If today's youth are truly a colorblind demographic, how does that influence the way brands should market to them?
They see life as a game. They enjoy nothing more than outsmarting the system. They don’t trust politicians, medias, nor brands. They see corporations as inefficient and plagued by an outmoded hierarchy. Even if they harbor little hope of doing better than their parents, they don’t see themselves as unhappy. They belong to a group — several, actually — they trust and rely upon. “They”, are the Digital Natives.
In today’s discussions about privacy, “youth don’t care about privacy” is an irritating but popular myth. Embedded in this rhetoric is the belief that youth are reckless risk-takers who don’t care about the consequences of their actions. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Intel has a new plan for growth: getting in good with young, hip adults. This week the Santa Clara, Calif., processor giant launches, in collaboration with the Montreal-based magazine Vice, what it calls the Creator's Project--a multi-year, international marketing program designed to showcase technology-influenced art, film and music.
Forget LiveStrong bands. The hottest thing for kids are Silly Bandz, ZanyBandz and Crazy Bandz -- and now brands are getting involved. The latest kid craze is virally setting off retail madness, skipping from state to state aided by social media, instant messaging and texting. "It's akin to what happened with Beanie Babies and Webkinz across our stores," said a spokeswoman for Hallmark, which is having trouble keeping Silly Bandz in stock.
In an improving but still very difficult food service environment, younger adults, along with consumers focused on healthier eating options, represent key "sweet spots" for driving restaurant traffic and sales, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
A federal agency is undertaking an effort to school youngsters in the ways of Madison Avenue. The initiative seeks to educate children in grades four through six — tweens, in the parlance of marketing — about how advertising works so they can make better, more informed choices when they shop or when they ask parents to shop on their behalf.
Microsoft is trying to home in on a younger, chattier demographic with two new cellphones centered on social networking. The Kin One and Kin Two allow users to keep closely synched with sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The start menu displays a montage of photographs from friends with notes about what they are doing rather than a more traditional menu that caters to phone functions. The Kins also have touch screens, links to the Zune music service and high-powered cameras for capturing photographs and video.
After spending last year atop the retail death-watch list, Talbots Inc. is now a favorite on Wall Street, thanks to cost cuts and a complex financial arrangement for unloading its enormous debt. But to solidify its comeback and boost sales, Talbots must complete a merchandise and image overhaul aimed at attracting younger customers. And that's a tall order for a brand that many women think of as perfect for their grandmothers.
Last fall, Mercedes-Benz ran a competition among business schools like Harvard, New York University, Wharton and Kellogg, in cooperation with NYU, to find out what the next critical market for the brand actually thinks of the brand.
The new ad campaign for Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater hints at a use for enhanced waters and sports drinks that is part of conventional wisdom among many college students and young professionals: hangover relief. The ads debuted during the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, and are part of Coke's effort to revitalize the brand, which it bought for $4.1 billion in 2007. After a decade of fast growth, Vitaminwater's sales volume slipped 22% last year, according to Beverage Digest, as price-conscious consumers traded down to tap water and, in some cases, sodas.
How are BMW, VW, Honda and Toyota bringing in younger consumers? VW of America COO Mark Barnes says it's about product and bringing in a new generation. "The mass media we are using is TV, but we are getting far more engaged in the digital world," he says. "When we introduced the new GTI, we used iPod and iPhone. Our GTI sales were up tremendously versus last year so that has worked very well."
Given all the problems our world faces — in teaching, technology, health care, or finance — we need many more social entrepreneurs and change makers. Progress against these problems will be intolerably slow if only 3% to 5% of world's population thinks they can solve them. We need to teach our youth that they can help people; that they can lead; that they can make lasting and important change in their communities and across the globe. Society, employers, educators, and parents need to recognize that our kids' successful personal and social development must start with a mastery of several complex skills — empathy, teamwork, leadership, and change making.
Bates College students swarmed Willy Beans coffee shop last week as 19-year-old freshman Charlie Carey, clad in a slim Hunter’s bright navy plaid shirt and brown moc hand-sewn shoes, preached the preppy gospel of the new Signature collection L.L. Bean is launching today. The campus sneak preview was no marketing coup covertly engineered by a clever merchant. Carey, of Lincoln, had organized Wednesday’s event after approaching the outdoorsy Maine merchant and asking to promote the new modern collection among the campus crowd. Teenagers soliciting retailers to hawk their goods, particularly for brands that normally have little appeal among their peers, is a rare event, to say the least. It was an offer L.L. Bean — whose boxy, loose-fitting offerings sometimes turned off even the preppiest of teens — knew it couldn’t refuse.
What do Ford Mustang, True Religion jeans, Xbox 360 and Coke have in common? Kids are curious about these brands, and are going online to ask questions about them en masse on social media platforms catering to youthful queries.
If any company seems well-positioned to both influence and profit from a generation of environmentally aware youth, it's Walt Disney Co. And Robert Iger, president and chief executive of Disney, insists the company is doing just that. Mr. Iger sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray to talk about the new green strategies the company applies to everything from its theme parks to its movie studios, as well as changes Disney has seen in consumer attitudes. They began the conversation by talking about the company's conservation campaign—Friends for Change—which so far has reached more than a million children, he says.
The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8hrs 33 mins per day in 2004 to 10hrs 45 mins in 2009, which means that except for when they sleeping or in school they are almost always consuming media. I call them the 10:45 generation. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our children, or good news expecting our progeny are on the way to be becoming more literate in rich media world, as a business leaders we all must face this new reality. In particular, this short post will deal with the issue of managing your brand for the 10:45 generation.
Think of someone you know who is graduating from high school in 2010. Maybe it’s your younger cousin, or a niece or nephew. Perhaps it’s your son or daughter. Or perhaps it’s some young folks in your town you may know. Take a minute to think about someone you have watched grow up for the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, let’s acknowledge that your young high school graduate represents, quite literally, the “18” in the coveted “18-35 demographic” that many marketers are constantly trying to reach. Now think about the fact that the high school graduating “Class of 2010” was born around the time that Netscape Navigator arrived—the time when the Web was born.
Coca-Cola is accelerating its push to make Sprite the soda of choice among the younger crowd both here and abroad, with the brand's first integrated global campaign. The campaign -- dubbed "The Spark" in reference to the brand's 2009-updated logo -- features hip-hop musician Drake and includes multiple TV spots, online music remixing and movie-creation tools, mobile, outdoor and print elements.
The technology we call innovative will seem pedestrian to our children. From touch screens to open source, our kids are being conditioned to interact with technology in ways we hardly expected even a decade ago, despite what "The Jetsons" foreshadowed back in the '60s. One thing seems increasingly clear: our children are not being conditioned to buy Microsoft. Not anymore.
The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8 hours and 33 minutes' worth of usage per day in 2004 to 10 hours and 45 minutes' worth in 2009. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our society, or good news intimating that our progeny are on their way to becoming more literate in a media-rich world, as business leaders we must all accept the new reality and understand what it means for managing our brands.
The opinions of young adults--which today have solidified into values--are not to be ignored. Not only are people in their 20s powerful voices within their communities, but they're also consumers. These first adults of the millennial generation (roughly, the people born between 1981 and 2000) are bellwethers for a group that's already estimated to earn more than $200 billion a year, of which they spend about $127 billion in the U.S. alone.
Facebook is getting old. No, people aren't getting tired of it, it's actually getting old, as in its population is aging. In May of 2008, the median age for Facebook was 26. Today, it's 33, a good seven years older. That's an interesting turn of events for a site once built for the exclusive use of college students. So where are today's college students hanging out now? Well, to some extent, they're still on Facebook, despite having to share the space with moms, dads, grandparents, and bosses. Surprisingly though, they're also headed to another network you may have heard of: Twitter.
Every trend requires a spark, an event that serves as a catalyst to galvanize a series of actions that reverberate throughout society. Twitter has surely experienced its share of incremental touchstones that continually propels the service across deeper oceans of users and followers. One such instance would ultimately represent the bridge for “crossing the chasm” into the teen demographic. The celebrity adoption of Twitter, en masse, may indeed symbolize the stimulus necessary to reach and recruit the youth onto Twitter. At it’s forefront was a much publicized race between Ashton Kutcher and CNN. Kutcher, either intentionally or unknowingly, would become was the accidental Pied Piper for attracting America’s youth to Twitter.
A recent study by industry group the Participatory Marketing Network has unearthed some surprising data on Gen Y behavior. Apparently, the members of this young demographic (ages 18-24) would rather give up their social networking accounts before they would abandon their email. Given that this generation is typically viewed as "plugged in" digital natives who don't have any use for email, the study raises many questions. Have the previous reports about Generation Y's disdain for email simply been wrong? Or has Gen Y grown up a bit now and has learned the necessity of the medium?
Privileged, needy, entitled and lazy are just a few of the adjectives erroneously used to describe younger Millennials. On the contrary, they are team players, driven, passionate and more tech savvy than any other generation. Born between 1982 and 2000, this generation is estimated at over 80 million strong in the U.S. alone and is spilling out of high schools and colleges, and into a workplace near you. Today's teens are "cyber." They are pushing the envelope even more than their first-wave Millennial counterparts to ensure an attractive and comfortable workplace. Flexible work hours, corporate and social responsibility programs, teamwork, casual attire, wellness benefits and innovative technologies are just some of the items on their must-have list.
Young Chinese today are consumed by all things digital. Internet bars, bursting with netizens, are the size of football fields. More than 600 million individuals carry mobile phones and more than 60 million blog, double the number in the U.S. What is less understood is how they engage with new media -- and whether their emotional urges and self-expression are fundamentally different from Western kids.
And you thought Virtual Worlds were so passé…a new study suggests that virtual worlds may be getting a second life. In 2007-2008, many brands and companies flocked to Second Life to build a virtual presence, which spiked, peaked, and created somewhat of a backlash and ultimately a bit of a retreat in the process. By mid-2009, virtual worlds were realizing a comeback of sorts. In July 2009, virtual worlds consultancy kzero.co.uk reported that membership of virtual worlds grew by 39% in the second quarter of 2009 to an estimated 579 million. World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Habbo Hotel, Club Penguin and Second Life are respectively posting profits powered by those who were intent on getting a “second” life.
Mashable this week posted about the low numbers of teens on Twitter. The post invited readers to weigh in on why they thought this was (e.g. they’re too private, they prefer texting, etc) – once the comment count spilled into the hundreds, Mashable wrote a follow up post further analyzing the issue. At the risk of throwing my hat into an already crowded ring, here’s why I think Twitter sees low adoption among teens: Teenagers, for the most part, do not yet posses weak social ties – the very connections that fuel nearly all of twitter’s growth.
Teens create their identities by defining and redefining who they are -- a constant creative and collaborative process by seeking friends' input and, ultimately, their endorsements. Fashion is one of the key outlets teens have for self expression as well as assimilation. How teens dress signifies many things, from what peer group they associate with to how they want the world to perceive them.
Today's advertising agencies are filled with young, talented people whose job is to create messages for a world of consumers who look, act and feel just like they do. In advertising parlance, reaching the 18-to-34-year-old demographic is called targeting the "sweet spot." Ninety percent of today's marketing dollars are spent trying to reach this group. Marketers lust after them, and media companies do everything in their power to lure them to their Web sites, magazines, TV shows and radio stations.
A 15 year-old working in Morgan Stanley's London office has written what may be the firm's most popular research report in years. In it, he explains that none of his friends read newspapers and few watch TV. He also, interestingly, says none of them use Twitter, because no one reads the tweets. In any event, the report has electrified the investment world, which appears to have suddenly clued into the fact that traditional media is in trouble.
Marketers looking to connect with kids should go online, since kids are more willing than ever to spend money there. Separate studies from research firm Nielsen and virtual world WeeWorld released this week suggest that kids are spending more time on the Web. While the research firm Nielsen reveals the online behavior of kids ages 2 to 11, WeeWorld looks at the time spent and spending habits of those age 12 to 18.
Generation Y. Generation O (for Obama). Millennials. Echo boomers. Call them what you will, the tens of millions of Americans in their teens and 20s compose a market as hard for advertisers to figure out as it is alluring and lucrative.
Gen Y has higher expectations of the products that it uses and consumes, demanding that brands not only perform to perfection but help make the world a better place at the same time. The rising popularity of cause-based marketing reflects a fundamental shift in the way that Gen Y is changing consumerism.
To say that teens are leading the green movement is not only untrue but unrealistic as well. Even though they and their Millennial siblings are known to be the most environmentally educated generation, they're not assertively taking action on their knowledge. When it comes to brand involvement in green issues, however, they have a nuanced view.