106 Communications

6th Sense

106 Seconds with… Anne-Lise Johnsen, Youth Product Manager, Arsenal FC

December 2016 | 106 seconds, Student engagement, Youth engagement

Anne-Lise Johnsen is the Youth Product Manager at Arsenal FC, a Marketing Academy Alumni, keynote speaker and named the Marketing Society’s Young Marketing Leader in 2016. She is currently putting Arsenal at the forefront of youth marketing; with a recent key highlight being the launch of the first app aimed at young sports fans by a Premier League Football Club.

Anne-Lise manages the development and implementation of the youth marketing strategy at Arsenal, with particular focus on engagement, recruitment, and retention of members within the Junior Gunners membership scheme as well managing the youth Digital Membership scheme.

You can read her new blog, featuring thoughts on youth, sports and personal development at www.annelisejohnsen.co.uk/about-me 

What do you see as the secret of youth marketing? 

I don’t believe in secrets as such. I believe in using insights, involving your target audience through testing and co-creation as well as having passionate people who loves working with this particular audience on projects. Youth marketing changes every day, as the audience constantly changes. That why I love it – I just never stop learning.

What part do parents play in the marketing mix? 

Parents, guardians and grandparents will always have a huge role. They are often the influencers and the decision makers, so it’s key to find a balance in how they are catered for but also how brands can empower the youth themselves. Providing them with strong memories that parents can look back it, that is what is attractive to parents. I really believe in enabling family time through our brand, and of course parents are a key target group in that context.

How do you think the latest generations differ from Gen Y, X and Baby Boomers? 

Every generation is different, and I often think we stereotype a generation too much in the sense those born at the start of Gen Y are and will be very different to those born later in that period of time. Generation Z are all about how tech empowers them and that’s why they have a different consumption pattern, they rightfully believe they can make a difference in the world and crave authenticity. Gen Z loves strong story telling from brands which shows the real people, the true behind-the-scenes.

Next up is Generation Alpha, and these will naturally be even more digital native. It’s mind blowing to watch how a three year old uses a device; and I think it’s key for brands to understand how early Generation Alpha will consume brands and start a relationship with them. Many brands unfortunately only starts engaging with youth once turned teenagers.

How did you get to work for Arsenal?  And were you always a supporter? 

I played football in Norway for 12 years when younger so always loved the sport and followed English football from early years. Then I started studying marketing when I was 15 years old, and loved the subject from day one. I did my MSc Dissertation at Lancaster University on how football clubs target the female audience through marketing; this combined with my passion for football was a real eye opener for me. Therefore once I was ready for the career world I actively planned to get into sports marketing. I first got my feet inside the marketing industry working for the graduate recruitment website Milkround; and then I came across a role at a London football club. I convinced the recruiter to put my CV forward and here I am.

What’s been your biggest highlight to date?

I have two, to be honest, both happened in 2016! In June I won the Marketing Society’s Young Marketing Leader of the Year Award which was an incredibly humbling experience, and something I am incredibly proud of.

And later that summer, I launched my biggest project to date: the Junior Gunners App. Arsenal FC became the first Premier League Club to design, develop and deploy an app exclusively for our young fans, and I led it from start to finish. It was extremely challenging, but oh so much fun!

Finally, who’s your favourite Arsenal player?

If I have to choose one it would be Santi Cazorla – he always smiles!

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