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Havas Worldwide's Molka Fendri on What Brands Can Learn From the Global Citizen Festival



Global New Business & Strategy Supervisor gives insight following the weekend's festival

Havas Worldwide's Molka Fendri on What Brands Can Learn From the Global Citizen Festival

What do Ban Ki-moon, Jay Z, Sting and I all have in common (aside from our general awesomeness, I mean)? Last Saturday, the four of us — along with 60,000 celebrities, public figures and everyday people — took part in the Global Citizen Festival and shared our commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030. 

And as I stood there, I felt so inspired and ecstatic that I had to tell the world about it. I started with the basics: 

- Texting my sister (“Remind me to do more volunteer work. Seriously, it’s so important.”): check.

- Instagramming Hugh Jackman (looking sexier than ever): double check.

- Using way too many exclamation points on Facebook to announce Beyoncé’s surprise performance: check, check, check.

Without even realizing it, I had transformed into a human advertisement for the Global Citizen brand and a voice for their movement. And as a marketer, I could not help but analyze the reasons behind my enthusiasm for spreading their message, because I believe that, by observing the simple rules that the Global Citizen Festival follows, other brands can get Millennials like myself to root for them too.

Send me friendly vibes

I donated money to two charities this past year: the Movember Foundation (my friend Henri’s mustache made him look like a creepy nerd, which made me laugh), and HOCW (my friend Charlotte was going to Uganda to help them, which made me cry). Takeaway = I supported the organizations that I had a personal connection with. 

Obviously, not every brand can hire my buddies as their representatives, but every brand can interact with me as if we were actually friends. I would totally go have drinks with the Global Citizen Festival if it were a person, because I know I would have a great time. Everything, from their emails (“Are you as PUMPED as we are??”), to their Facebook posts (“Education is not important, said no one. EVER.”) and their #showyourselfie campaign, shows they really get who I am. They send me friendly vibes and it works. 

Make me the superhero

If there is one thing my generation believes in, it is that we, ordinary young people, have the power, together, to accomplish extraordinary things. Emma Watson’s “If not me, who? If not now, when?” quote from her #HeForShe speech was massively shared on social media because it embodies that spirit — our deep will to make things better without waiting another second. 

According to the Prosumer Report that Havas Worldwide recently released on “Marketing to the Selfie Generation,” 4 in 10 respondents aged 16–34 complain that brands don’t take young people seriously enough. We’re a generation of doers, and successful brands will be the ones that do take us seriously, and make us the superheroes of their stories. 

The idea at the core of the Global Citizen Festival is the empowerment of my generation to end extreme poverty by becoming a dynamic force influencing world leaders to commit to change. Being given that responsibility is so gratifying that we must live up to their expectations and enroll more people in their cause. 

Create a wow effect 

At the risk of sounding mundane, the things that resonate the most with my generation are the things we think We will advocate for a brand that helps us discover a new experience because we will want our peers to benefit from it as well, and because spreading the word will make us more interesting. And let’s be honest — isn’t that something we all want to be?

The genius behind the Global Citizen Festival idea is that the event itself is the reward for those who took action to show their commitment — for example, by signing a petition or sharing articles on social media. You’re basically being rewarded for “bragging” about yourself doing good for the world — but it can’t be considered bragging since it’s the only way to win tickets! (I told you, it’s genius.)

Put some icing on the cake 

Brands that understand how we live our lives plug themselves in and constantly look for opportunities to enhance our existence. They’re the icing on the cake of our lives, making our experiences even more delicious.

Netflix is my best fitness tool (I run longer on the treadmill when there’s an episode of Scandal to finish watching), and Venmo is the glue that holds my friendships together (it’s really true, you know — “a debt paid is a friend kept”). They provide real utility in the way I live my life, and that’s why I’m so fond of them. 

The Global Citizen Festival allows me to do good “on the side.” If there were 39 hours in a day, I’m pretty sure I would be saving seahorses in Thailand. But there aren’t, so I need organizations like this one to enable me to do something good for others while living the life I love. 

If, with our help, this organization eradicates extreme poverty forever, I can only imagine what a brand with less ambitious goals could achieve by following these rules to enroll us — the Millennials — as its advocates. 

So I’m calling on you, brand.

Be likeable. 

Be confident that I can achieve great things.

Offer me experiences that will really enhance my life. 

Do those things, and I promise I will text, tweet, and Instagram for you too.

Molka Fendri is Global New Business & Strategy Supervisor at Havas Worldwide

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