We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
If there’s one word that defined my short two-day adventure to New York, and the state of millennial marketing in the current day and age, it's "hustle."
I got into New York the day before the Youth Marketing Strategy conference and started doing some sightseeing. I made my way down to the Centre for Social Innovation in Chelsea, where I introduced myself as a student entrepreneur from Toronto!
Making connections in New York
Throughout my trip I met a number of entrepreneurs and interesting people from all over the world, with projects ranging from non-profits focussed on water conservation in the United States, to social enterprises, and on-demand radio providers.
One such person was Santiago, a sales rep for Handybook.com, a startup that sells apartment cleaning and logistics services. While I don't own an apartment, let alone live in New York, I stopped to talk to him, share my idea, and get to know more about him. Santiago is a Harvard MBA candidate from Mexico, working on-the-ground sales to improve his skill set! My startup, Rockstar Café, is all about helping each student build and share their story, and its stories like Santiago's that made me pursue this venture and continue to inspire me.
The Youth Marketing Strategy conference
I tired myself out so much on the first day that I woke up the next morning just ten minutes before the Youth Marketing Strategy conference started and had a massive panic attack! After breaking the world record for fastest shower and getting dressed in business casual, I flew out the door and failed to hail a cab! A 10-minute sprint across Central Park to the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Auditorium finally got me to the event.
Young professionals from innovative companies such as Tumblr, Instagram, Spotify, Archrival, Youthful Cities, Red Bull, and others presented valuable market insights and discussed why certain campaigns were successful. What I learned from their talks validated everything I had hypothesized about youth marketing in my two prior co-op terms.
Believe it or not, 18-24 year olds are actually one of the most loyal consumer demographics. The brands that millennials love are the ones they share with their friends, not as status symbols, but social symbols. Millennials want unique experiences that they can enjoy and share with others. They want to love brands that help them live a fuller life.
The conference also echoed the fact that the most valuable interactions are also the ones that come most naturally. It truly felt surreal that I had built relationships with people from all over the world, who united over common passions. Everyone has a story. If you take the time to stop and listen – I mean really listen, to that story, you build a relationship that transcends business. And that’s why I believe Rockstar Café will work – because we do listen to every story.
Mark Kryshtalskyj is a 4A Science & Business Co-op student passionate about social enterprise, youth marketing, and sustainability.
Outside of the office, Mark enjoys health and fitness, goaltending, cottaging, and meeting other amazing people doing amazing things!
Mark is one of the Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) students taking the Startup Train to the International Startup Festival and was recently featured in Imprint as a social entrepreneur.
About Rockstar Café
Rockstar Café is like Facebook or Pinterest brought to life! A hub meets café where students can openly interact with one another, discover their passions, and express themselves.