Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017
Youth engagement programmes can make a positive impact in four ways. They can make a positive social impact. They can create a positive impact on your brand. They can make a positive contribution to your corporate goals and they can have a positive impact on your people – both current and future. Many existing initiatives have an impact on one or two of these areas. The best youth engagement strategies have programmes that make an impact on all four, creating value across the business.
The first step in designing a brilliant youth engagement strategy then, is to work out how your activity will make a positive impact on each of these areas, (social, brand, corporate and people) and to decide how you will measure that impact.
So, what does positive impact in each of these areas look like?
The Work Foundation, Business in the Community and Harvard Business Review all report a measurable increase of young people’s skills, motivation and employability after positive and effective engagement with the right business-led programmes. Businesses can deliver measurable social and community impacts by helping young people and educators develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make a positive difference to themselves and others.
Here are some examples of social impact in action:
If you want to build a meaningful connection with families, it makes sense to focus your marketing on what matters to them. For parents, the single most important issue in their lives, is the development and well-being of their children.
In 2004, we pioneered School Partnership Marketing, bringing schools and brands together in a collaborative partnership for the first time for mutual benefit. This form of marketing allows brands to connect directly and on an emotional level with parents and families, building brand equity and trust or directly engaging consumers.
What impact do you want your youth engagement activity to have on your brand? Some possible impacts include:
- Improving the perception of your brand or industry in general. This can be about repairing a damaged reputation after a crisis or making an industry more attractive to future employees.
- Directly engaging your target audience with your brand or a new product. For example, we work with film distributors such as 20th Century Fox to generate awareness and drive cinema visits around new releases.
Business strategy needs a focus on the future and young people are a big part of that. Aligning your youth engagement strategy to corporate objectives not only increases the chances of it getting support from senior stakeholders, and consequently its likely longevity, but it also directly affects the future growth and success of your organisation. These objectives can include developing a market, hitting long-term sustainability targets or meeting long-term skills needs within your organisation.
A diverse range of companies report skills development and confidence changes amongst their own staff, as a result of their engagement with young people. Edleman’s 2016 Trust Barometer stated, “Positive impact upon young people, as part of a business impact on society, was measured to increase employees’ likelihood to recommend their company as employers, by 25%.”.
We’ve seen the impact of volunteering programmes through our own work:
Your company’s work with young people should not only motivate and develop current colleagues but also support the development of your talent pipeline, helping you to recruit the employees of the future. Sometimes this needs a broader, industry wide focus. For example, The Institution of Engineering and Technology helped inspire 30% more girls to consider a career in engineering through a series of challenge events across the UK that used real-life engineering problems to challenge pupils and show them the creative side of engineering.
By assessing your engagement with young people against these four areas of impact, you can start to see the gaps and opportunities ahead. It’s an important step in going from ‘Good to Brilliant’.
If you’d like to increase the impact of your company’s work with young people in each of these four areas then we’d love to help. Please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the first in a series of four bitesize guides where we’ll show you how to take your work with young people from ‘Good to Brilliant’. Next week we’ll help you assess where your company sits on the journey.