This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Vol. 5, Issue 4 (2004)
The Making Of Tomorrow's Consumer
Jean McDougall and David Chantrey Millward Brown
In generations past, children were seen and not heard. Not so today. Today's tweens may still technically be children but they couldn't be more different to 814 year olds in previous generations. At the age of nine or ten, kids have forsaken the controlling world of the playground. The importance placed by this generation of tweens on being part of a group, means many, especially those aged 912 years, feel most comfortable in environments where peer pressure conditions behaviour. But even the youngest among them aspires to be rebellious and independent. This is a generation that knows its own mind; it's a generation with attitude. Tweens in 2004 have grown up faster than any generation before them. They've had to. Old values no longer hold, and security is often transient. In many western markets, around half have parents who are divorced. This is a generation for whom the world map is not something to be studied in a geography lesson, but a superhighway along which those who live in urban areas can travel 24/7, chatting online with friends in countries they may never visit. In some parts of the world, this is a generation which sees around 20,000 advertisements a year. As Martin Lindstrom has written, this is 'the first generation born with a mouse in their hands, and a computer screen as their window on the world'. But perhaps more importantly from a marketing point of view, kids today are more affluent than previous generations, and there are certainly more of them. United Nations estimates put today's urban population of 514 year olds at a staggering 565 million (Figure 1), around 361 million of whom are 814 years old. By 2030, the number of urban kids aged 514 will stand at just under 800 million. It is difficult to estimate the true global value in monetary terms of today's 361 million urban tweens because good data do not exist for all markets of the world. However, by working with it where it is available, such as in the US, we begin to get a glimpse of the potential value of tomorrow's consumer. Purchases made directly by children aged 412 years in the USA in 2002 were put at US $40 billion, with those aged 1219 years estimated to have spent a further US $155 billion.
In 2000. Why is this important to marketers? With so much income at their disposal. the average weekly disposable income from pocket money.000 interviews with children across 35 countries. But just as marketers today are finding that many of their tried and tested 'rules' no longer always apply. today's tweens are a consumer segment to be reckoned with.Add to that the US $500+ billion Dr James McNeal estimates US kids are said to have influenced their parents to spend in 2002. As Table 4 shows.e. Germany. Then came the quantification.920 914 year olds in the USA. as well as western and non-western cultures. those aged 814 years. each will have an un-inflated per capita income of almost US $2 million: see equation 1. Each year. Next came a qualitative phase where we explored hypotheses which had emerged from the two previous stages of research. this cohort of 018 year olds will have a combined lifetime income of US $137 trillion. At the same time. But it's when you look at how much today's tweens will spend throughout their lifetime that the numbers look truly awesome. We started by looking at our Kidspeak database which contains details of all the children's research projects Millward Brown has conducted around the world. we estimate that. but here too kids currently have high spending power and the potential to influence brand choice on big and small items alike. Using life expectancy figures for US children born between 1982 and 2000 (Table 2). we interviewed 1. If we break these figures down to look only at our tween segment. now and in the future. Brazil. Spain. we conduct 100. we undertook extensive desk research to ensure that we were familiar with the latest published literature on tweens today. We chose the countries mentioned as representing a cross-section of economies.528. gifts and odd jobs for British kids aged 810 years stands at over 4. then we estimate that in their lifetime. i. and the potential of tomorrow's consumer on today's markets begins to look serious. and the average per capita income for the year to October 2002 (Table 3). we at Millward Brown felt that we needed a better understanding of tomorrow's consumer so that we could provide more insightful advice to our clients as they get to grips with the changing marketing landscape. we spoke to a further 127 tweens in Denmark using a cut-down version of the questionnaire. . The research Our research programme began by revisiting what we and the world at large already knew about tweens and how they relate to brands. there were 73. and for those 1114 years. all things being equal. and not adjusting for inflation.000 (Table 1) boys and girls under 18 in the USA. India. In addition. China and Japan. Markets like the UK may lag some way behind this. In the quantitative phase of the research. at over 8.
Mumbai. which allows for the simplification of purchase decisions. We wanted to quantify this influence. if brands are here to stay and are wrapped up in all our lives. From a corporate perspective they underpin the wealth of many companies. Tokyo. In total. All the tweens we spoke to had a socio-economic status that meant they were likely to live in a household with a TV. At a basic level they provide reassurance of consistency and quality. Consumers want brands too. which in turn generates corporate value. Copenhagen. What hypotheses did we want to check out? Our initial exploratory work surprised us. To add to our understanding of this consumer segment around the world. What came through was that not only do children influence the brands they buy for themselves and the ones that are bought for them like breakfast cereals or soft drinks. before they can read and write. the age a child is imitating sounds like 'mama'.We did this in Sydney. but they also influence many expensive household purchases. we arranged for photos to be taken of children in their rooms. 451 people working in Millward Brown offices around the world were involved in this project. Manila. All interviews were conducted face-to-face so that comparison across countries would be unaffected by methodology. and come into contact with up-scale brands. London. In addition. one out of five US children is already making specific requests for brand-name products. This paper will focus on how children relate to brands and what this means for both marketers and researchers. Marketing has become a language through which consumers can make sense of the increasingly complex world around them a world where traditional signposts and givers of meaning such as religion and government have become devalued. They do this not just through tangible assets but primarily through their intangible assets. . even though we accepted that this would further lessen the representation within a particular country. at what point do we begin to develop a relationship with them? The current view among child psychologists is that at six months-old. Istanbul and San Francisco.We limited our research to urban kids because significant population growth in future will take place in urban areas. Why kids and brands are in love In spite of the anticommercialism movement. Brands provide meaning. and with their most treasured possession. a baby is forming mental images of corporate logos and mascots. At the age of three. This creates the phenomenon of loyalty. September 2001: 'Brands are here to stay.' So. Hong Kong. But they also provide shortcuts for consumers. we conducted an indepth analysis of BMRB's TGI Youth data in the UK. Madrid. As Gordon Pincott remarked in a paper presented at the Market Research Society of Australia Conference in Brisbane. have the opportunity to be online. brands are an integral part of all our lives.
people who are bonded to a brand are nearly ten times as likely to buy it than those who do not make it to presence.' Our Kidspeak database shows clearly that kids are well able to answer structured market research questions about brands from around the age of eight. tweens know the names of brands. i. remember what they see and hear about them and form opinions of them. The levels of the pyramid break down as shown in Figure 2. Those who reach the top of the pyramid hold a strong attitudinal allegiance to the brand they are 'bonded' to it. 'Look Mummy. we must first understand how it is that all consumers journey to loyalty. form brand relationships in this way. Very simply. Until this age. Brand relationships don't form in a vacuum. to the new MINI and Tommy Hilfiger. you have to create strong attitudinal foundations. On average. when their thought patterns move from being quite concrete to more abstract. although the numbers at each level differ by brand. and the underlying causes of this attachment will be unique to a brand. From Lego and Nike. To become truly loyal to a brand. All brand pyramids conform to the same overall shape. and are highly likely to buy it and remain loyal to it over time. they've got McDonald's here too!' And all she had seen was the twin arches standing high above some strip mall. whether kids or adults. No other brand can match the brand they are bonded to. How brand loyal are tweens? To understand this. brands are often preferred simply because they are popular or used/worn/eaten/drunk/played with by cool kids. what does this mean for marketers? Firstly it means that kids know and love brands. we can define the levels of the pyramid as follows: y y y y y Presence: does the consumer know anything about the product or service? Relevance: does it cater for their needs? Performance: does it deliver? Advantage: is it better than others in some way? Bonding: nothing else can beat it. it is not really until around the age of ten that an appreciation develops of the subtle differences in brand values and user imagery.Our own research shows that children are able to talk about brands from a very young age. However. and peaks around the age of 30.e. Our research showed that the degree of brand loyalty increases sharply from the age of ten. We can represent these foundations as a pyramid. So. . It is not unusual in group discussions to hear comments such as this: 'We went to visit friends in America when my daughter was just three. Driving from the airport to their house after an eight hour flight my daughter excitedly announced. All consumers. People reach the top of the pyramid when they have a degree of attachment to a brand that excludes other brands from the same frame of reference.
children still want to explore and experience. However. The US fast food brand Arby's was classified as a 'specialist' in 1999 a brand which. so it's no surprise that brands play such a big role in helping them do this. only to find the product itself being trashed immediately or languishing in the store cupboard long after its sell-by date.However. And with more and more promotional activity around. While it's easy to understand why brands like Pokmon or Beyblades come and go. nothing else can beat it. around half of all brands change their typology every two years.Tweens want to belong. this is not the only reason why tweens may be fickle about their preferred brands. in spite of this. kids today are clearly more brand promiscuous than adults. At the age of eight or even 14. had a relatively high level of perceived advantages and a relatively high number of kids bonded to it. highlighting an extremely rapid 'migration' of attitudes. Our research shows that the very news and promotions marketers bombard kids with in an attempt to drive sales and build loyalty often do little to build strong brand foundations. our data also show that tweens are in fact 40% less loyal to brands than adults. Further. But not all success is maintained. it's easy for tweens to jump from one brand to another. In a relatively short period of time. and this is just as true of brands as it is of other things. Tweens are less brand loyal simply because they have had less experience and involvement with brands. It is a fact of life today that peer pressure often drives how tweens behave and what brands they buy. But by 2002. and the highest in Brazil (89%). the brand migration also happens outside of the school playground. The lowest agreement score on 'It is important to me to feel part of a group' was seen in Germany (71%). Such promotions do not generate loyalty though they may drive short-term sales. Claire's Accessories has come from having no presence to highly bonded status among tween girls when it comes to all things pink and fluffy. Most mothers have been browbeaten into buying a particular product which comes with a free gift or promotion. . So. Even among the generation of 'Little Emperors' in China. these perceived advantages and high bonding had disappeared and the brand was classified as 'weak'. But could there be more going on here than simply the fact that lack of experience and being barraged by promotional activity creates lower loyalty levels among tweens? Importance of peer pressure in determining loyalty Our research shows that on average eight in ten of today's urban tweens need to feel part of a group. goes. 81% agree that it's important for them to feel part of a group. And even a giant such as Pepsi-Cola has shown a similar erosion in the proportion of kids bonded to it between 1999 and 2002. despite relatively low levels of presence. and what the group says. our data showed that among kids. and there are good reasons for this.
Those who feel most pressured are those who express a stronger need to belong to the 'in' group. peer pressure diminishes (Table 6). Yet conformity exacts a price. The peer influence on brand loyalty among tweens should not be underestimated and has important marketing ramifications. category and country. but the finding holds just as true in other countries. The same holds true for those marketing products that adults buy for children. this does not always hold true. Many brands manage to tap into needs and desires that transcend the age of the consumer. The data in Table 7 come from the UK. And kids beneath the tween threshold feel their own pressure. a tween strategy is clearly a necessity. Research undertaken by Millward Brown into the equity of over 20. this is certainly the case. . confirms that the underlying foundations of brand relationships are the same across age group. and over half (54%) of our global tweens feel there are too many things to do each day. and this is one of the major contributors to both strong and weak brand loyalty in this group. In a phenomenon known as 'fish streaming'. computer games. and many do this through careful product segmentation. for example breakfast cereals. younger children look up to tweens and aspire to use the brands they do. be concerned with tweens? Our data (Figure 3) show clearly that they should be. Certainly. as kids move from tween to teen. Which raises an interesting question. Can brand relationships last a lifetime? Should all marketers consider a tween strategy? For those marketing products like snacks and confectionery that kids buy themselves. adults and kids are bonded to the same brands.Just under half of them (47%) believe that the clothes they wear describe who they are. But should those marketing grown-up brands like cars or adult fashion. Brand tracking work showed that children with older siblings were more likely to be interested in PlayStation on its initial release those without took around a year longer to reach the same level of brand exposure (Table 5).000 brands worldwide. For brands that have carefully developed segmented consumer strategies built behind a consistent. Brands across the generations The brand pyramid mentioned earlier allows us to classify brand relationships the same way for both kids and adults. does this mean that the brands they are bonded to are different to those their parents bond with? For music and middle market fashion brands. But in tweens there is a strong emotional need to fit in and feel secure. for both children's and adult brands. honest offering. and those scores are not as low for boys as we might have imagined (51% girls versus 43% boys). In two out of three categories. What we find is that brand allegiance changes very little across the generations. If children are less loyal to brands than adults.
is McDonald's.Across the adult categories we looked at. They require their lives to be interactive and instant. This is a 24/7 generation which expects the brands they use to operate the same hours. and friends often make up for their lack of family stability. The most important of these are: Kids today grow up young. Brazilian (59%). During 2002. humour. love or stability. fantasy. Chinese (59%). This is as true of Indian tweens (71% claim to influence the car bought). Brands with attitude are attractive. or that they tell their parents what they should buy. . Which makes it all the more important for grown-up brands to establish a relationship with tweens rather than solely with adults who have more established views. mastery. even if kids do long for security. Parental influence is weak. How should marketers appeal to tweens? Aside from looking at the journey to brand loyalty. 58% of global tweens claimed either that their parents ask for their advice when it comes to buying high ticket items like cars or adult fashion. This is the upgrade generation (even the old favourite Monopoly now comes in 12 versions. y y y y y y Successful tween brands are based around fear. they ran the following executions on UK TV: y y y y y Ads promoting The Muppets and Disney tie-in toys in their 'Happy Meals' for younger kids Ronald McDonald 'Safety in the Home' ads aimed at both younger kids and parents/carers Sponsorship credits for Popstars The Rivals. Yet here we see clearly that tweens do bond with adult brands. and we know they have a strong influence on what car their family buys. The data in Table 8 show the percentage of kids and adults bonded to four car brands across Germany. our research explored how tweens view their world. One brand which has successfully segmented its market using alternative strategies to appeal not just to tweens. aimed at tweens and teens. And younger children look up to tweens and then adopt the latest fashions and trends (fish streaming). There is no room here to mention all our findings. as it is of American (63%). but certain key factors emerged which need to be considered when marketers think about targeting this quick to adopt and quick to reject segment. We have yet to see a car advertisement aimed at tweens anywhere in the world. But it's also a generation that looks for consistency of message and honesty. peer pressure intense. Old values are out. but to all ages. German (51%) and Spanish (40%) 914 year olds. and for Diggin'it. 'Tribe' leaders drive the brands tweens aspire to. including Shrek and Thunderbirds). Spain and Brazil. aimed at tweens and teens Product and promotional ads aimed at adults. Many today have divorced parents. aimed at younger kids Competition ads with prizes for mobile phones. Japanese (53%).
but thrilling. As Figure 4 highlights. Research agencies will have to offer much more meaningful insights and advice if they're to survive. all present opportunities for reaching this group. and everywhere they go they expect their brands to go with them. then those involved in researching one segment will need to be familiar with how the brand is being positioned with other segments. be undertaken by marketers themselves. If they're to provide truly meaningful insights. We feel sure those reading this paper will have more: y y y y Researchers will become the intelligence arm of live campaigns which means that we too will be on call 24/7. the tween media landscape is changing. and we'll have to learn 'tweenspeak'. if not double-jointed. But not as we know it now. in future. other media. But those brands have to command respect.y y y y y Toys are out: the internet. ride. computer games and virtual worlds are in. researchers are going to have to get to grips with new ways of thinking and new ways of communicating. together with the fact that clients are likely to have good database information on their targets means that some of the work currently undertaken by researchers may. What about the market researcher? Based on our findings. or by researchers within client companies. 24 hours a day. while fully understanding the brand essence at a macro level. we believe that research is going to have an increasingly important role to play in brand custodianship. Language is changing. such as the internet or mobile phones. Today's tweens are on the move. We too will have to learn to be more flexible. We're in for a bumpy. 'Tweenspeak' may be a form of written communication but not as most of us know it. . Based on these findings and how we now believe tweens journey to loyalty. We'll have to learn to speak to tweens in their time. The speed at which consumer insights will be required by clients will also mitigate for closer research adviser/client partnerships. Here are some of our predictions for the future of research in tomorrow's markets. Like marketers. as well as viral marketing events and product placement. This need for speed. This will be particularly true of those relationships involving global brands.Texting on mobile phones and chatting online bring with them a whole new lexicon. seven days a week. there just won't be the time to bring a new research team up to speed with the brand's history. Researchers are going to have to become closer partners with their clients. we have developed a number of tips for those marketing kids brands and for those managing the health of grown-up brands: see the box on the previous page. Although TV still has a strong role in their lives. Often.
An interesting prospect for some of our coders! Finally. the internet or cinema ads before they run. Just being a good kids researcher will no longer be enough. And we'll need to do this in an iterative way that ensures that the 'moment' has not passed in the time it takes between creative development and airing. And those of us who must analyse and interpret the findings will have to sit where the client used to be behind the one-way mirror. Media neutral planning means innovative ways will have to be found not just to check out TV. consider tweens as a potential target. the impact of campaigns run on mobile phones and the potential of viral campaigns. Consider the tween market Whether you're marketing kids brands or grown-up brands. Tweens today are mobile and sophisticated: much of the time they're not where their parents are. Marketers should consider a strategy that appeals to tweens. Marketers need to establish just how many tweens know their brand and what they think of it. But questionnaires are likely to be much shorter and. print. we too will have to remind ourselves of the ethics involved in interviewing kids. they need to decide how they're going to manage the brand relationship from child to adult. we'll see more pack leaders trained to run focus groups for the time they're head of their 'tribe'. outdoor. clients are going to expect more of it. And we'll need to look at how we moderate our Qual work.y y y y y y Qualitative research will play an increasingly important role. but researchers who handle it are going to have to understand all about brands and communications across the age spectrum. All responsible research agencies subscribe to the MRS and/or ESOMAR Codes of Conduct. Be ethical . radio. Quantitative research will still have a strong role to play. We'll need to find more innovative ways of recruiting pack leaders. when conducted on mobile phone or over the internet are likely to use text and tweenspeak rather than standard English. But we may well need to go beyond this. Gaining permission to interview is likely to become problematic but more clients are going to want us to speak to this group. kids have huge spending power in their own right and strongly influence brand choice for many high price family purchases. They need to determine how attractive their brand is relative to its presence. As we've demonstrated. Then if they do decide to include tweens as one of their targets. both for asking questions and collecting the responses. 2. It is likely that for some types of subject. and a third that focuses just on adults. Although a few research agencies have made some progress in this area. another that appeals to tweens and their parents. Specific tips for marketers 1. We'll need robust ways of testing the relevance of sponsorship and product placement. Such changes will certainly present us with new challenges as we help our clients to create tomorrow's markets.
Think 24/7 Once they reach the age of eight or nine.Make ethics your number one priority when marketing to tweens. there must be a sense of consistency that ties subsequent evolutions together this means knowing as a marketer exactly what your brand stands for and remaining true to it. every day. Tweens will no longer be informed only by traditional media. teams of marketers will need to operate all day. the luxury of time has gone product evolution needs to happen over weeks and months. and that the messages they communicate are safe. constantly monitoring their marketplace. but interactive channels will increasingly do the informing. media. Use peer-to-peer marketing Belonging to a group is a crucial part of tween life. and the most successful will use viral marketing tools to enable tweens to market for them. In marketing planning. tools and message will be key. Tweens need to be put at the centre of any marketing programme. 6. It's important that marketers never forget that tweens are young children and that marketers have a huge ethical responsibility when targeting this group. not years. Peer-to-peer marketing will play an increasingly important role in creating successful tween brands. and never abuse the freedom they have in marketing to kids. 3. Flexibility to change direction. 7. not the brand. 8. However. TV ads will be used to inspire. Marketers need to ensure they produce quality products that are safe. Think mobile Marketers will increasingly need to be where their target is. 4. Failure to deliver means brand suicide. Be flexible in your campaign While many classic marketing approaches will still apply to tomorrow's consumer. In this new 24/7 world. keep their word. They need to earn and maintain trust from both parents and children. today's kids are a 24/7 generation and expect 24/7 brands and instant gratification. 5. They need to be honest. Tweens look up to their leaders and inspire each other. Use media neutral or intelligent media planning . interactive communication means that future campaigns are likely to run live. Ensure your concept has potential to evolve over time Today's tweens thrive on upgrades. which won't be in front of the TV! They will no longer be able to focus on messages that have a fixed position.
a report from Packaged facts available at MarketResearch. American Demographics. June 1993. Marketers should spend time with them. M.html Children's Business. Ithaca: Paramount Market Publishing. McNeal. 'Brand Aware'. 2002. 9.newdream. G. KidsFacts available at www. events. & ChyonHwa Yeh.htm BRANDchild Qualitative and Survey data. Published in London. Available at www. www. American Academy of Pediatrics 'Television and the Family' fact sheet. 2000. talk to them. They want to be listened to.The Kids' Market: Myths and Realities.org/family/tv1. September 2001. J. 1999.kidstuffnet. References ABCNEWS.newdream. Available at www. . The US Kids' Market. June 2000. March 2003 by Kogan Page. Market Research Society of Australia Conference paper. Teenager's Spending Power'.html Lindstrom. BRANDchild. McNeal. BRANDZ conducted by Millward Brown for WPP. McNeal. J..com. Respect your target audience Tweens hate to be sold to. Marketers should consider using viral campaigns. Inc.com Pincott.org Center for a New American Dream: Justice. heard and understood. they'll need to take care to integrate their communication so that it works across all channels.newdream. but love to be respected.Successful tween marketers will be those who maximise their mix of media channels to reach their target.org/campaign/kids/ facts.org/ discuss/undp. Center for a New American Dream: Just the Facts about Advertising and Marketing to Children. 'Born to Shop'. or as well as. more traditional media.html Center for a New American Dream: Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture. 1999. Equity & Consumption. discover how they dream. listen to them. James. Available at www.aap.com/info/ facts. 'Targeting Younger Consumers. product placement and mobile phones instead of. the internet. However..
org. David Chantrey David Chantrey is a Group Account Director at Millward Brown. Acknowledgement This paper was presented at The Market Research Society Conference 2003. . 2000. business. He has specialised in understanding brand equity and brand communications. Published with permission of The Market Research Society. with a particular focus on the youth market. BMRB. www. US Department of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis. He looks after a team of 40 researchers and is the global account director for Millward Brown's Levi Strauss and CO. where she has worked for 18 years.UK TGI Youth. United Nations Population Division. UNICEF:The State of the World's Children 2002. Jean was the first director to work on multinational business and now has responsibility for all aspects of internal and external marketing and communications across the Millward Brown Group.uk NOTES & EXHIBITS Jean McDougall Jean McDougall is Global Communications & Marketing Director at Millward Brown.mrs.
2004 Warc Ltd. 85 Newman Street. It may not be reproduced. . Fax: +(0)20 7467 8101 www. archived or shared electronically either within the purchaser¶s organisation or externally without express written permission from Warc.warc. e-mailed.© Copyright Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. posted on intranets. extranets or the internet. This electronic file is for the personal use of authorised users based at the subscribing company's office location. W1T 3EX Tel: +44 (0)20 7467 8100. United Kingdom. London.com All rights reserved including database rights.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.