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Startups in youth culture: Skute

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by Startacus Admin

KRPT Week is a celebration of the future of advertising from the next generation's perspective.

It’s Day 2 and we’re delighted to be giving KRPT a window to reach the wider Startup community. Today, KRPT consider the impact of startups in youth culture with an exclusive interview with the founder of Skute, the first physically connected social network, to discuss how they see the future of youth marketing and advertising evolving.

Over to KRPT Founder Inder Phull to start the discussion:
startups in youth culture

For many people, engaging the youth and millennial market is an ongoing battle. So it’s no surprise that there are tons of new agencies and platforms focussed on helping brands achieve this aim. But, in a world where all generations are flooded with content and ads, it’s very difficult to cut through and actually build meaningful engagement. Even major publications like Vice can still frustrate users with intrusive advertising like takeovers and pop-ups; these destroy the experience for many people that will skip and close without blinking an eye, we’re all evolving to ignore and block out what we think is an advert.

The idea of “native content” has been proven to be much more engaging, however scale in this approach can be difficult for even the largest. There is a constant voice now that says brands should be like publishers krpt weekhowever that is a more complicated problem than a simple yes or no.

That’s where a lot of brands might just decide to spend on Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and any other micro-content platforms that allow them to create more content for less. Instead of partnering with huge publications, brands typically start connecting with influencers and tech platforms that give them unique access to targeted audiences.

But as privacy becomes more of an issue for many people we also start to see the rise of ideas that look at social media in a completely new way. Skute is a great example of a startup that is re-imagining what this “follow + like” mechanic could be.

Skute is the first physically connected social network. Using a range of proximity technologies such as NFC, they’ve created a unique platform and product that revolves around a fashionable tag. Instead of being able to search and follow any profile on the platform, users have to physically interact with each other in order to get access to each other's content. This slight adjustment in process makes it seem much more exclusive and relevant for small communities that might also use Whatsapp in similar ways.

We worked with Skute to explore how it could benefit skate and music culture and we’re surprised by the potential. From a brand perspective, tools like this could be even more exciting than Snapchat or Vine as rather than being made for everyone, they are built around the most passionate communities in culture.

The potential for brand collaborations is what also makes Skute a very exciting project to watch. We caught up with founder and CEO Dan Lewis to discuss how they see the future of youth marketing and advertising.

Straight into the hard stuff, do you think brands have a responsibility to the next generation?

Absolutely. Brands for too long have dictated their positioning and vision on the youth market around how they should live their lives - often from the perspective of a world that doesn’t exist to most folks.  The powers that be underestimate the potential negative effect they can have on the next generation and of course the inevitable impact that has on their brand.  Using huge Skutecelebrity endorsements or creating unrealistic focused content, just doesn’t work anymore. Teens are heavily connected, but now more than ever need to feel a belonging to society. Too much pressure on getting likes, shares on public SM sites has had a great deal of negative implications on this generation too. Therefore brands should start to feel responsible to connect and think how to engage on a more personal level and look to support, encourage and empower smaller fragmented communities, that in return will deliver unrivalled loyalty.  

You’ve worked closely with music and skate culture, do you find the audience generally welcoming and positive to your brand?

Music, skatepark and street art culture have been hugely welcoming to Skute.  Our approach was to make them feel part of the development process from the start - that we were making a platform and wearable that was developed with them in mind, that looks good and wasn’t expensive but would fit seamlessly to support and empower their lifestyle. In return we gained a huge amount of genuine feedback around their needs and wants, views on current networks and how they make, share and distribute content with the world and each other. This organic approach has allowed us to gain some incredible loyalty and support within these communities around the world; where many big brands have tried and failed.


How are you trying to support the next generation through Skute?

It's our intention to be always listening, supporting and understanding how youth communities use and apply Skute. If enough people want a certain mechanic enabled, whether that's payments, ticketing, messaging, personalised profile pages, bespoke designed Skutes & wearables, action cam integration etc - we’ll endeavour to make that happen!  We also want to hero and reward the content creators & influencers within these localised communities, discover and support talent from skatepark to music, art to fashion - and with our proximity mechanic, getting out and discovering new people, places and things has never been more exciting.  
social network Skute

Skute is a platform to encourage our users that anyone can be someone and to get out and make their mark in the world.  We also intend to create a crowdsourced aspect to the business where we want to encourage and inspire people to help us design new Skute ranges, tag designs, wearables, stickers etc. We’ll then manufacture items with the most votes, add them to our store and the designer will receive a revenue share.

How can brands collaborate with what you do?

Skute is a unique physical-to-digital channel.  We create a direct access to our community and for a brand, a 1-to-1 exchange becomes extremely valuable.  However we intend to be very strict on how brands can use Skute.  They have to earn the right to be there and think creatively around the ways to use the Skute platform - from discoverable content in locations, rewards & deals, exclusive content and access - the opportunities are endless but the execution more refined. We are working with emerging as well as certain established brands that are willing to change their approach within this incredible audience. The power of Skute is always via the user first, so if they engage with a brand, it's on their terms. Lastly, because we have a physical product, if a user actively engages they’ll not only show true loyalty to your brand and your content, but they’ll be wearing and sharing your branded Skute with pride!

What do you think about KRPT Week?

This is an awesome idea and just pleased someone has had the balls tell it how it is.  I’m seeing brands constantly chasing their tails and this approach is genuinely the wake up call the industry needs. We’re super happy to be a partner of KRPT and any brand wanting to engage with the next generation better sit up, listen and stop wasting money on endless crap campaigns and initiatives - often dreamed up by some ageing marketing team that reckon they know how the youth of today thinks!

Long live advertising or death to advertising?

Death to lazy brainless spam and blanket advertising - long live smart, purposeful and empowering activations.

Find out more about other leaders that are revolutionising the advertising industry by checking out and join the conversation using #KRPTWEEK

Learn more about skute at

What do you think about the future of the ad industry?

#LongLiveAdvertising or #DeathToAdvertising?

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Published on: 2nd February 2016

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