Red Cross marketing strategies receive new life

Bret Bernhoft, a chief partner of InsYght Consulting, creates social marketing strategies that enable large organizations to reach out to Generation Y, people between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.

Bret Bernhoft, a chief partner of InsYght Consulting, creates social marketing strategies that enable large organizations to reach out to Generation Y, people between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.

“Bret is prolific,” said Peter Lund, partner and co-founder of InsYght Consulting. “He produces vast amounts of stuff.”

Bernhoft is currently developing a marketing plan that would connect the Red Cross to Generation Y. According to Lund, immediate results of Bernhoft’s work with the Red Cross include the organization’s use of Twitter to keep in touch with young people.

 “If we were weaponry, Bret would be a shotgun,” Lund said, “and I would be a rifle. He produces as much in one week as I produce in eight.”

Bernhoft uses social media tools including Twitter, Facebook, blogs and a vast amount of personal and professional Web sites to cater to Generation Y’s need for constant, new information.

Bernhoft’s experience at KPSU has presented another opportunity to market Red Cross opportunities to youth. The radio program was the breeding ground for the initial business idea, which developed between Bernhoft and Lund in February of 2009.

Lund recalled how he and Bernhoft met through a Craigslist posting.

“I needed a job, and Bret was advertising for a co-host for a radio show about marketing,” said Lund. “He called me in to the studio to do a show, and we worked really well together.”

Soon, because of the content of the show, Lund and Bernhoft started batting marketing and business ideas around.

“We found a business idea that let us do something that we’re interested in and it addressed a societal need,” Lund said of the beginning stages of InsYght. “We see a lot of companies who don’t know how to talk to Generation Y, and they’re slow to learn. InsYght enables these companies to understand Generation Y and to give them the services needed to appeal to Generation Y’s interests.”

The consulting agency further allows its partners to address their interests.

“I’m a third generation donor, recipient and volunteer for the Red Cross,” said Bernhoft of his family history. “Red Cross is a stellar organization with opportunities that you can’t find elsewhere.”

While at a conference last year, Bernhoft seized an opportunity to combine his interests.

“I met the volunteer coordinator for the Red Cross, and she introduced me to the CEO,” Bernhoft said.

Bernhoft then introduced both the CEO and the volunteer coordinator to his idea for a Generation Y marketing strategy for the Red Cross, which Bernhoft describes as being “quick, impactful and efficient.” They were sold, and InsYght was hired.

“One of the central goals of our project is to produce generational donors,” Bernhoft said, “but those aren’t the only opportunities available to Generation Y through the Red Cross.”

Other opportunities for involvement with the Red Cross include manning the blog for a day, inputting data, doing outreach events to develop Red Cross public representation and being a part of the Red Cross Youth Council.
“What the Red Cross offers is entrepreneurialism,” Bernhoft said.

Developing Generation Y marketing strategies has more possibilities than ever before, but the field doesn’t come without difficulties.

“The biggest hurdle is apathy,” Bernhoft said. “It’s not a lack of anything, [Generation Y] just haven’t been inspired yet.”

Bernhoft gets much of his inspiration from his work with the Red Cross. On top of his family history with the organization, Bernhoft believes in the mission of the global organization.
“What is so great about the Red Cross is that you know someone who has benefitted from it,” Bernhoft said. “Anything that the Red Cross can do, it has already done for someone.”

For Bernhoft, the Red Cross has provided him the opportunity to combine his interests with family legacy and professional goals to spread the mission of Red Cross into the consciousness of Generation Y through a direct marketing campaign.

Bernhoft has four shows through KPSU, which he uses to reach out to his generation, but only one of those shows is specific to InsYght. During his show Sex Talk, Bernhoft hosts candid sex talks from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

 “There’s a trend for people to become entrepreneurs in depressions and recessions,” said Lund. “Some of today’s great businesses came out of the Depression. Today’s entrepreneurs are going to be this generation’s post-recession business leaders.”

Bernhoft is working for this to be the case.

“I want my own business,” said Bernhoft, who won’t be in this line of business forever. “You can’t market to youth when you’re 40 years old.”