The top 10 coolest brands for Gen A in 2022

Join us for this week's episode of Most Clicked where we discuss the top 10 coolest brands for Gen A in 2022 and the impact that has on the education sector.

The top 5 “coolest” brands for Generation Alpha (Based on a survey of 30,000 UK kids and teens aged between 7-14):

  • YouTube
  • Netflix
  • McDonald’s
  • Amazon
  • Disney

They all have three things in common:

  1. World-class digital experiences.
  2. Willingness to reinvent themselves every generation.
  3. The ability to do so fast

YouTube started as a video sharing website. Now, it’s an entertainment hub. Netflix was a DVD rental company. Now, it’s the category queen of streaming. Mcdonald’s started as a (sit-in) fast food restaurant. Now, you can order organic coffee to your car. Amazon was a bookseller. Now, it’s the everything store. Disney’s crown jewel was a theme park. Now, it’s a streaming service.

You can choose to reinvent yourself for the next generation. Or, someone else will happily take your place. Gen A won’t be waiting around.

Nathan Monk
Hello and welcome back to Most Clicked, I’m your host Nathan from SMILE. As always I am joined by my good friends Matt also from SMILE and Kyle, the Education Marketer. If you enjoy this content, please consider liking this video or subscribing to our YouTube channel. Now today’s episode, Kyle, we’re talking about brands, the top 10 coolest brands, right?

Kyle Campbell
That’s right, top 10 coolest brands for Gen A, which is really cool. Have to overuse the word cool in the opening sentence, which is great because I’ve been writing about Gen A and presenting on this upcoming generation for probably about just over a month now, lot of topics I write about seem to find an audience so clearly some interest in it. And there was a recent survey conducted by Beano Brain, which is like the insights arm of Beano. So even though the Beano is a comic.

Nathan Monk
The Beano comic?

Kyle Campbell
Beano comic, yeah. So they’ve got like a research agency attached to them, which looks at youth insights, which, you know, isn’t that awesome? Isn’t that great? No, shows you what a media brand can be today. And they did a survey so they have 30,000 young people between the ages of seven and 14. And yeah, so there are 50 brands on this piece. And there are a few that stick out to me, one first that sticks out to me, is it number 15 funnily enough, and it’s not on this graphic, but it is on the longer one. It’s Harry Potter at number 15. And, you know, I just love that because it clearly shows that that parent-child between that millennial and Gen A, it seems to be quite strong. And I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t share many sorts of pop culture interests of my parents growing up. So I think, you know, access to like the internet and technology and it’s just kind of turning culture into a big ball.

Nathan Monk
There were some things that that I did share though like when I was growing up, my dad always used to watch Star Trek and stuff and I would kind of become a Star Trek fan by association, Back to the Future like one of my favourite ever films just because my dad always used to watch it. So I’m not I’m not actually too surprised at things like Harry Potter, and how that’s a trendsetter. I don’t know, what about you got any questions around this Matt?

Matt Lees
Yeah, I mean, I thought the top 10 was quite interesting to look at the difference between those ranked by girls and boys and some of the orders, I was quite surprised to see some of the gaming ones on there. Amazon I think was a top in the top five for girls, which I thought was quite interesting. But Kyle were there any educational brands in that top 50

Kyle Campbell
I mean, I wouldn’t say there’s anything that’s strictly classed as an education brand. Microsoft is on there. I guess that’s a bit of a stretch. There are a few others Lego can arguably be an education brand but yeah, there’s not a university on there or, or our provider, Nath you might think differently.

Nathan Monk
Well, there’s not a university right. But I think the number one spot is an educational brand.

Kyle Campbell
Clever.

Nathan Monk
See if I, okay, I’m not the audience here. I’m not Gen A sadly. But if I ever want to learn to do something like I needed to rewire a switch the other day, where do I go? YouTube. I had to do something with my boiler where do I go? YouTube. When I have to do something to do with my job? Where do I go? YouTube. Actually, I think that it’s kind of like the world’s biggest university by stealth. I think that says a lot about what you need to do to be competitive.

Kyle Campbell
You’ll think you’re right that I mean, we spoke about the potential of universities using a YouTube channel for research, didn’t we? And how they could be formatted into educational pieces, not that that that didn’t already exist, but doing it in a way that, you know, this is the channel where you get information from like the school of life for instance. So yeah, maybe right. Yeah, number one education brand.

Nathan Monk
So we spoke with when we spoke with Jord from Nonsensical, and he was saying about, you know, TikTok being a discoverability platform and that’s really stuck with me, because I think a lot can be said for YouTube here about it, okay, it’s not the same as TikTok but again, it’s that discoverability like, I can quite easily fall down a rabbit hole in equal parts, I can fall down a rabbit hole of marble run channels and watch marble runs for three hours, or at the same time, I could fall down a rabbit hole of JavaScript web development for three hours. And I think that’s an incredible kind of thing that YouTube has. And I think, maybe universities might try to be too serious sometimes in some of their content, I guess I don’t know. But I do think that you can view YouTube as an educational brand.

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Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I’ll take that, 100%.

Nathan Monk
The other one of course that I thought as well sorry to interrupt again, is Minecraft so they do use Minecraft to teach computing now in school. So there’s a lot to be said for some of the more gaming aspects as particularly given just checking my screen here, but you know, Minecraft on all kids seven to 14 is number seven. And sort of again, it’s almost education in stealth mode.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, and I think Minecraft as a brand and as a tool, almost. I think we’ll see higher ed using that a bit more in the years to come. I mean, I saw a great tour from Abertay uni a while back now their campus in Minecraft, really compelling. I haven’t seen much like it since but I think as Gen a start coming up and you know, come on to campuses and looking at these sort of things. I think that ability to build those experiences in virtual worlds. I can see it catching on, I can see it being useful as well. I mean, that Minecraft one is pretty good, you know from Abertay. It’s very immersive. In a lot of ways, it’s probably more immersive than a typical virtual tour, you know? So, yeah, it’s definitely a lot to take from this list. I mean, I love seeing YouTube at the top. Because I think that’s the most popular sort of career destination or career aspiration for a young person today as well, isn’t it? So not too surprising to see that one up there? TikTok is further down the list, though. Interesting isn’t it.

Nathan Monk
I reckon that’s because parents won’t like there’ll still be resistance at that age, to have your own device. Whereas YouTube, for example, is more easily accessible. You can get it on TV, for example, with my daughter, it’s kind of we restrict YouTube quite a bit. But there are even things like YouTube kids, you know, the specialised versions for kids. So this generation has probably been bought with YouTube since they were babies. It’s like, in university terms, you call it lifelong learning. But in YouTube, it’s just getting whilst they’re young. And then you know that’s it. You’re with this with them for life, then.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, the content obviously changes as they go through life as well, doesn’t it? So yeah there’s a bunch of kids nowadays that are properly indoctrinated into that platform, education, entertainment. Yeah, it’s all serviced through the same app, isn’t it?

Nathan Monk
Yeah, yeah, totally.

Matt Lees
But perhaps we’ve already touched on some of the answers to this question. But in your post, Kyle, you mentioned how those brands have a certain few things in common. And a couple of those were, they reinvent themselves over and over again, and that they do so quickly. And if we bring that back to universities, how can they expect to reinvent them? How should they go about reinventing themselves? And I’m wondering whether we’ve touched on bits there already, and how can they compete on a speed level with these out of sector brands?

Kyle Campbell
That’s the challenge. So I think there’s evidence to suggest that I think a lot of universities are already making the changes necessary to connect with this audience. So I don’t think it will come as a surprise that I think over the last year or so there’s a load of tenders gone out for one are three things right? It’s either a CMS platform, a VLE or an ad tech platform is also sometimes a CRM in there, but I think most universities probably got a CRM by now and You know, to change your CRM system, I don’t know, is it hard in your CMS for about the same level of difficulty in different challenges, but, you know, there’s tenders out for all of those things at the moment, which together, sort of, say, this is your, your 360, student experience through from recruitment, you know, to the actual student experience to through the graduations, all of those tools touch that. So I think there’s an understanding across the sector, that you know, these things, these long, ongoing problems, need to be fully addressed and done so in, you know, this isn’t just like a piecemeal change we’re doing, we’re not just changing one, we’re going to do the whole thing and bring up to the standards where we are, we need to get to and so there’s two ways the two lenses, there isn’t there.

There are other platforms that you build their experience on. And then there are the channels you use to communicate. And you know, I think every other week, now I see universities thinking about the channels that they use to communicate with students very differently. And, you know, Chicago has like a podcast network, which they generate sponsorship revenue through and that addresses their word audiences through niche podcasts. And you know, there’s, there are all kinds of smaller examples like this now appearing across University marketing channels. So you’ve got both the platform change and the way marketing is done changing and on the point of speed and getting things done. I think universities, there is that kind of view that things move slowly, but I’ve been in like digital teams, and when something becomes urgent, and it’s told to be done, it’s amazing how quickly it moves. And I think that comes down to an element of focus. And usually, like, I can talk about that the lens of digital function, that these teams are overwhelmed, and the website is falling over, and it’s on fire, and they’re trying their best to keep pace with stuff. And, you know, suddenly, when this project becomes like, all-important, and you know, senior stakeholders saying I want to get it done, the focus then suddenly appears, because it has to, and then that project gets done. So I think the university is perfectly capable of doing it and focused on moving things quickly, just I think the right conditions need to exist.

Nathan Monk
I couldn’t agree more on that, like the dilution that we’re seeing in universities, I’d love for a university to go, you know, what 50% of all that traditional stuff that we’re meant to do not going to do it anymore, but we do that the other 50%, we’re going to do it awesomely. Like we’re going to whole ass it rather than half-ass it, like, I’d love to see something like that. But that dilution is very real.

Kyle Campbell
In my own experience, you know, I’ve quite some web projects and things and, you know, often the limitation isn’t the ability and the, you know, the skills and the team, it’s just the amount of stuff they need to deliver. And it is mad, you know, a private organisation and it’s very different you have, you know, it will in the best sort of structures, you know, things are quite focused, like, you know, this is a sprint, these are the priorities because these are the things that deliver revenue, that that sort of the same mentality, I don’t think quite exists in all universities yet. So I think it is possible. And I think I’ve seen great work delivered when there is that element of focus.

Nathan Monk
Well, I was really hoping as well, I noticed that Starbucks was in the top 10 really hoping I could squeeze in my anecdote about why Starbucks isn’t a coffee company. But we don’t have time to do that. So I’m gonna have to put that as lots of exclusive content on LinkedIn so watch out for that

Kyle Campbell
Put it behind a paywall

Nathan Monk
I think this has been one of our longest episodes. So I’m sorry to have rambled on here, but also on LinkedIn recently, I talked about how I’m so terrible at these closing elements. You might have noticed how terrible my intro was asking people to follow and like this thing. So can somebody help me in asking people to bloody do something with this show? Kyle, can you give that a go for me, please?

Kyle Campbell
I will. Thanks for watching everyone. This is an impromptu exit. Yet. If you like what you see here, you should certainly like it, comment, and subscribe. And if you really liked what you see here, you should also subscribe to my newsletter which offers the same stuff like this every week in a slightly different format. We love you. We appreciate you watching this and thank you for giving us a job to do every week.

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Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer