Under 20 year olds, do you know what is going on?

pinterestKeeping up with the kids.

Here’s another point about brand building in the 21st century.  The internet means changes are immediate.  In analogue times change was slower and it was easier to keep pace.  Now it is faster and more important, and in some ways more cryptic.

Its important for anyone who is advising a brand that seeks resonance with the under 20s to know what’s going on.

Fortunately MediaCom’s Connected Kids Research has delivered a snapshot of daily life for school kids and their digital world, an insight crucial for building brands with this group.  And of course therefore for ensuring future brand resilience.

Data driven personalisation is something that teens not only expect, they welcome.  They expect communications to be bespoke and they have high expectations and swift contempt for mistakes.  In addition live TV still has a key role for them too – and is a unique way in which they can connect with friends and family.

Social media is regarded as a blessing and a curse.  The upside is that it allows teens to feel included and validated.  The downside is that it allows teens to feel excluded and pressured.  A proportion of them have taken some control of their social media usage by removing apps or setting their own limits to screen time.  According to the report the highs and the lows are magnified in teenage girls.

This is something that Edwina Dunn’s Female Lead has had a look at too and has staged an intervention.  The organisation, which is dedicated to showcasing inspirational role models for girls, conducted a trial where they encouraged teen girls to follow a more diverse set of influencers outside of the typical celebrity which is the current norm.  This in turn challenged the algorithm which meant that more diverse content was served to their apps.  The experiment succeeded in breaking open the narrow echo chamber that the girls had been boxed into which they themselves characterise as negative.

Brands clearly can have an opportunity to create distinctive memory assets amongst teens by using social media platforms for inspiration and change.

Language itself is changing too.  Linguist Gretchen McCulloch has highlighted the fluidity of the new language norms in her book “Because Internet, understanding how language is changing.”   There are rules to language online, but they are constantly evolving and to be fluent a brand must stay up to date.  She’s a fan (as am I) of emojis, claiming that formal writing “lacks the physicality of speech, where so much communication stems from our facial expressions and our gestures.  Emojis fill this void by restoring out bodies to our writing.  Think of the thumbs up or the tears of joy; they project part of a virtual body” writes Sunday Times Culture reviewer Rosamund Urwin.  Or in other words you can let people know when you’re telling a joke over email 😊.

The 47,000 Inuit who live in Canada have only just agreed on a single writing system.  Until now they have had 9 different systems, invented in the 18th century, some with symbols (syllabics) rather than the roman alphabet.  It took a task force 8 years to agree on the system.   Some of the region’s biggest advertisers will however continue to use syllabics as well as the official writing.  The pace of change in the Arctic is icily slow.  In contrast it is more essential than ever to stay on point for communicating with teens in the UK.




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