Moving Youth and Passion

I hear it over and over again, “Today’s youth are not motivated” or “Today’s generation doesn’t have the same values as we do or as we had when we were their age.” People criticize those aged 15 to 35. They say it is the “me generation.” They claim that these students and employees don’t have the passion or commitment that we have or had.

Wake up and smell the roses! In my world, this generation is all about outcomes. They are picky. They don’t do things the way we do. (Do you do things the way your parents did?) They want freedom and creativity opportunities instead of putting in hours to “earn their keep.” This generation has greater access to knowledge than any of us did for the first 30+ years of our lives… combined!

When you engage members of this generation the way they need to be engaged; when you listen to them and make them part of the process instead of subordinates, they produce. And they produce very well. Yes, this age group has passion, commitment, and drive to be successful. A great example is the Canadian We Day.

When Craig Kielburger co-founded Free the Children in 1995 at the age of 12, he sparked a generation. His passion has infused hundreds of thousands of people of all age groups with contagious enthusiasm. The success of Free the Children spawned what is called We Day. This youth-oriented day of excitement, experience, and passion engages youth to do good works in their communities. It encourages this high school age group to make a difference in the lives of others as well as their own. We Day is amazing!

What does this have to do with sponsorship marketing? A lot. Things like We Day don’t just happen. They need funding. When you run an experiential event from coast to coast in multiple markets with such luminaries as the Dalai Lama and Justin Bieber, you cannot run on a shoestring. You need sponsors and We Day has them.

In the spring, RBC stepped up as a major partner. As Craig Kielburger noted, it is a multimillion dollar deal which represents the largest sponsorship We Day has ever negotiated. Well done, RBC!

When I look at this, I reflect on the bank’s future. It is with the youth of today, many of whom will be wealthy one day, but more importantly, most will be average Canadians with mortgages and car loans. RBC is positioning itself well with this target audience. We Day is an annual event that celebrates and promotes youth philanthropy. Wow—what a target audience! In addition to this target audience, RBC has aligned itself with one of the most powerful media and showcase events in Canada. Talk about profile and exposure!

This year’s tour started at the end of last month and finishes late next month. Be sure to watch. Watch how sponsors activate. Watch how they position and brand. Watch them and the youth of today (our leaders of tomorrow) become successful.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

Brent Barootes

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