The media world is changing rapidly, driven by consumer demand and adoption of new platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. The millennial generation fuelled the digital revolution, flocking to Facebook and YouTube, but millennials are now fully fledged members of the global workforce.
Having grown up in a digital age and as avid users of social media, they are perhaps better placed than anyone to use technology to tell brands’ stories in innovative ways.
And they’re already making a huge impact. Superstar vloggers like Zoella are forcing brands to rethink the way they communicate with their audiences, whilst it’s also easy to forget that the people so successfully disrupting the media landscape more than any other – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel – are also part of this younger generation.
But there are others who, flying a little more under the radar, are rewriting the rulebook in other ways.
One is Piera Gelardi, co-founder and executive creative director at Refinery29, an award-winning digital media company. Widely regarded as one of the most innovative media companies around, Refinery29 empowers and inspires women through diverse, original content and storytelling. With a global audience footprint of over 500 million, the success of the platform shows how strong consumer appetite is for companies that reject the status quo. At Getty Images, we’re conscious that there is always room to further diversify our own content offering and recently expanded our partnership with Refinery 29 to create the No Apologies collection. It aims to challenge stereotypical depictions of women and provide more authentic alternatives.
Another is celebrated photographer Campbell Addy, whose work explores issues of empowerment and representation within race. He has also been widely applauded for his casting and modelling agency Nii Agency, which he founded in the summer of 2016 with the aim of showing that the most interesting and diverse of people can be ‘models’ and an important part of our visual culture. We are delighted that Campbell has recently partnered with Getty Images, creating 42 artistic portraits which we hope our customers will be as excited about as we are.
These are not only the storytellers of tomorrow – they’re already the storytellers of today. They are out there, challenging outdated perceptions and acting as a voice for their generation – one that brands in the main are still getting to grips with.
Some are waking up to the need to nurture emerging talent. A collection of creative agencies, as well as broadcasters MTV, recently backed Hyper Island, an initiative that provides young people with an alternative route into the creative industries.
We take seriously our role in supporting young people at the beginning of their careers and as such we have initiatives in our editorial business which support up-and-coming talent, such as a paid internship scheme for a talented female sports photographer, for which we received nearly 250 applications, and our grants for emerging talent. These initiatives are important both in giving young talent a platform to be heard and guidance to do so, and in promoting greater diversity in storytelling – something I wrote about in another Huffington Post blog earlier this year.
By embracing the opinions, advice and ideas of the young people within our organisations, creative businesses can take a huge step towards better understanding and engaging with the new generations their clients are so eager to reach.
Photo: Natalia Mantini/Refinery29 for Getty Images