Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Sign of The Times

None. (read on and you will understand)

If you were at your local mall and you (as an adult) were looking for the teen and young adult clothing and accessories store Hollister you might be hard pressed to find it. This very popular store features no sign over the doorway, has no windows looking in and it is nearly as dark as a movie theater.

Found this story about the Hollister stores at the Marketing Student website. The post included this photo peaking inside. (keep reading, I promise there's a radio angle to this story)

Here's the complete post:

"There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that you don’t belong somewhere. I am reminded of this whenever I step inside a Hollister retail store, which is so teen it hurts.

No brand name over the front doors, no glass windows to see inside, and two Tiger Beat model types to greet you on the way in. The inside is so dark, ladies might feel the instinct to grasp the pepper spray inside their purses. An overbearing perfume/cologne mix hangs in the air. It’s almost as if they’ve designed the store to repel you, but their success clearly shows that Gen Y is responding.

Above is a peek inside one such store, which almost seems to go against every ergonomic and design rule conceived in the last 50 years. But perhaps that’s precisely why it’s so successful. Teens are always going to want to rebel against their elders, and this is just the latest iteration.

Or…maybe I’m just getting older. Next thing you know I’m yelling at kids to get off my lawn…"

Think about what you just read and consider how very different it is from every other store in the mall. Think about how different Gen Y's are compared to GenXer's. Think about how different we are going to need to program radio stations to even have a chance to connect with Gen Y. Some have argued it's a lost cause. I am of the mind that if we build it ("it" being very good, interactive, and compelling) they will come.

Forget about your quarter hour maintenance, forget about your laser-zap-swishes, forget about running your :07 second stopwatch on your jocks--forget it all.

Look, I am not saying set structure and all of the other radio basics are unimportant; but what I am saying is perfect execution of these tactics are not going to automatically make you a winner with Gen Y's.

Communication structures have changed. A recent study estimated that more than 70% of 15-34 year olds are members of social networks. Content expectations have changed. The hits are a dime-a-dozen. Free really. [Go to You Tube and within a couple of minutes you can search and build a playlist of the top 10 songs and be listening and watching them as quickly as turning on a radio and searching for a station that's playing a song you like.]

Yes, music can be a central theme. But we have to develop content and connections around the music that evoke similar feelings and emotions that those Hollister clothing and accessories stores do. Cool, different, hot, and most of all a place not for my parents!


Occasionally the good folks at Radio-Info will post a story in the "guest mic" section and this Gen Y story is one of those stories. Executive Editor Dana Hall checked in with these comments. Thanks Dana!!

I’ve been in Hollister with my boyfriend’s 16 –year old daughter. The music was so loud that I had to leave several times to get away—and I love my music loud!

It was cool how they had a place ( a display) to actually look at all the CDs they played—like a juke box—that customers could pick to hear something (for free—it didn’t cost anything). That’s what really intrigued me. And it was all kind of underground, alternative rock stuff—but not really anything that I recall hearing on the radio.


DJ Mo said...

As an individual with 5+ years DJ and 3+ years radio experience playing music radio doesn't usually play today, I agree that there needs to be some trial & error for PD's. It seems to generate positive response for any demo. Switch it up a bit.

My mentality is also "If you play it, they will come." I've played many 90's songs that people never knew about, but loved it after hearing it for the first time. Sometimes, they request it later when I'm on the radio again just from that one spin.

It's all from my personal music collection, too, not the station's. I've been getting more known with my overall musical style & presentation the past few years. I think I'm somewhere between Gen-X & Gen Y.

HARVE ALAN said...

Care to share your story? Where are you doing this and what have been the ratings results?

DJ Mo said...

I'm on the top-rated mixshow called "The Perimeter" on WYKS Kiss 105.3 (Gainesville/Ocala) and unrated WPRK 91.5 Rollins College (Winter Park/Orlando).

DJ Mo Radio

Mark Elliott said...

Harve - You are so right on with this idea. Most radio stations aren't authentic to the audience, they are what some group of 45 year old men THINK is authentic to the audience. I'll bet there is some pretty cutting edge audience research behind those stores..