#YouthMonth: Brands must have their finger on the pulse when it comes to youth culture

NTWRK Area3 is a local creative platform that champions content creation and storytelling based on Instagram. Housed on the social media platform, young creatives are given product and budget from Adidas Originals to bring their creative vision to life. Especially as one of the major barriers for young creators in South Africa is access to product and the funding needed to execute high-quality content.
Ben Moyo, a Zimbabwean-born photographer, Youtuber and creative director.
Ben Moyo, a Zimbabwean-born photographer, Youtuber and creative director.

Young creators are identified based on the strength of their creative output on Instagram and the evidence of an engaged community. Once a creator has been identified the brand then looks to align them with a product story that feels authentic to their aesthetic.

The creator is then introduced to the NTWRK Area3 concept and platform and confirmation of interest is secured. A brief is shared by the brand detailing the product the creator will be seeded with, allowing them to start visualising the key looks and conceptualising the art direction.

Background information on the product story is also shared as an education component, and finally, key deliverable information is outlined i.e. timeline for delivery of content.

The vision for NTWRK Area3 is to continue co-creating with local talent and giving young creators the opportunity to collaborate with the Adidas Originals brand and to create a platform that is authentic and true to local culture.

One such creative is Ben Moyo, a Zimbabwean-born photographer, Youtuber and creative director. Moyo predominantly works in fashion, shooting anything from look books to editorials and fashion shows. Having said that, he says he is not really limited to fashion only. “I'm interested in photographing music i.e. artist performances and documenting the music-making process, too.”

Here Moyo shares with us why it’s important for brands to collaborate with young creatives and what they should keep in mind when marketing to young people.

BizcommunityHow did you become involved with NTWRK Area3?

I got was involved with NTWRK Area3 to identify subcultures in Johannesburg, like the underground party scene and the thrift culture by Johannesburg teens.

BizcommunityWhy do you think it’s important for brands to support and collaborate particularly with young creatives?

Personally, I think it's important for brands to collaborate and work with young creatives because there is a vast majority of talented people out there who are looking for an outlet to showcase their talents but never get the opportunities. It also helps these young creatives reach out to a bigger audience, considering how big these brands are.

BizcommunityTell us about your most memorable projects to date.

My most memorable project has to be the thrift project with the teens of Johannesburg. It was interesting to see how resourceful they are with the little they have.

BizcommunityWhat do you think is key for brands to keep in mind when marketing to the youth?

Brands need to immerse themselves into the culture and understand what's happening on the ground without being swayed by the hype around some people or so-called 'influencers' they work with. They need to understand that the youth know exactly what they want and they can smell it from a mile away when a brand doesn't have their finger on the pulse when it comes to youth culture.

BizcommunityWhat drives you and what are some of the things that you are passionate about?

I'm driven by the hunger to create something new every day, the feeling of creating art and the reaction it gets from those consuming the art.

I'm passionate about African art and it reaching an international stage; I'm passionate about sustainable fashion and currently working on a fashion show that will feature all repurposed clothing.

BizcommunityWho are some of your role models?

I don't necessarily have role models; I just have people I admire and most of them have passed on. People like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Helmut Newton, Harry Benson, Bob Marley.

BizcommunityWhat advice would you like to convey to all the young creatives out there?

The most important advice I would give to young creatives is that they should create for themselves. We live in a world that's fuelled by social media and people are forced to create for Instagram not because they want to support art. Don’t get me wrong, I use Instagram too, but it shouldn't be the marking stick for how good your work is.

Also, they should be proud of their Africaness and should not hesitate to sprinkle it in whatever they create.

Lastly, don’t do drugs!

You can follow Moyo on these social media platforms: Instagram | Facebook and NTWRK Area3 on Instagram.

About Juanita Pienaar

Juanita is the editor of the marketing & media portal on the Bizcommunity website. She is also a contributing writer.

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