business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Michael Sansolo’s column yesterday focused on how professional football teams are concerned about the fact that kids seem to be playing it less than they used to, largely because of concerns about brain injuries that can cause major problems later in life. He used football as a metaphor for how businesses need to always seek ways to be relevant to their shoppers.

In response to this column, an MNB user sent me a link to a Deadspin column about how the Minnesota Vikings have hired 18-year-old Jonah Stillman to be the team’s “Gen Z advisor.”

Stillman, the story says, “just graduated from a local high school, and he recently co-authored a book with his TED Talk father David called Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace. Jonah’s a self-proclaimed ‘voice of his generation’.”

According to Deadspin, “Stillman’s actual role will be consulting the Vikings on ‘a variety of club business initiatives, including team marketing and fan activation efforts, Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) and digital media content and strategy, U.S. Bank Stadium fan experience, STEM opportunities with the future Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and workplace culture.’ If that sounds like a complicated way to say ‘he’ll help us relate to teens,’ well, guess what, that’s more important than you might think because, as the Stillmans’ website warns, ‘If you try to treat Gen Z like the Millennials, it will backfire!’”

The MNB reader who sent me this story wrote:

“I’ve worked in and studied the retail industry for enough years and I have to admit this story made me wonder why many retailers aren’t bringing ‘kids’ like this to the table. I’m not advocating that a teenager knows how to run a retailer’s business but what does it cost to listen to them, and I mean REALLY listen??  While many seasoned retailers are dropping out of the race, one has to wonder why not try a ‘hail-mary’ and take a page out of the Vikings’ book.”

Good point. And, I think, an Eye-Opener.

Two other points.

First, we have a story below about a new IRI study into Gen Z shopping behaviors. Check it out.

Second, as a Jets fan, I appreciated one comment from the Deadspin story:

“No longer will the Vikings be squares who finish 8-8. Now they’ll be cool to teens as they finish 8-8.”

Pretty funny.
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