a product for older people. It’s slow, it’s boring. Also, they collect loads of data. Less is more when it comes to data. We hugely value our privacy.  Sometimes I have firms say they want to tun a Facebook campaign aimed at Gen Z and I tell them not to bother!

Finally. Is all progress good progress good for Generation Z? Is there no sense of holding onto traditions or do we just speed up the world and make it as effective as possible?

I think we’ve come into a world where we are taught to fast and and effective. We’re the most connected generation ever because we have the internet and lots of our relationships are built over the internet. We’re also very conscious of everybody. We think the greater good is most important and we're less scared of monopolies. You know, people worry about Amazon having a monopoly. We care about companies that care for people.

Us too. Thanks Brandon!

Pop along to our event ‘PLATF9RM Presents: What Is The Future Of Work For Generation Z’, to hear more on what Brandon has to say, along with Daisy Cresswell and Lola Ray from Brighton5 and Declan Cassidy from Maker Club.

PLATF9RM Members’ 9 Top Albums For Getting In The Zone

You’ve got deadlines looming. An inner feeling of dread is mounting. Your concentration…. wait, is that a dog over there??? Nevermind. Where were we? Oh yeah– your concentration. It’s shot. Things are looking gloomy and that deadline has never looked so precarious.

But don’t worry. We’ve got you. Here’s the nine albums PLATF9RM members play when they desperately need to get sh*t done. These are tunes to bring us back to earth – to focus – when our brains threaten to drift into the stratosphere of endless procrastination. They’ll transport you to the ever-elusive zone and turn those “To Do” lists into “Bloody Well Done” lists.

And yes we know Spotify’s pretty good at churning out concentration playlists. But they're basically algorithms; we're proper humans, with proper recommendations.

 

Kerri Lush




My concentration album is most certainly 新しい日の誕生 by 2814

Released in 2015 on the London-based Dream Catalogue's label, ‘Birth of a New Day' is a mystical, heady journey through a Blade Runner-esque cityscape. Often tied to the vaporwave genre, this album brings together ambient-electronica (a la Tangerine Dream or Vangelis) with an imagined sci-fi future dystopian aesthetic. On paper it should be a distraction, but I find the sound induces a wide-eyed state of productivity.


Zoe Brownrigg




RX Y is an alternative to Bon Iver for those who who love Bon Iver but don’t want to be distracted by their favourite songs whilst working. RX Y’s peaceful guitar and indistinguishable lyrics will lull you into a calm work-flow. Also very good as background music to yoga.


Cliff Ettridge




I have a go-to album that I use– usually very late at night – when I simply have to hit a deadline: Pieces in a Modern Style. Pieces in a Modern Style by William Orbit.

This simply is the album to let your mind get lost in. If you are trying to focus, it acts like an aural massage. It bathes you in very simple electronic strings and its smooth sounds allow you to concentrate fully.

It's not an album you have to try hard to listen to whilst working. It's more a soundscape that envelopes you. Simple, soothing, soaring, mellow: it inspires thoughts and focuses the mind.

Once playing, I tend to forget what time of day it is. It could be 1.00am in the early hours, it could be 8.00am in the morning, even 3.00pm in the afternoon. It usually goes on late at night but, when I'm wrapped up in it, I could be anywhere.


Lana Burgess




My ultimate concentration album is Tomorrow's Harvest by Boards of Canada. The opening track, ‘Gemini’, starts with a filmic fanfare that sets the scene for a productive writing session like nothing else. The ambient electronic sounds are calming and progressive, keeping me focused and blissfully lost in flow as I write.


Pete Blunden




So for me, it'd have to be the Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit's third album, Stay Gold. All their albums are exceptional, but this one gets the most plays. There's something about the steadily beating drums, flowing guitar and passionate, echoing vocals that provide an overwhelming sense of calm. I often catch myself thinking in multiple directions at once, but those sisters focus my kaleidoscopic thoughts into a laser-sharp focus beam. Pew pew!


Abbie Swan




The Blaze - Territory. Short, but very sweet. With a gentle mix of instrumental electronics and emotive vocals, this album makes it easy to zone out and focus on whatever is in front of me. As a designer I definitely need upbeat music to create a fast working pace, so this works perfectly.


Dale Blackburn


Generally speaking I’ll look for something instrumental and rhythmic. I want to avoid getting distracted with lyrical content or ambient drift. Often this can range from hip hop to post rock to electronic music, with some of my top artists being Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Explosions in the Sky, and Dawn of Midi. However, my definitive “getting stuff done” album would be Tycho and their album Epoch:

It’s got the right balance of instrumentation and dynamics, with the shifting rhythms and melodies setting a decent pace to work at. I particularly like their mixture of analog and digital


Jim Turner




When I need to get stuck into something proper and create some good work, it has to be an album that helps my mind shift into that state. I want to be transported and lifted out of the normal trudge to some other place where the sparkling mind stuff can happen. You’ve gotta let that magical transformation occur to be able to create something out of nothing.

Astral Weeks has got to be the one. Released in 1968 when Van Morrison was in his early twenties with a band of jazz musicians he’d never met before. It’s a transcendental album that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Each song is a perfect meditative spell to take you to that elsewhere we’re looking for, where creating good work is baked right in. So, put those headphones on, play ’Madame George’ and see what happens.


Maddy Zoli


I'm one of those people who really listens to anything. It is hard to pick just one favourite, but speaking of my work I know exactly the genre of music that really helps me getting "in the zone". While I work on my illustrations, I usually listen to a mix of bossa nova and jazz music from a unique Japanese band who do Studio Ghibli covers. Some people think that jazz is kinda "messy" but paired with bossa nova’s milder melodies, it is perfect to relax the mind and keep concentration on what you’re doing.

 

Check out these other great blogs that PLATF9RM members have composed...

PLATF9RM Members Tell Us About The Most Inspirational Women In Their Lives

Emma Croman: My Perfect Brighton

Guestblog: Kerry Watkins - 2018’s Social Media Trends That Every Business Should Know

You’ve only got to take a nap and something has changed on social media - a new feature, a different algorithm or new metrics. And it can be hard to keep up! But these are four key trends that I think have had a really positive impact for many businesses.


Instagram ‘Stories’ take over!

2017 was a big year for Instagram Stories and brought us the Stories Highlights feature - allowing us to save our Stories content. Good for all marketers out there who couldn’t quite get to grips with ephemeral content only lasting for 24 hours! ‘Stories Highlights’ allows you to create saved packages of your Stories and make them available online for all eternity (or until you decide to delete them). And because highlights are saved on our profiles, stories can receive many more views if they are saved. You can also see all your old stories in Instagrams ‘Archive’ - I loved it when this feature appeared! - where you can go back to your old Stories (well, ‘old’ as in more than 24 hours old!) and add them to Highlights if you wish.


Facebook Advertising Gets More Sophisticated

You may have noticed at the start of 2018 that the reach of your organic Facebook posts took a dive. (Again!) So whilst this was good for us in the sense that we now see more content from friends and family, we’re not seeing brand content. Hence the need for an advertising budget. This year has seen brands investing more in ads outside of the typical ‘single image traffic ad’ - including Instagram Story video ads, Store visits ads and FB messenger ads. We’ve worked with a few businesses recently who have seen great results with Messenger ads as it gives them an opportunity to build a rapport with potential clients without taking them away from Facebook. It’s really worth spending time looking at the different campaign types on offer from Facebook and thinking how this could help your business. It’s still such a cost effective platform compared to all other networks.


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LinkedIn video grows

In 2017 LinkedIn rolled out native video and many businesses have seen a big increase in reach and engagement with their connections. Even though they were the last to the party with video, LinkedIn does offer a unique platform for B2B marketing. Video regularly out-performs static content and the reasons are simple - the movement of visual content catches our attention and keeps us engaged. It takes less effort to consume video content than written content and, in the world of B2B sales and marketing, building trust is key and video does that. Over the next couple of years, we’ll be seeing more and more video on all networks and I’d definitely recommend getting involved.


Shoppable Instagram

Last, but by no means least, Instagram finally rolled out shoppable posts to the UK meaning that any ecommerce site could tag products in Instagram posts, giving the shopper a more seamless shopping experience. You need to sync a Facebook catalogue with your Facebook shop so Instagram can link products directly to your website. Not always as simple as it sounds though - trust me, I’ve heard many people banging their heads on their desks trying to get this working. Once set up, it is a really valuable feature that makes it a much smoother consumer journey, especially because Instagram still doesn’t let us hyperlink to URLs in captions! One thing at a time though I guess.



Kerry Watkins is the founder of Social Brighton, a boutique social media agency passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals through social with a tailored approach.


Social Brighton are a small team of social media experts specialising in strategy development and consultancy, training courses and workshops and a more hands on approach to managing social media and paid advertising.


Kerry is leading a PLATF9RM Learns session called ‘How To Be A Social Animal’ on September 5th. Book your place here.

David Bramwell Interviewed About Communities, Secret Italian Temples, And Why He Loves Bom-Bane’s

David Bramwell is someone that does many things well. On his occupation roll call he’s got author, journalist, documentary maker, podcaster, public speaker and musician (God, he’s probably really good at cooking too).

Perhaps not surprisingly, he’s electrically engaging company so we’re delighted that he’s coming to PLATF9RM to give a talk about his book, The No.9 Bus To Utopia. He wrote the book after a difficult break-up and, deciding he needed to get better acquainted with the art of sharing, went off in search of Europe and America’s most unique communities.

We grabbed David – a Hanover resident and also co-author of the massively successful Cheeky Guide To Brighton – for a chat to talk happy communing and the best of secret Brighton.


PLATF9RM: To the uninitiated, can you describe the premise of No.9 Bus To Utopia?

David: I spent a year traveling around Europe and America, visiting the strangest and most inspiring alternative communities. I went to anarchist communities, free love communities, fetish communities, spiritual communities. My favourite was Damanhur in the Italian Alps. They built an underground temple that’s the size of St Paul’s Cathedral. No-one even knew they had done it! They also claim to have built a time machine and to have taught plants how to sing…


Woah. Can anyone go to Damanhur?

Yes. I love encouraging people to go there! People should cross the Pyramids or the Sphinx off their bucket list and go to Damanhur instead.


How old were you when you were doing this?

I’m 50 now and it was nine years ago so you can work back from there…


How do you relate to the person who wrote the book?

At that time I was immersed in the cult of individualism that western societies fought so hard for in the 20th-century. It’s like the Wild Ones sample used by Primal Scream (in the song 'Loaded'): “We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna get loaded and have a good time”. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this but there’s a lack of community and sharing and we lead more isolated lives. There’s a price to pay: we have spiraling depression; increased suicide rates; people having a lack of meaning and purpose.


Do you think people are now starting to become more aware of the importance of community?

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I do. Look at something like Sunday Assembly. It has the community aspects of church, but does away with the need to believe in an interventionist God. So you attend, sing along to Cyndi Lauper or ABBA, have some cake and watch a great speaker. I think we’re turning to experience-based community sharing.


You are a freelance writer so you must encounter periods of solitude. How do you combat this?

I do, absolutely. Last week i did some voluntary work and spent the day handing out tote bags and stickers at Brighton Digital job fair. It gave me a sense of sharing and being involved in my community.


Were there any common traits in the communities you visited?

Pride is a troublesome word but I’d say pride in the place, the life and the system they’ve chosen to live by. Also the necessity of compromise when you’re living with a bunch of people. Neighbourliness! When I was in Christiana, an anarchist community in Copenhagen, a guy was doing massive changes to his house. I told him he was going to have to hire some professionals. He said, “Why would I do that? My neighbours will help me.”

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Did you find that people were happier?

People were happier in these communities because they’d made a choice go there. They were mindful of their neighbour’s health. I was massively struck by was how creative the architecture was; when people are left to their own devices they don’t just build their ordinary homes; the build really amazing buildings.


You also wrote the Cheeky Guide To Brighton which has been a huge success. What three secret things would you recommend to do in the city?

Club Silencio at Subline: the best, the weirdest, the most funny underground cabaret night. It’s run by Stuart Warwick and is just brilliant; it could only come from Brighton.

Bom-Bane’s on St George’s Street is the home of Jane Bon-Bane. She’s a wonderful human being and a great performer who does a lot of nights in her 27-capacity room downstairs. Despite its size she’s had people like Stewart Lee, Jerry Dammers from The Specials, and Robin Williamson from The Incredible String Band. Big name performers go there because they love her.

My number three would be Brighton’s weirdest piece of outsider art. It’s on the beach between Concorde 2 and the Palace Pier; a stone grotto created by fishermen that continues to grow. It has strange figures looking out to see, it has creatures, 12-foot high stone statues, archways, all built from flint from the beach. When you walk past it – it’s big and and there’s a fence round it – you almost don't see it. But when you look for it, you’ll think, ‘How did I not see this before?’.


We’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks David!
 
David’s talk is on Wednesday, July 4th. You can buy tickets here and all proceeds go to our 2018 partner charity, Clock Tower Sanctuary.