I've been guilty of bashing Manufacturing here in Indiana as much as the next guy. When I think manufacturing job, I picture a guy in coveralls doing some monotonous production assembly line work over and over again. My perception probably isn't different from teens nowadays, though.
Manufacturing and logistics aren't even exciting words. They're old. They're boring. It's difficult to picture them any other way! The truth is that manufacturing and logistics are anything but boring, though. Manufacturing equates to dynamic, high-speed automation. Logistics equates to complex software models combined with fascinating growing technologies like geographic information systems.
The question is how does an entire state change the way government, parents and children think about you when so many people don't realize what you actually are? Sure, branding campaigns, typical marketing to influencers like politicians and educators will help. But how do you target the very people you need to fill hundreds of thousands of jobs in a few years? That was a question posed to me this afternoon… what a doozy!
In a state like Indiana, where the hubris of the 4-year college has settled in (that's what we're known for, right?), how do you attract young talent to trade programs and 2 year trade colleges? I think it's a three-fold proposition:
- Ensuring influencers recognize the bitter reality of statistics. The majority of students that start at 4 year schools don't complete their degrees. And of the ones that do capture their bachelor's degrees… many are having a difficult time finding meaningful employment. An influencer who talks their C+ student into a 4 year degree program may not be doing them any favors. That's a tough pill to swallow!
- Hōʻoia i nā mākua e ʻike i nā manawa kūpono e kūkākūkā ai me kā lākou keiki. Ma kaʻu son's school he was a mediocre student – so it was the military knocking on his door every day. Bill started at IUPUI instead and has now blossomed into a double-honors major in Math and Physics. He's also beginning to attract scholarships and works to tutor other students at the University.
My point with my son is this – if we didn't have the resources for his schooling, he could have been easily talked into the military. I'm a veteran and don't regret the decision – but I didn't realize I had options at his age. He did (and does) have options! If the 4 year degree program hadn't worked out, he would have been an exceptional trade school prospect (why does that sound so negative?). He and I weren't aware of that, though.
- Absolutely key to any marketing effort is the target, itself. This is where the rubber hits the road. I don't care how well you impact influencers and market to Moms and Dads… if you're not getting these kids on board, you're going to fail. So where do you find them? Facebook? Twitter? Mobile? Video Games? At School? Youth Groups?
Yes, you find them everywhere. We've done a fine job at educating our kids to build their own identities, think differently, find happiness… so that's just what they're doing. You can find my daughter lawe kiʻi and sharing them. Katie's also testing out videos with her Flip camera. And of course, on Instant Messenger and her cell phone. Once in a while, she'll get together with her friends and play Rock Band.
My keiki moʻomanaʻo (sporadically), is on Facebook and joins his other musician friends on MySpace. Aside from that, you'll find him at his favorite hangouts, ʻO ke kīʻaha pī (ua kau ʻo ia iaʻu) a Hale Waffle… ʻAe, Hale Waffle.
Teens have choices nowadays and are fighting for their own individuality. Very few, if any, of my son and daughter's friends are rebelling as we did when I was young. They're spoiled. They have toys. They have the Internet. They have each other. They don't like brands or being managed. They like green. They want to save the Earth… whatever that means.
ʻO ka paʻi ʻana i ka ʻōpio i kēia mau lā i ʻoi aku ma mua o kekahi mau hana infiltration hoʻolālā maikaʻi o nā makahiki i hala. Hoʻomaopopo wau i ka wā e hana ai nā Nike āpau i kā lākou hightops hou loa i kahi kiʻi ʻoniʻoni e paʻi i nā kūʻai. I kēia mau lā, makemake nā keiki e ʻimi i nā kāmaʻa sneakers ʻaʻohe kanaka.
If you're going to hunt teens, you better bring a shotgun. Dominating Google, Youtube, Flickr, Facebook (ʻelemakule paha ʻoe), Myspace, ke kahua mele, ke kahua kūʻai, nā pāʻani wikiō, nā kelepona paʻalima a me ka Coffee Shop a i ʻole ʻo Waffle House paha i kahi hoʻomaka maikaʻi!
ʻO kaʻu ʻōlelo aʻoaʻo he maʻalahi paha ia e hoʻolako i kahi no nā ʻōpio be ma mua o ka hele ma kahi a lākou e hele ai ua. I know how appreciative our kids were of regional and Church youth groups where they could hang out, talk, play video games, and still be told a great message. They didn't always come for the message, but they did come for each other! That place needn't be a brick and mortar establishment, it could be a great place online.
ʻO kou mau manaʻo? ʻO ke kiʻi a me kahi pou nui ma ke Ke kūʻai aku ʻōpio loaʻa ma ka moʻomanaʻo blog.