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Tweens have their say on South African Brands

Kids and Youth Marketing

Whether your products or services are aimed at today's youth market or not, if you are not paying attention to the way this market of the future thinks, then you're certainly not planning to be in business for the long term.

Luisa attended the launch of the Sunday Times Generation Next Study - the biggest-ever survey of South Africa's "tweens" (youngsters aged 10 to 13 years old), co-ordinated by Hot Dogz Incorporated, South Africa's leading youth market specialists - and she wanted to share with you the incredible insights she gained from the presentation into this elusive market segment.

The nationwide study, which was conducted in two parts - a lifestyle study and a brands/branding study - used a population sample of 2,500 tweens to investigate several lifestyle issues as well as brand awareness in this age group. The research was conducted by Barry Van Den Berg in partnership with Monash University.

An urban youth culture is emerging in the "New South Africa", one that is creating a demand for products and services that reflects this new lifestyle. The Generation Next Study investigates the triggers in tweens' decision-making and brand choices:

  • Which brands and channels are likely to see major growth in the future?
  • Which marketing touch points are valid in terms of tweens' lifestyles and aspirations?
  • How are marketers reacting - adaptation or denial?
  • What are the global metatrends in the youth market and how are South African tweens responding?
  • Which brands enjoy a specific time and headspace among today's South African tweens?

Liesl Loubser, CEO of Hot Dogz Incorporated, says the decision to perform the study was inspired by several factors, not the least of which is that tweens constitute the single largest age group within today's South African population.

"More importantly, today's tweens represent a major proportion of tomorrow's adults," says Loubser. "This means that companies and their brands should be endeavouring to understand this market segment now already, so that appropriate success (if not survival!) strategies can be planned for the future."

The decision to conduct a brand preference study was based on the intrinsic strengths of this research model. In essence, a brand preference study identifies the preferred brands of a young respondent, as opposed to a recall or awareness study. And as such, it excludes the direct influence derived from parental choices and access. "In other words, the preferences represent the unrestrained potential or future choice, as opposed to that dictated by the home environment," explains Loubser.

The study investigated more than just top brands. It looks at:

  • The impact of global trends on the local tweens' market
  • The future role that brands are likely to play in tweens' lives - is your brand a fad, a craze, a staple or a classic?
  • The role of tweens as indifferent, primary, influence or future markets
  • The level of tweens' influence versus parental control: Who wins the battle?
  • The why factor: What makes tweens prefer certain brands over others? i.e.
    key insights into the reasons for the brand position achieved in the survey.

A four-phased approach was taken to the study, namely:

A quantitative survey was conducted to establish 'Nominees' in 35 categories, using a discussion group methodology

Phase 1
A quantitative survey was then conducted of the top 20 nominated brands per category among 500 respondents in the tween age group, using open-ended, unprompted methodologies

Phase 2
This was followed up with another quantitative survey of the top 10 nominated brands per category among 2,500 respondents in the tween age group, using visually-coded listing methodologies

Phase 3
Finally, a qualitative survey was conducted to determine the 'why?' factor, using focus groups to establish the key decision criteria per category.

A copy of the full report is available on order through Hot Dogz Incorporated

"We're very excited about the results of the Sunday Times Generation Next Study and are confident that companies and brands will be able to interpolate the information to the benefit of their respective business models," says Gisele Wertheim Aymes, GM Advertising for Sunday Times and Johncom Media. "Although it certainly does not provide all the answers, this study has undoubtedly clarified some of the mystery surrounding the next generation and should provide a solid platform on which to build a
greater understanding of tomorrow's market."

And remember, if you ignore the tween market today, you run the risk that your brands might lose their relevance in the not too distant future.

Winnifred Knight and Luisa Mazinter

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