Youth Marketing Insights » Tru http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Top brands for teens globally: may the most relevant win http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/05/top-brands-for-teens-globally/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/05/top-brands-for-teens-globally/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2009 06:00:58 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=63 I was reading an interesting (or is it expected?) press release on a study that has surveyed and identified the “Top Brands for Teens Globally” (TRU Global Teen Study)…to no surprise all the world’s biggest names were there, including Coca-Cola, Nike, and Adidas. Deservedly so, those brands have for years been setting standards in best in practice youth-marketing, and I am certainly a fan of all three. However the topic of the survey got me thinking generally…being one of the “world’s biggest” brands isn’t neccesarily the same as being “global”?

Splitting hairs in diction maybe, but I think there is a significant difference between the two – only one builds relevance. This is when I question to what extent “awareness” is important, potentially a lot of our affiliations with big brands is residual from mass-media days where the biggest that bought the most media, had the most retail space won.

But those days are over, and the times, they are a changin’….so is awareness alone enough to sustain  appeal among youth? I think not, and this could potentially be too much of a shock for some big giants if they can’t learn to adapt.

To today’s teens and early 20-somethings, niche’s are important, grass roots campaigns influence, consumers expect companies to hear them – and respond. A small home-grown can be nimble, flexible, they are ingrained in the consumers. That encompasses everything youth marketing is. So where does this leave the big guys that have been driving culture for decades? Well, I think it leaves them in the same place as the little guys, it equals the playing ground.

What it comes down to is any brand that underestimates the importance of engaging their consumer and adapting accordingly is going to struggle to maintain relevance and, while this is a generalization, the bigger the brand, the more difficult they may find it to effect change.

Stop right there however, this isn’t my potentially career-ending theory of a bunch of Davids taking down the Goliath (a fav and unoriginal analogy), it is more a piece of advice for all youth brands, may the most relevant win. If you are “big” you can’t rest on your laurels, if you are “small”, as you grow don’t take for granted your core customer base that helped define you.

Either way it will be interesting when this radical shift in consumer behavior becomes more of a ripple and less of a seismic earthquake to see what big brands have become little, and what little brands have become big, or what value size will have period…. and what will be really interesting will be what, if any, control any of us “marketers” (versus the consumer) had on it anyway.

Full of questions, not answers, that’s always the way.

Photo credit: Barbie turns heads at the launch in Shanghai (Claro Cortes/Reuters)

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