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‘Young Blood’

A White Paper Exploring

Modern British Youth Culture


About the Agency We are Amplify. We are an integrated creative agency with a special interest in global youth culture. We join the dots between people, brands and culture – creating the meaningful connections that turn consumers into brand fans. We do this for brands including Converse, Red Bull, Google, Lexus and PlayStation. To find out more about how we think and do, head to www.weareamplify.com.

About this White Paper ‘Young Blood’ is written primarily for marketing industry professionals who are interested in knowing more about their youth audiences. It will also be of significant interest to brands that want to understand how to genuinely and authentically connect with young people today.

About the Author Krupali Cescau is Head of Planning at Amplify. She has over 15 years strategic experience spanning law, business consultancy and advertising, and has spent a lot of that time following youth culture trends. She loves talking about this project so please feel free to contact her to discuss these findings in more detail: krupali@weareamplify.com

Young Blood: A White Paper Exploring Modern British Youth Culture

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Contents Abstract

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Methodology

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Introduction

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1. In Pursuit of Happiness? | Welcoming a new era of balance

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2. Under the Influence | The evolution of power and the death of rebellion

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3. Youth in Transition | Gender, identity and social media

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4. Consuming Youth | Instant gratification and disposable ethics

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5. From Council Estate to Catwalk | Brands – cultured or contrived?

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6. Branded Youth | The knife edge of content and communication

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7. Defining a Generation | Getting under the skin of Britain’s Youth

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Data

35

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Abstract Do we really understand youth audiences today or have we become content to accept a few well worn facts and general sentiment? This is a question crucial to our effectiveness as marketers to the younger generations we seek to connect with, and one Amplify felt needed answering. Using a qualitative and quantitative mixed methodology approach, Amplify examined the attitudes, behaviours and motivations of over 2,500 young people aged 13-25 across the UK, to set the reality of their world against commonly held assumptions. Our major findings reveal that today’s 13-25 year-olds are driven by the desire to be happy. The impetus to find personal fulfillment supersedes the desire to have a successful career, earn lots of money, own their own home, or even find love and get married. Happiness, for them, is the greatest form of success they can imagine. Many small choices contribute to this feeling of living an authentic and mindful life, including a careful choice of brands that make statements about them. Their brand and product choices are led by recommendations from friends and social influencers, as they trust individuals more than advertising. Once brands have their attention, trials, promotions and discounts will encourage them to explore new products, and tailored communication will start building continued brand loyalty. But lose their trust or get it wrong, and they won’t overlook this type of conduct. While they are unlikely to rebel in the traditional way of breaking social norms, they will seek to change the status quo by raising awareness or simply by taking their attention, and their money, elsewhere. They are empowered with the knowledge that their brand choices talk. In this day and age, there are a lot of brands vying for their money and although there has been a shift towards rental/sharing to make the most of limited funds, ownership is still very important – after all, one in five say the things they own are integral to their identity, so they clearly have a strong emotional connection to their possessions.

Abstract

Amplify’s research has found that it is our youngest groups who now have the most purchasing power, simply because they are not yet living independently, so are free to spend whatever money they have on themselves, or convince their parents to spend it on them. Older teens and 20-somethings spend more on food, socialising and experiences, and are also more committed to saving money for both short- and long-term goals. However, contrary to popular belief, those without any savings are in the minority. Decisions to buy are therefore carefully made and based on a combination of peer approval, quality and cost. Image is vitally important to these young people, and subsequently they spend most of their cash on clothes and technology. They feel the need to constantly update their image in order to appear fresh on social media; the two are inextricably linked. Most young people will go straight to a search engine when they want to find out more about new brands but, as mentioned, personal recommendation is the most powerful tool – whether it comes from friends and family, social networks or trusted bloggers and social influencers. Our audiences expect a friendly, personalised connection to their favourite brands. They demand to be appreciated and understood, which should give rise to brands keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to social trends to facilitate interesting collaborations and well thought out communication. Amplify’s research clearly shows that young people today respond best to the personal touch. They expect brands to recognise their individuality and demand to be taken seriously – if they disapprove of branded communications or dislike a brand’s core values they will, at best, refuse to buy and, at worst, spread the word around their network. Put simply, this generation refuses to accept brands or retailers that behave in a way that they perceive as unfair, unethical or inappropriate.

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Methodology For this study we took a multi-methodological approach to give us a combination of big data and rich narrative. Stage 11

Stage 2 3

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We chose a robust random sample of young people across the UK, aged 1325, and asked them 21 questions about various aspects of their lives through a quantitative survey. The group contained a good balance of male and female and were broken down as follows:

During Stage 2, we undertook qualitative research to add depth and richness to the big data findings.

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2,506 Total participants

Breakdown by gender

1,173

1,333

Breakdown by age group 500

13-15 year olds

1000

16-19 year olds

1006

20-25 year olds

Breakdown by region East – 185

Scotland – 187

Midlands – 408

South West – 179

London – 469

North East – 118

North West – 277

Northern Ireland – 57

South East – 312

We recruited a mainstream sample4 (equal M/F) within the M25 area, and conducted mixed-methodology qualitative research using 30 young people split as follows:

13-15 x6 1 group, 2-hour session

Stage 1 ran from September 2015 – October 2015, and respondents were paid a standard survey fee. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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Stage 2 ran across October and November 2015.

All respondents were paid a standard focus group fee (guardians of 13-15 y/os also receiving a small incentive). Those respondents completing the

auto-ethnography portion were paid an additional fee for time spent over and above the groups. 4

Recruitment of random sample by Mojo Fieldwork.

16-19 x12 2 groups, 2 hour sessions

20-25 x12 2 groups, 2 hour sessions

Twenty of these respondents (16-25) were then asked to participate in a further auto-ethnography study in their own time over a one-week period, from which we gained audio and video collateral.

Wales – 138

Yorkshire – 176

Key subjects covered – Health, Happiness and Success

– Authority, Influence and Rebellion

– Gender, Identity and Social Media

– Money, Spending Power and Ownership

– Brand Relationships and Recommendations – Brand Communication and Content

The research was undertaken using an independent third-party online survey agency 2 for stage 1 and a combination of freelance qualitative researchers and internal resource for stage 2.

Methodology

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Introduction

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How do you define a generation? This White Paper was premised with the assumption that no youth audience can be defined, judged or understood as a single cohort. As marketers we have been guilty of pigeon-holing every young person as a Millennial, or more recently, a Gen-Z’er and therefore attributing to them a set of attitudes, behaviours and stereotypes, without looking at them as individuals. This White Paper discusses the gap between how we view youth audiences through the generational assumptions we have made, versus the reality of their actual behaviour and motivations discovered through research time spent with them. We will also discuss the significant role of technology and social media as a consistent seam running through their lives, and how we as marketers and brands should be talking to them and working with them.

Introduction

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1. In Pursuit of Happiness? Welcoming a new era of balance

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Has the definition of health, happiness and success changed over the last few generations? Today’s 13-25 year-olds share one clear ambition for the future: they want to be happy. More than four out of ten say that happiness is their definition of success. Success is defined broadly and subjectively but two ideas that seem universal within the groups are ‘happiness’ and ‘no worries/ stress’. Strikingly, their ideas of success are all infinitely realistic. There are no ‘create an empire’ or ‘win the lottery’ goals here, but more ‘having a family’ and ‘doing well at my job’. These young people feel that they have the basic things that they need so there is less desire for extreme wealth. Add to this the over-exposure of celebrity which has revealed that money doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness, and you are left with a group that value family, friends and relationships they can nurture over fame and fortune. They consider contentment a greater achievement than traditional status symbols such as making a lot of money, owning a house, or having a good car Fig 1. Having said that, more are feeling positive about work and see it as a valuable way for them to spend time. It also feeds into their pragmatic approach to money – they need it to look good, buy tech, have amazing experiences etc. to feel like they are making the most out of their lives – they couldn’t live without it and they aren’t pretending they want to. However they do want to do something they love. We found men put more emphasis on making money5, and were three times more likely to say that owning a good car is the definition of success. This is still a far cry from previous generations for whom material things embodied success. The belief that happiness equals success becomes more prevalent with age (46% of those aged 20-25), as does the appreciation of life’s simple pleasures that can be accessed every day – good food, sport and stories, whether that be in film, series, books or people.

in another, they are forced into smaller and smaller physical social circles from a young age as they are more protected and the world feels less safe than it used to. They understand that privacy and security have made even the idea of neighbourly interactions less available so they look for opportunities to be around like-minded people as often as they can. They are most happy when they are around people – either friends and family they know or strangers that enrich their experience – socialising and bonding. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the things that make them feel alive are socialising in any format, from nights out to festivals (music and party culture being at the heart of this), travel, and being able to express or find themselves.

“I like festivals – you always have a good time. You can’t promise when you’re going to be happy in life, but you can’t help but be happy at festivals.” (16-19) They are not all about looking inward for happiness, however. Whether it is to turn a bad day around, to treat themselves or to escape from their daily grind, they find real pleasure in shopping. But the high is short lived – they see the futility of consumerism, and understand it is a temporary fix. This is especially true when it comes to their expectations being higher than their parents’ at the same age due to the sheer volume of goods available for them to buy. Similarly, although they feel bad about spending money on eating out, they all love it. It is seen as a treat and a way to enjoy social interaction. There is a balance to be had in the type of food they eat when they go out (healthy/wholesome vs. junk food) with quality being important but impacted by price. Most have regular go-to places for a cheap, healthy meal that made them feel they were striking a good balance of treating themselves yet not over-indulging.

Fig 1

How would you define success? 44%

Being happy

40%

Having a successful career

29%

Making a lot of money

11%

Owning a house

4%

5

Having a good car

34% of men say that this equals success, compared to 24% of women.

In one way, their lives are so much bigger than other generations – they have access to the world at the touch of a button – but

1. In Pursuit of Happiness? | Welcoming a new era of balance

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Are young people still bingedrinking, fast food eating louts who don’t care about their health? Although a third of young people we talked to worried about their future health, their responses suggest that they currently view good health as a lifestyle choice. They believe that being unhealthy has more to do with eating a lot of fast food, excessive drinking or not exercising regularly than it does with having an illness, taking medication daily or having a history of illness in the family Fig 2. This is a departure from traditional thinking and a key way in which the idea of health has changed over generations. Unsurprisingly, our youngest groups worry least about their health. It remains a background concern until something goes wrong. They use apps to monitor food, fitness and activity but only sporadically as health starts to feature more and more on their radars. The 16-19 year olds are aware of wellness apps, they are just not that bothered about them at the moment and the 20-25 year olds use them more often and for more things, feeling satisfied that they are able to quantify and be in control.

“I don’t worry about it, but I take measures – I don’t eat loads of junk food. But I’m not actively worried, but just taking precautions.” (16-19)

Although the vast majority agree that smoking is a bad habit and unhealthy, all of them seem to have a love-hate relationship with alcohol. They love to drink, they love the social interaction, the ritual and the relaxation that comes with it, but they recognise it’s bad for them, hate the hangovers and the time they waste on recovery. They hope that change in life stage, i.e. getting a job, will force them to slow down with their drinking but it seems like a way to put off the worry until another day. They were surprised that their generation drank less than any other but suspected reasons varying from the amount of health information out there to social media meaning less socialising happening in the pub.

Young people’s relationship with alcohol has always been hotly debated but we found that most engaged in responsible social drinking only, mostly controlled and at the weekend. Most 16-19 year olds stated they don’t binge drink or get out-of-control drunk with the deterrents being hangovers, the taste (for the younger ones) and impact on their health. This generation is amongst the healthiest of the last few decades. The university students (20-25) admitted to more binge drinking and episodes of blacking out than other groups, but this is intended to be limited to the few years they are students. Significantly there is no desire to continue this as a lifestyle once they are out of university. They aren’t proud of it and try to provide balance where possible.

Fig 2

Which of the following factors would you classify as being unhealthy? 68%

Eating fast food

63%

Excessive drinking

58%

Not excercising

(20-25)

28%

Having an illness

Balance for these young people comes from binging and abstaining. Their social media accounts will fluctuate between pictures of crazy parties, admissions of being hungover, inspirational quotes about living well and achievements in working out. They are finding balance in the only way they know how – by doing everything, good and bad, to extremes.

17%

Taking medication

10%

Illness in the family

“Eating healthy and not drinking in the week (so I can drink all weekend).”

“Your health needs to be balanced, you need a bit of everything. You can’t go on a diet when you’re young. You should exercise, but you do need to drink and go out because you’re young.” (16-19)

Health, as discussed, is equated to lifestyle and these days it is mental as well as physical. Vibrancy is integral to their wellbeing and waking up in the morning with energy and wanting to do things as a sign of good health.

“When you mentally have a positive opinion of yourself, that’s what makes you healthy.” (16-19)

1. In Pursuit of Happiness? | Welcoming a new era of balance

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Do they genuinely worry, or just expect everything to work out for them? Despite, or perhaps because of, their self-sufficiency, 20% of those surveyed say that loneliness is their biggest fear for the future. We may find this surprising in the age of social media but as we will see in later chapters, social media can actually exacerbate feelings of being alone. However, they have more immediate worries about their job prospects (43%), finances (43%) and health (34%) 6. Those aged 13-15 are the most fearless (6% say they have no fears), possibly because they are still living at home and not yet bothered by adult responsibilities.

“I’m really worried about, is it worth going to university and having a huge debt? Will I be financially stable? Will I be able to live in London? My biggest fear is financial; I think its quite shallow but it is fair.” (16-19)

The 13-15 year-olds we talked to were quite mature about fear. They recognise they always have a lifeline and they aren’t yet out in the world alone so there isn’t much to fear for them. But the fears they do have are on a personal level, coming down to expectation more often than not. They fear failure in life generally. Social media can provoke insecurities in friendships when they see friends doing things without them and this inevitably leads to self examination as to their own worth as an individual. They recognise that what is projected in the digital realm is hyperbolic rather than reality, but they are hooked. Our 16-19 year-olds liken social media to a double-edged sword – it can prevent them from feeing lonely or heighten it. ‘Likes’ help them feel validated initially but then feel meaningless. Messenger is considered the most real form of communication where they can actually converse, rather than just looking at news feeds and timelines which often leave them feeling empty. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook remind them often of what other people are doing and, more importantly, what they are not. They have a love/hate relationship with the way these channels make them feel.

Overall, for our participants, the biggest fear for the future is financial due to debt of education, not reaching personal goals or following dreams. Regret features heavily for such young audiences, both in terms of making the wrong personal decisions (life partner) but also in not being able to affect global issues as a society (environmental, equality, etc.). But it’s fair to say they have it easy compared to other generations, isn’t it? They feel older generations misunderstand their relationship with and reliance on technology. The problems of growing up and making your way in the world have changed, lifestyles have changed, and so young people have a different vision of their lives from other generations. They feel that they can be what they want to be and there are so many opportunities for them to get off the conveyor belt their parents were on in terms of career and lifestyle. Older generations can perceive these young people as lazy but they misunderstand the complexity of growing up in this time.

6

Those aged 16-19 worry most about their job

(49%), while concerns about finances and health increase with age; 49% of those aged 20-25

worry about finances and 40% worry about their health.

One clear conclusion from our research in this area is that all age groups seem to have made the significant leap from success = happiness that we have seen in generations past, to happiness = success. A conclusion most people have traditionally come to later in life. Whether this is facilitated by the fact that they are growing up with failed economies and ideologies, and almost no hope to become rich overnight, we have yet to see. For brands looking to the future, these findings suggest that young people could be seduced by products which enhance their sense of personal wellbeing and contentment, as well as supporting healthy lifestyle choices such as good nutrition, regular exercise and low alcohol consumption. Products or experiences which have a social element, even something as simple as an active and inclusive social network, will also appeal to the segment of young people who worry about facing the future alone.

1. In Pursuit of Happiness? | Welcoming a new era of balance

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2. Under the Influence The evolution of power and the death of rebellion

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Throughout history, influence, authority and rebellion have been subjects closely monitored and hotly debated when it comes to youth. The assumption has always been that young people are easily influenced and therefore prone to rebellion. In many cultures, the teens and early twenties are seen as perilous moral times where only the strictest authority and harshest punishment can prevent societal meltdown from these hormone-riddled time bombs. It is only relatively recently that parents and authority figures have started to consider that young people have their own codes of morals and ethics, that they are looking for ways to express themselves and find their place in the world, that they are not rebelling for the sake of it but rather because they have not yet accepted the status quo. Have young people lost the impetus to rebel? When confronted with a situation they are unhappy with, 35% of young people will find a way to positively change it, particularly those aged 20-25 (37%). This is certainly a considered departure from the self-destructive, rebellious behaviour with which we previously stereotyped youth. In fact, fewer than a quarter of the respondents seek to actively break the rules and 15% say they would never rebel, whatever the situation. For 13-15 year-olds, rebellion seems a little passé: 29% of this age group said they would never break the rules. However, we must ask ourselves whether this is because they are more worried about the consequences of rebellion or whether they have seen the futility of a causeless struggle before we expected them to. Consequently, brands that live in a rebellious space are not as desirable as they once were. They are not seen as authentic a lot of the time because “if you can buy into it, it’s not really that cool” (13-15). To actually be rebellious would be to go against social norms and our youngest groups care too much about social acceptance to do that. In a world where lives are lived and seen online by peers, parents and colleagues alike, there is less room for directionless rule breaking. And there are more immediate and far-reaching consequences for those who do. For those who feel the need to push society’s

buttons, an accepted style of rebellion is to ‘go Indie’ – a gentle way to differentiate themselves from the crowd without drawing too much criticism from their friends. The older groups we talked to were more aware of ‘traditional’ rebellion – they referenced the more political nature of music in the 60s and 70s and saw downloading and streaming as their generation’s great acts of rebellion. But when it comes to brands, they do not feel convinced with mere talk of disrupting the status quo. For them, action is key. There is a great respect for people and brands who take a moral stance:

“The Science Museum cancelled their partnership with Shell on ethical grounds which is a greater symbol of rebellion I think. It’s action.” (20-25) Should brands inhabit this rebellious space, then? Brands should be mindful of young people’s mode of rebellion; in the future, young consumers will actively seek to change business practices and behaviours that they dislike or disagree with. Given that more than three in ten of our sample say their beliefs have the most influence on their identity, it stands to reason that they will only want to spend money on products and brands which share or support their attitudes. Young people now have greater freedom of expression than ever before. They have access to different people, cultures and communities and therefore when they disagree with a situation they have the power to pick an alternative or find a smart solution. Rebelling, as we once knew it – breaking social norms to show defiance – is just not effective enough for these generations. They would much rather spend their energy creating change or work-arounds.

2. Under the Influence | The evolution of power and the death of rebellion

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Are young people really as influenced by advertising and celebrity as we assume? Across all age groups, it is felt that friends have the most influence on identity. Over half of our sample agree, rising to 57% amongst those aged 13-15, who feel this is true over celebrities or their parents when it comes to style and music etc. Morality, however, remains the domain of family and looking at the media they follow, it’s not a surprise! Interestingly for our youngest audience, highly sexualised brands like Victoria’s Secret and Kim Kardashian are avidly followed on social media, and their influence is often verified and validated within the peer groups. It is possible our young teens are drawing influence from these sources whilst they are trying to understand their own sexuality, identity and what society expects from them. The 16-19 year-olds draw influence from everywhere: the worlds of music, fashion, film, sport and celebrity. They are actively seeking their ‘mentors’ for various things – music taste, clothing, lifestyle, etc. Luckily for them there seems to be a certain amount of security/acceptance within a group of friends that builds confidence, but this can be easily destroyed by external forces, so they still have to keep their eyes out for what influencers outside of their social spheres are doing. As much as they will argue that celebrity does not affect them, their own actions belie them.

People in this age group readily give and take advice from each other on lowcommitment recommendations such as films, websites, apps and music, but are more considered about bigger purchases like clothes, as these are integral to forming the most visual part of their identity. In terms of influence, we found that there are clear influencers from the youngest of our respondents to the eldest. Young people will experiment with leadership, seeing if they feel comfortable assuming the role of influencer or if they are happy to be a follower.

“I only really wear one type of trousers, Dickies ones, and I’ve been wearing them like a year and a half. When I first started wearing them everyone was like ‘you look like a police officer’ and now today my whole school is wearing them.” (16-19)

At this age the opinions of those closest to them also become more important, and those of strangers less so. They are coming into their own and this group are feeling more like influencers, even in small or niche groups, than the others. They recommend brands whether they have used them or not, but don’t like people copying their style so will hold back specific clothing/shoe recommendations.

“If I see Love Island, TOWIE and they’re doing stuff or buying stuff, I would buy what they’ve got (within reason). If you like them, you want to buy into their lifestyle.” (16-19)

2. Under the Influence | The evolution of power and the death of rebellion

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However, they aren’t comfortable taking on brands by themselves just yet; they will either join an online movement or hope someone else takes action on their behalf.

“I like to recommend to my friends, it makes me feel like I really know what I’m talking about. And if you love something you want to recommend it.” (16-19)

The eldest of our groups, the 20-25 year-olds, feel the least influenced by celebrity. If they follow, a lot of the time it is for entertainment or out of admiration rather than because of a desire to emulate them – and this is an important difference. Celebrity is starting to take on the role of mere entertainment rather than a serious role model. They are now more comfortable standing up to brands they disagree with and although their opinion of the power of online petitions is disappointingly negative, they are more willing to personally endorse causes that are important to them and speak out when they see injustice.

For all the groups, small, daily influences are key – what music to listen to, what products they think are good, the causes they support. They don’t feel like they have a huge amount of power over the big things because it’s difficult for them to measure immediately or get a sense of success, but within their micro-worlds their opinion is king. They are used to seeing instantaneous results so these small shows of influence make them feel respected. Brands are quickly understanding the power of this low-level and grass roots influence. Adidas’ collaboration with Stormzy was celebrated by all the age groups as an authentic way for the brand to reach their audience. Most notably, the fact that Stormzy was an up and coming London musician and a big brand chose to hero him over a more established celebrity, gave Adidas the kudos it needed to be culturally relevant within the grime scene and readily recommended within peer groups.

2. Under the Influence | The evolution of power and the death of rebellion

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3. Youth in Transition Gender, identity and social media

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Young people today are all just basically hipsters – don’t they all want to look and think exactly alike? The idea that young people want to be the same couldn’t be further from the truth. To the untrained eye, there may be a uniform attached to the face staring at the screen, but these young people are working hard to carve out individual styles and identities for themselves.

“You don’t like it when you see people wearing the same clothes as you, it’s like they’ve stolen your identity.” (16-19)

Surprisingly insightful about what your clothes say about you and how they make you feel about yourself, the 13-15 year-olds need to fit in does dictate a lot of what they wear and why. They believe that their parents have shaped their morals but that their culture is shaped by their peers. This is the basis of what forms their identity at this age. Social media makes it perfectly clear what’s cool and what’s not, creating a set of guidelines that, if followed, ensure social acceptance. The nuances in how this information is interpreted are where they feel they are carving our their own character. It’s a tough time for them.

“From primary school to secondary school, changes are big. In primary school you don’t have a phone, you don’t care, you have a limited number of people you hang out with… Secondary school you get a phone and you meet new people. Everyone is just trying to impress everyone else. Everyone is trying to be as popular as they can because you don’t want to be the awkward kid in the corner.”

“People are trying to be different but they end up being the same. Because everyone is trying to be so different… like in Dalston. It’s not authentic.” (16-19)

However, upon occasion, they talk about when they had been less superficial in judging people by their looks and were sometimes pleasantly surprised they gave people a chance. And so they start looking for diversity more and more at this age and widening the sources of their morphing characters. They love London for being so diverse and this group also bring in the idea of ethnicity and heritage as a way they identify themselves. The 20-25 year-olds introduce the idea of values, interests and academia, further widening their identity roots. Surprisingly, music isn’t big for the older group as they are more likely to appreciate several different genres, but both older samples feel influenced stylistically by more grass roots celebrities i.e. Lucienne Clark rather than Rita Ora. All in all, though, our audiences do not identify with just one style/look/persona. They wanted to experiment and are happy to let their identity be fluid.

“I think we can be experimental with our dress sense with more and more brands being born every day. There’s just more people who are concerned about how they look, potentially because of social media. We can feel alive through experimenting with fashion and clothes.” (20-25)

(13-15),

Similarly for 16-19 year olds, clothes are the most important signifier of what social group a person is in. As people’s clothes begin to express their identities more and more, they end up hanging out with people who dress like themselves without realising it as it denotes their interests and can seal friendships. They have an idea of how older generations see them but in their own minds they are striving for authenticity.

3. Youth in Transition | Gender, identity and social media

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But some things never change, right? We are all used to hearing the debates on segmenting young audiences by tribes and how identity is not as linear as it once was when one chose the punk, mod, hippy, etc. lifestyle. Amplify has found that one of the most stable and defining traits of identity traditionally, gender, is open to interpretation by youth today.

“As generations have gone on I think people have woken up to the reality that gender roles can be broken and they were restricted in the first place. Sometimes the goals intertwine and they do a lot more now than they did in previous generations.” (20-25)

All groups acknowledge that men and women have had very different roles in the past but this is a changing attitude.

“Even now women still don’t get paid as much as men do in most fields and I think now they realise that that’s wrong and not fair, therefore trying harder.” (16-19)

Across all the age groups women are leading this change in every aspect7, from buying more products (esp. clothes) aimed at men, to having more accepting and less judgemental views on genderrelated issues. All our samples see themselves as more accepting than past generations, though – more exposed to different people and lifestyles.

These young people have found the final frontier to demonstrate that identity, for them, can be completely fluid. At the most extreme end, nonbinary individuals, are challenging our most deeply rooted views on gender, whilst at the more mainstream end people are becoming more comfortable buying gender-neutral products and challenging gender-specific goods. Although gender-neutral products are pleasing to female customers, brands that offer these risk alienating men who are more reluctant to buy items which are aimed at, or used by, women. More than a third of respondents (38%) have knowingly bought a product that’s targeted at the opposite sex, but women are more relaxed about it: 45% say that they were happy to do so, compared to 30% of men. From the earliest age, where arguably gender roles are established, we see a similar story. When shopping for toys, games and books, around a third of men favour gendered products: 30% say that toys and games should be gender-specific (compared to 20% of women), and 32% say that video games should be genderspecific (compared to 21% of women). The only product which men and women agree should be gender-specific is fragrance: more than two-thirds (68%) say that they would prefer to buy products aimed at their own sex.

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39% of women say that clothes should not be

gender specific, compared to 26% of men, and

50% of women say that shoes and trainers should not be, compared to 40% of men.

“Society has changed… now we’re seeing gay marriage as part of society. And the way people react to people in the media like Caitlyn Jenner – my mum doesn’t understand but my generation are used to it. We see this in daily life.” (16-19)

3. Youth in Transition | Gender, identity and social media

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Do they worship social media as much as we think they do? Social media is a defining factor of these generations and it is inextricably ingrained into their lives. Their phones are their lifelines but they don’t see this as age related, as we are led to believe, it’s technology and connection related.

“When you’re on a train or walking, people are always looking down. It’s a bad thing. But I don’t know how you can change it now – I need my phone, I’d feel lost and out of the world.” (20-25)

Being on social media makes them feel connected, informed and, for the most part, good about themselves for keeping in touch with/being part of a circle of friends. For 13-15 year-olds, social media speeds up the process of getting to know someone – they can forge deeper friendships at a faster rate as they can see behaviour 24/7. However, when asked what their life would be like without it, they felt it could actually be better. They envision proper conversations with each other, wasting less time, less feeling low when they’re not involved in the fun and less comparing themselves to their peers. The older groups see the value of social media in terms of organisation, social life, global conversations and heightened knowledge. They are less consumed by peer to peer comparison and use social media to stay connected and to bring people together. But more than that, as a news source, a way to give them a voice and empower them. They see the benefits of social media for brands and music, to spread the word about important causes and to access uncensored media. It’s so much bigger than status updates and what happened on the weekend.

“Through social media I have learnt where to buy cheaper clothes, make-up tricks and outfit ideas, which before social media I struggled with.” (20-25)

When asked how life would be without social media, the response was overwhelmingly positive – surprising for a group that love it so much. Interestingly also, the conversation about platforms always goes hand-in-hand with their access point, so mobile is almost used interchangeably with social media.

“It would help me get on with my work more because SM is a massive distraction from work and no one can deny that. But also I’d kind of feel lost from friends, and I would feel trapped. And maybe lonely at times because its so nice to have the ability to talk to someone easily.” (16-19)

They feel that although making plans and staying in touch with people might be a bit more difficult, it would open up a world for them: physically socialising, talking to people as individuals not groups, reading, working and generally less procrastinating. They would also definitely miss the information and news that is currently available at their fingertips.

3. Youth in Transition | Gender, identity and social media

19


But is this looking through rose tinted glasses? When asked how they felt without their phones, they stated disconnected, sad, frustrated and irritated. More than being out of touch, phones are part of their daily routine that affects every bit of their lives. The 20-25s were slightly more positive about being without their phones but it was unthinkable for the 16-19 year-olds. The disconnect between the dream and the reality is palpable.

“There would be less quick interaction and joke sharing around momentary events. Organising events would be costly and time consuming.”

“I shouldn’t rely on it as much as I do.” (20-25)

All of this suggests that their negativity toward social media is inherited rather than ‘home-grown’. In short, social media makes them happy – they love it and it is very unlikely that there will be a future for them without it. They use it productively and for as much as they can, but they still feel the need to express guilt over time spent on it. Therefore, if it were socially acceptable to love social media without any residual regret or guilt, we believe they would.

(20-25)

Almost unanimously across the groups, they expressed either guilt at this or regret at how addicted they were to their phones, but none suggested any change they were willing to make.

3. Youth in Transition | Gender, identity and social media

20


4. Consuming Youth Instant gratification and disposable ethics

21


Are young people still spending all their money on booze and computer games? As discussed, our audience are infinitely realistic when it comes to success – they don’t see huge riches as the ultimate goal and they definitely don’t want to be consumed by money. We found that they want enough to be comfortable with the basics and to be able to travel, socialise, etc. but also to be able to help others. They are more altruistic in their outlook than we expected.

“It’s not about money, it’s about being fulfilled in a wholesome sense – being mindful, caring for others, caring for oneself in a healthy, wellbeing kind of way.” (20-25)

Contrary to assumption, our youngest audience, 13-15 year-olds, has the highest percentage of disposable income8. Twentysomethings spend more on food (23%) and socialising (17%), presumably because they live a more independent lifestyle and spend more time away from the family home. The fact that younger teenagers have fewer financial commitments and, potentially, a higher disposable income, is reflected in their spending habits. They spend the most in every category apart from food, and spend more than average on technology (25%) and hobbies (12%). When young people have money to spend, clothes are by far the most popular purchase. A third say that they spend most of their cash on clothing (over indexing on women and 13-15 year-olds), while just under a quarter say that they spend more on technology. A lot of spending goes on socialising and on food but they do feel that buying an item of clothing or tech is better value as you get more use out of it.

The five most popular purchases are: 33%

Clothes

23%

Technology

16%

Food

14%

Socialising

9%

Hobbies

Our audiences enjoy shopping offline for clothes but will always go online for the prices. We found some universal truths across all age groups: they hate the process of returning online purchases and they hate paying for delivery. Still, they are cautious and conscious shoppers and their behaviour is a far cry from the stereotype that all their income is spent on alcohol and computer games. 8

Interestingly, their satisfaction from new clothes is threefold (but short-lived): the initial satisfaction of owning it (especially if they have bought it online as the parcel feels like a present in itself), the first wear and the first compliment. The life of the item then comes to an abrupt end. Teens were particularly conscious of wearing the same outfit on social media more than once.

“Dresses I’ll only wear once… That sounds really wasteful. If I’ve not taken pictures in it I might wear it again.

We found, weekly income:

13-15: £40 or less

depends what their parents give them / impulse buy them (100% disposable)

16-19: £40

(combination of necessity and disposable)

20-25: £100

(greatest % of which is spent on necessities)

(16-19)

4. Consuming Youth | Instant gratification and disposable ethics

22


Does having a social conscience change their shopping habits?

Are they irresponsible with their money, spending more than they have?

With their need for disposable fashion comes ethical dilemmas. They are aware and often painfully conscious of workers’ rights, unethical sourcing and environmental impact, and generally understand buying cheap clothes/goods means someone, somewhere has to suffer for it. But they care about appearances and they are on display through social media more than ever.

To be honest, we found that overspending on credit seems to be a trait of previous generations. These are much more conscious about what they spend.

“There is a part of me that walks into Primark that worries that it’s been made in a sweatshop… but then it’s local and reasonably priced. I think it’s unfortunate that costs and ethics are at odds.” (16-19)

They respect brands like Toms that help them feel they have made a social statement and helped someone else with their purchase but they don’t always trust what they are being told about where their goods come from.

“You might have a Primark factory next to a Gucci factory, so I don’t know where to look for ethical clothing.” (16-19)

Despite their willingness to spend money on branded goods, more than nine out of ten young people have savings: just 8% say that they don’t have savings at all. More than four out of ten have shortterm savings to put towards the cost of clothes, technology or holidays, but over a quarter (27%) are saving for the longterm, so that they can buy a house or car, or set up a business. When younger teens do save money, they are more likely to save for short-term goals (51%), while around a quarter of all respondents say that they are saving for both short- and long-term goals. The youngest age group like to save as it gives them more fulfillment being able to pay for desired goods themselves. They want to feel independent and not reliant on their family. Men, it seems, are more likely to have savings than women, and are also more likely to have long-term savings9. Most long-term savers are to be found in London (35%), where high property prices demand a serious commitment to saving money. In fact, Londoners are the most committed to saving (only 6% don’t have savings), while around one in seven Scots (14%) admit that they have no savings at all.

9

29% of men compared to 25% of women.

Their dedication to saving suggests that our older audience is willing to set aside shortterm gratification in favour of achieving long-term financial/lifestyle goals. As house prices continue to rise, and student debt continues to grow, young people must start saving as soon as they start earning if they wish to get a foot on the property ladder.

4. Consuming Youth | Instant gratification and disposable ethics

23


How are they finding work-arounds for their difficult financial situation? Changing ideas of ownership could make it easier for young people to save money. They are already accustomed to streaming music and movies – often for free. It’s usually more cost effective to rent or share items like clothes, cars and even pets, than it is to own them outright, and they are beginning to explore these sharing schemes. Young people have long been familiar with the concept of sharing music, and there’s nothing new about hiring, rather than owning films. Unsurprisingly, these are the products that respondents feel most comfortable with sharing: 40% would rather rent music, and more than half would rather rent films than own them. However, there are some products that they feel it is important to own outright. 86% say that they would prefer to own clothes rather than rent them, and a similar number (81%) say that they would rather own shoes. Generally, men are more open to the idea of rental than women10. However, they are reluctant to rent gaming consoles and cars. 73% women feel that it’s more important to own handbags and are less keen on renting or sharing a pet11. But we are seeing attitudes changing and feel that it won’t be long before the idea of access is as socially acceptable as ownership. As more items become easily available to share or rent, it’s likely that more young people will become more comfortable with these opportunities. Early adopters in London are already more willing to share or rent, perhaps because busy city life and reduced storage space in urban homes makes renting or sharing a more attractive option. For this reason, brands could do well to explore rental or shared ownership schemes, so that they can serve this demographic in new and varied ways. For 13-15 year-olds, they are much happier to rent than own, there doesn’t seem to be any stigma attached to it. There are things that are essential to own but all come under tech. As the groups get older there are slightly more restrictions on what you must own yourself. The 16-19’s think clothes should be owned

but, as we have seen, clothes are key for them in determining identity and they want to be as unique as possible. So we have seen that these generations are responsible with their money and have savings. They have learned from the mistakes of past generations and although they accept they will have some debt, they are also looking for ways to work around their financial situations.

“I’m happy to buy stuff second hand from vintage shops, charity shops and eBay to save money.” (16-19)

Many 20-25 year-olds are choosing to live with parents or partners who earn more money, covering just food shopping and some bills rather than rent. They believe they need to use their 20’s to try and save rather than wasting it on rent if they can. Those who are renting find their wages only cover their rent and bills with very little left to save. If they want to buy property they’ll move out to suburbs or a new city. To stay in London will mean renting.

“London’s my home and it means I’m going to be pushed out of my hometown… I don’t like thinking about it, and it makes me sad. We’ll be the first generation to not have the option to buy, and now it’s impossible unless you’re really well paid.” (16-19) All groups expressed a desire to own their own homes at some point but were sadly realistic about the chances of that. Their work-around is to think about sharing homes or moving to other cities. They realise they are the first generation for which buying where you are born may not be possible.

4. Consuming Youth | Instant gratification and disposable ethics

10

13% of men would rather rent clothes, compared to 8% of women, and 13% would rather rent shoes, compared to 9% of women.

11

63% of women compared to 51% of men.

24


5. From Council Estate to Catwalk Brands – cultured or contrived?

25


Is using celebrity the best way to get young audiences to pay attention to new products? Although they love celebrity, the thing that matters least to young audiences is celebrity endorsement (30% say that this is unimportant). They understand the relationship between celebrity and brand more than any other audience and even though they are accepting of product placement and paid promotion through YouTube influencers, for example, they rate recommendations from friends as much more important (44%). They feel celebrity doesn’t make them want to buy the specific products but there was some commentary around grime being linked to Adidas almost exclusively – like a uniform – with Adidas’ use of Stormzy as a brand ambassador.

“They try and do it to get to younger people – but we’re not dumb, we know they’ve been paid to do that.” (16-19)

When young people want to find out about new products or brands, more than six out of ten go straight to search engines to learn more. Women are more likely than men to learn about new products from adverts12, and they are much more likely than men to discover brands through social media13. Older groups, aged 20-25, tend to find out more by going online (38%) and in store (41%). Across the board, half of young people are more likely to try a new brand if they have received a personal recommendation. It doesn’t seem to matter whether this recommendation comes from friends, trusted bloggers or social influencers, and this is particularly true for female customers. Recommendation is a key way for women to find out more about brands, with 46% taking recommendations from friends, and 17% turning to blogs and review sites.

In general, 20-somethings are more likely to use blogs and review sites and, significantly, all groups were willing to promote or recommend brands to other people even if they hadn’t yet purchased the brand themselves. Of those who have done this, most have done so simply because they have heard great things about the brand (59%), because they like the brand but can’t afford it (39%), or because they trust the brand based on its success (23%). What do these young people look for in a brand? Sportswear brands feature heavily on the cool list for 16-19s, and not just mainstream sports but also niche activities such as skateboarding and climbing. They like innovative brands with iconic design and a purpose that keeps them authentic, such as Vans. They prefer brands that feel laid back and although they might admire couture brands, they are not top of mind as they are out of reach for this audience.

“Palace. They originated as a small skate brand. They still have a realness about them.” (16-19) Interestingly, when asked about brands, only one person in the 16-19 age group talked about brands outside of fashion and those were in tech – Sony and Apple. For 20-25s their understanding and involvement in brand worlds is a lot wider and takes in food, social media, make-up and tech/app brands.

5. From Council Estate to Catwalk | Brands – cultured or contrived?

12

48%, compared to 43% of men.

13

41% do this, compared to 33% of men.

26


How do they approach a potential purchase? When considering a potential purchase, retailers and brands shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that younger customers are more interested in style than substance; quality and price are key considerations. More than half of our sample say that quality is extremely important, and just fewer than half say that price is extremely important. Quality matters most to the older age groups14, and price matters least to younger teens15, perhaps because this age group is less likely to be buying products themselves, with their own money. To entice 13-15 year-olds in, you need to do more than just win them over with your brand. The opinion of their peers matters to young teens, as do those of their parents. In addition, fashion and trends matter most to young teens, with 46% of 13-15 year-olds saying that this is important, compared to 27% of 20-25 year-olds. These audiences are more likely to try something new if they have been offered a trial (45%), or received a discount or promotion (42%). A trial is most likely to entice those aged 20-25, while women are more easily persuaded by a discount16. Good advertising can also pay dividends, as can experiencing the product in a cool, interactive way.

“When innocent stopped doing their vegpots they replied to me saying ‘we liked them too’ and you feel important when a big company responds. It’s silly but it makes you happy.” (20-25)

The desire for brands and retailers to address their younger customers’ individuality is already evident in our audiences’ enthusiasm for customisation: 45% say that they feel slightly more attached to a brand when they are able to customise products, and 27% say that they feel very much more connected to a brand when they can put their own stamp on a product, rising to 47% among respondents from London.

14

58% of 16-19 and 56% of 20-25 year-olds say this, compared to 49% of 13-15 year-olds.

15

43% of 13-15 year-olds say this is extremely

important, compared to 50% of 16-19 year-olds.

We can already see younger customers engaging with brands on social networks in the same way that they chat to friends and family, and brands should work hard to facilitate this relationship. It’s vital to build relationships with trusted bloggers and social influencers, as their approval and recommendations can encourage young people to engage with a new brand, as well as extending a brand’s reach across social media channels. 16

47%, compared to 37% of men.

Looking to the future, young people will expect to have an ongoing conversation with their favourite brands, and will expect a brand to understand and anticipate their unique, personal requirements.

5. From Council Estate to Catwalk | Brands – cultured or contrived?

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How much should brands share young peoples’ values and culture? Brands that share their values make young people feel good about themselves. Corporate social responsibility and transparent brand values are important to them but the younger audience struggle to name the brands who do this. The 20-25s were more vocal about sustainability, locally made and not avoiding corporate taxes. They generally see the benefit of brands having CSR and see brands as having power to change things that they cannot.

“I like Nike but I don’t like their values so I try not to buy their stuff ” (16-19)

There are several brands that feel part of youth culture to this audience. Nike and Adidas lead the way with other sportswear brands not far behind, Palace and Supreme specifically. Clothing brands that are casual, comfortable and importantly accessible, win with this audience as these are the ones they have most interaction and experience with. Brands that have successfully linked themselves to youth music are also clear winners e.g. Adidas and Converse.

“The [brands] that feel part of youth culture (not just ones that youths wear) are usually created by younger people or cool minded people, like Palace. They’re huge now and ridiculously expensive but they did start as a small skating brand.” (16-19)

Overall, they wish brands would do more in creating value for the consumer. This can be in terms of sales and discounts or even extending their own brands (e.g. ASOS) into other lines where their brand would provide a quality assurance for a cheaper price. Young audiences want more genuine interaction with the brand through experiences other than shopping. Pop ups and promotional events where fans can engage with the brand were seen as highly desirable.

“I wish brands would do more events… just something out there that I can engage myself with. More opportunities for customers to engage with the brand, other than simply buying their clothes.” (16-19)

From the older audience (20-25), there was some desire for brands to do more in terms of social good, environment, ensuring a fair supply chain, etc. They feel that brands are empowered to take on this role where government has failed and they look to their favourite brands to represent their concerns in this way. They love Pret giving their leftovers to the homeless, Abokado and Itsu being healthy and good for you, Waitrose and sustainability.

“When you see labels saying it’s sustainable then you don’t even have to think about it – and it begins to resonate that other places don’t promote this and therefore probably aren’t.” (20-25)

Tech brands are also seen as representative of youth culture, as are social media brands and apps like WhatsApp, etc. There are many sub groups in youth culture but everyone uses the technology and so it becomes the common denominator amongst them.

5. From Council Estate to Catwalk | Brands – cultured or contrived?

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6. Branded Youth The knife edge of content and communication

29


What kind of things should brands be talking to these young people about? For all groups, sports brands were top of mind and their communication was called out immediately. There is a big trend towards ‘athleisure’: everything from sports leggings to the ‘waist trainer’, as worn by Kim Kardashian and promoted on her Instagram. So news about sport brand collaborations are seen as fun and interesting but there needs to be a good reason for them. Partnerships need to make sense for this audience, otherwise it is not authentic and that is just about as bad as you get for a brand.

“Adidas used the rapper Stormzy in a campaign, and now he’s got really big. So if you’re into him, you’ll wear Adidas. I think it’s good when they bring people up... I don’t care if it’s a paid partnership, Stormzy seems like someone who wouldn’t wear something he didn’t want to.” (16-19)

These audiences have a really good understanding of the brand world and their own ideas on how brands should be speaking to them. They enjoy emotional and intellectual interaction to make them feel like they are being entertained and not patronised.

“Brands I’ve had respect for over the last couple of years are Converse and Vans when they talk to youth culture… They are forming art spaces or spaces for music and performances and films. Converse were responsible for the Copeland car park in Peckham that had some really good venues and food… And a skate park… They made some effort to engage people on a physical level where people could enjoy going out and not having the brand in their face.” (20-25)

They do want to know about the actual products though, and functional messaging on platforms such as Instagram is great for reaching them with product news. We’ve seen that although they are happy to engage in a dialogue with brands, they will do so strictly on their own terms. Three in ten will post videos or ads from a brand on the social network if they approve of the quality of the content, with women taking a less discerning view than men17. A similarly low amount will post branded content that they like, and 23% will post it only if it relates to a cool brand – this is particularly true of image conscious young teenagers. However, around one in eight of our audience will never share ads or videos in this way unless the brand gets it so wrong that they can laugh at it with their friends, which demonstrates just how hard to please they are.

6. Branded Youth | The knife edge of content and communication

17

32% women versus 27% men.

30


And what should brands be avoiding? Brands that get it wrong on social media are using the wrong social channels for their products/messages e.g. they felt M&S was wrong for Instagram. Their pet peeves when it comes to brand experience digitally range from content that is excessively long or pre-rolls that interrupt the social media experience, and of course, anything that uses clickbait or videos with false promises. It’s therefore vital for brands to get the tone exactly right as there will almost certainly be repercussions if the recipient doesn’t support a brand’s actions or ethos. Almost half (45%) of respondents would refuse to buy their products if they disliked or disagreed with a brand, and almost a third would buy another brand instead as well as stop following the brand on social channels.

“I don’t follow brands that get anything wrong, why would I follow them if they’re getting it wrong? It just makes me angry looking at their stupid, boring posts.” (20-25)

As much as we’ve see them portrayed as the ‘moaning on Twitter’ generation, only relatively few are prepared to make some noise when they disagree with a brand: 27% will share their thoughts on social media; 26% will advise people against a brand; only 11% will join a physical demonstration. And only a small minority of customers in these age groups will contact a brand directly (13%) or on social networks (8%), which gives brands and retailers a limited opportunity to respond or rectify. They have so much choice, it’s imperative to get it right the first time. Can a brand ever get the right tone on social media? Brands that do get it right on social media are those keeping it real, being authentic, being responsive, and interacting with brand fans. They treat them like real and individual people, getting product information across without being too aggressive about it. When engaging with a brand, most respondents say that it’s crucial for a brand to talk to them about their lifestyle (36%, rising to 38% of those aged 13-15). Three in ten say that a brand should talk to them in a way that shows an

awareness and understanding of their age. This is particularly important to younger teens: 34% of 13-15 year-olds feel this way. More than a quarter of respondents say that brands should talk to them about their attitude to the world – this matters most to those who live in London (29%). Fewer than a quarter feel that a brand should talk to them as a gender, but the overall picture is that they don’t want to be seen as a homogenous group. All audiences love life hacks and don’t get bored by them. They may only use a select few but it is a good way to reach them as a brand and demonstrate that you are seeing them as individuals and thinking about their needs With all this demand for individuality, you would expect customisation, the very epitome of individuality, to be hugely popular. We found that more than half of our audience felt more attached to a brand when able to customise products Fig 3, with it being most important for our 13-15 year-olds suggesting that they value creative expression within defined boundaries (of accepted clothing). However it was accepted that brands are working hard to provide a good variety of products, and often they got more excited about a new design/style than being able to put their own mark on it.

Fig 3

Does the ability to customise your own products make you feel more attached to a brand? 26.7%

Yes, very much

44.8%

Yes, slighty

20%

It doesn’t make any difference to me

8.5%

No

“I think there’s so much choice, that by getting a pair that no one’s got you’re basically customising.” (20-25)

These findings indicate that brands must work hard to tailor their communications if they wish to appeal to youth audiences, as blanket emails or posts are unlikely to engage this audience. Showing an understanding of the age, attitudes and priorities of this age group will help to personalise branded communications, thereby increasing engagement and brand loyalty. It’s important to recognise that it’s younger teens who are particularly keen to establish a personal understanding and connection – a desire that should not be overlooked, given the increasing spending power of the under-16s.

6. Branded Youth | The knife edge of content and communication

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7. Defining a Generation Getting under the skin of Britain’s Youth

32


This paper started with the premise that it is inaccurate to define a generation as having one single view on the world and we have shown that attitudes change gradually between the generations, not suddenly with them. We have found that the youngest Millennials have more in common with Gen Z than they do with the eldest Millennials, but there are some defining features that run throughout our young audience. What defines their generation? Unsurprisingly, the response was predominantly around the Internet, information and connectivity. They feel that society is more open minded and diverse as a consequence, and this gives them cause to be more opinionated than previous generations. Cheap flights have made the world accessible for them and the Internet has made the world smaller and given them a voice.

“Social activity and friendships have been enhanced because of social media because we’re all connected all the time. It allows us to bond more and get to know each other more.” (16-19)

They recognise themselves as the first generation that has to worry about the environment and also the first that would not own houses or be able to afford weddings.

“Our use of technology to steer the direction of innovation. Our voting patterns are ignored and our spending power is limited to propping up the mortgages of previous generations.” (20-25)

They feel defined by their own fashion, style and creativity. What is the biggest difference between their generations and the ones before? Most answers again came to rest at the doorstep of the use of technology and freedom of communication. They feel that although everything is more complicated, they have access to limitless information and therefore choice and opportunity. They celebrate the new and less conventional careers and education paths that mean more young people have the opportunity to succeed. This chance to do something they love for a living feeds perfectly into their evolved ideas of happiness and success.

“We have bigger horizons, we can learn quicker than they can. We have much more information. It gives us so much more power, we just have a much more open world than they did back then.” (20-25)

7. Defining a Generation | Getting under the skin of Britain’s Youth

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What defines them as individuals?

What are they most interested in?

Everything from education to personal style, underpinned by friends, family and work has an influence on how they define themselves. But they feel that their drive and ambition make a strong statement about them over and above any generation before them – drive and ambition to live life to the fullest, through experience and experimenting with styles, freedom of expression, hobbies, music, etc. They are genuinely excited and positive about their lives.

They are interested in everything new and ground-breaking, from music to tech. It is an essential part of their human experience and therefore they are less likely to be brand or product loyal. How could they when they feel their thirst for the novel is driving innovation? However, the wider opinion is that their entire social and cultural experience is vital to them. The ideas of mindfulness and living in the moment are ones they are familiar with and therefore they find things to be fascinated by in their every day.

What does youth culture mean to them? This is a key part of their identity and one they were eager to own. They feel youth culture is something that they have created and curated to add to the mainstream. Some of this is expectedly fun and carefree but there are also some very definite serious agendas including creating real change in the world. Youth culture is the shared experiences that bind them together – whether that be social, cultural, creative or political.

“Politics, religion, fashion, music, society in general. The landscape of change, the fluctuation of things as a whole.” (16-19)

“To me it means, or should mean, progression and a drive for change. Artistic and cultural expression. Empowerment, equality and inclusivity.” (20-25)

7. Defining a Generation | Getting under the skin of Britain’s Youth

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Data

NB: The following data is a representation of the complete set, which can be cut by age, gender, region and city. Please contact Amplify if you are interested in discussing a specific set.

35


Q1. What do you spend most of your money on? Socialising

Hobbies

Food

Experiences

Technology

22.7% 17.3%

25.4% 24.2% 21.7%

13.1%

12.1% 11.4%

12.4%

9.6%

9.6% 6.9%

Clothes

2.6% 1.2% 39%

36.7%

13-15 year-olds

16-19 year-olds

3.6%

Other

1% 2.2% 2.9%

25.7%

20-25 year-olds

Q2. Do the majority of your savings go towards short-term products (e.g. holidays/clothes) or long- term (e.g. deposit on a house/saving up for a business)? Short-term products

51% 39.8% 36.9%

19%

Long-term

29.4% 27.5%

20.8%

Equal split

22.2% 28.2%

I do not have any savings

9.2% 8.6% 7.4%

13-15 year-olds 16-19 year-olds 20-25 year-olds

Data

36


Q3. Would you rather spend money buying the following things, or would you be happy having access to them through renting/ sharing services? I would rather own

I would rather access through

Not relevant to me

renting / sharing services

53.5%

50.3%

38.1%

41.6%

8.4%

8%

81.2%

89.4%

13.4%

7.7%

5.5%

2.9%

50.9%

63%

12.5%

11.3%

36.6%

25.7%

28.8%

73.4%

12.9%

12.6%

58.3%

14%

42.5%

38.4%

50.6%

53.7%

6.9%

7.9%

76.5%

85.6%

12.8%

8.9%

10.7%

5.5%

78.4%

57.5%

14.4%

19.7%

7.2%

22.8%

60.7%

56%

18.3%

14.3%

21%

29.8%

Music (e.g. Spotify)

Clothes (e.g. girlmeetsdress.com, Moss Bros)

Pets (e.g. Borrowmydoggy.com)

Handbags (e.g. fashionhire.co.uk)

Films (e.g. Blockbusters, Netflix)

Shoes (e.g. cinderellame.com)

Gaming Consoles (e.g. gemsnfx.com)

Cars (e.g. Zipcar)

Male Female

Data

37


Q4. What are your biggest fears about the future? (Percentages derived from full base sample)

43.4%

Job

42.8%

Finances

34%

Health

27.9%

Making correct life choices

19.8%

Being lonely

15.7%

Death

15.2%

War + Terrorism

8.3%

Not being true to yourself

8.1%

Environment

4.6%

Being creatively stifled

3.6%

Losing your integrity

3.6%

Being Individual I do not have any fears about the future Other

3.4% 1.2%

Q5. Which of the following factors would you classify as being unhealthy? 13-15

16-19

20-25

66%

70.8%

65.7%

61.4%

62.9%

63.2%

57.2%

63.5%

53.8%

28.2%

27.7%

27.5%

17.4%

15.7%

18.2%

11.2%

10.5%

9.6%

3.4%

3.3%

3.8%

Someone who eats lots of fast food

Excessive drinking

Someone who doesn’t exercise

Someone who has an illness

Someone who takes medication everyday

History of illness in the family

None of the above

Data

38


Q6. How would you define success?

45.8% 44.6% 43.4% 41.4%

38.2% 36.8%

37.1%

Having a successful career

Being happy

35.9%

36.2%

33.6%

31.5% 30.5%

26.8%

26.6%

25.2% Good health

Making a lot of money

Achieving life goals

Having a family

26.4%

26.1%

25.2%

Owning a house 12.4%

10.5% 10.1% 9.6%

6.6%

13-15 year-olds 16-19 year-olds

2.2% 2.2% 1.2%

Other

2.7%

Don’t know

4.2%

I do not know how to define success

Getting married / falling in love

9.3%

Having a good car

11.7% 11.6%

Having friends

13.2%

12.6%

0.9% 0.5% 0.4%

0.7% 0.5% 0.4%

20-25 year-olds

Data

39


Q7. How important are the below factors when making a purchase? (Percentages derived from full base sample)

Extremely important

Important

Unimportant

Not important at all

18.5%

22.5%

30.3%

28.7%

16%

43.2%

26.4%

14.4%

23.8%

51.8%

17.6%

6.8%

23.4%

50.5%

18%

8%

32.4%

48.5%

14.8%

4.3%

46.8%

43.1%

7.5%

2.6%

55.1%

36.6%

6.1%

2.2%

34.3%

52%

10.3%

3.4%

23%

45.2%

25.9%

5.9%

22%

40.7%

24.9%

12.3%

Celebrity endorsements

Seeing the brand/product on social media

Opinions of peers

Opinions of family members

Experiencing the product/brand before you buy

Price

Quality

Specific for the purpose

Product has many uses

On trend/trendy

Data

40


%

33

.4

%

6% 5.

25

%

.2

32

4%

hin g

t

No

ad

sh

ha

infl

an

e

nc

ue

on m

ity

nt

de

yi

6.9

.8%

%

Be

lie

fs

48.9

55.4%

57.2%

Friends

1.7%

2.1%

1.4%

r he Ot

Q8. Which of the below most have an influence on your identity?

ts

n re Pa

.6%

8%

30

7.2%

%

30.2

8%

32.2%

What is on

trend

Things you

own

20.2%

10.4% 11.4%

20.3%

12.4%

19%

Wh

ere

You r

9.9

13

you

han

go

ut

%

.6%

cult

ure

13

19

.1%

.8%

14

22

.6

.4

%

ho

W

%

u

e Th

yo

u yo r ea

w

.8%

18

%

13.6

s you

Brand

17.4%

15.9%

se

rew

ou g

rhoo dy

choo

ou

ighb

13.9%

6%

ia

ed

The ne

12.

.7%

s

10

es

th

clo

%

on

.2% 15

14

w

fo llo al m

oc i

up / live in

13-15 year-olds 16-19 year-olds 20-25 year-olds

Data

41


Q9. Where do you find out about new products/brands? (Percentages derived from full base sample)

60.9%

Search engines (e.g. Google) 45.4%

Seeing adverts

43.7%

Recommendations from my friends

39%

Seeing it in store 37%

Social media

36.6%

Seeing it online

35.6%

Visiting brand websites 18.6%

Seeing celebrities use it 15.1%

Blogs / review sites 9.1%

Older people wearing/using it

8.2%

Visiting other countries I do not find out about new products/brands Other

1.6% 1.1%

Q10. What do you look for most in a brand? (Percentages derived from full base sample)

69.6%

Quality 61.1%

Price 31.6% Design

19.8%

How authentic it is 13.4%

Popularity amongst friends/ peers

10.4%

How unique it is

8.9%

How long it’s been around

8.2%

Produced ethically

7.8%

Something that makes a statement about me

6.5%

Something I can promote/ be proud of

4.4%

Locally made I do not look for anything in a brand Other

Data

1.6% 0.6%

42


Q11. What are you most likely to do in order to rebel?

Break the rule s

on

l ’t

ike

m

37.2%

w ha t

Id

le ob pr he t k ac /h

Fin d

aw

ay

to

ch

an

ge

36%

28.8% Iw

ou

ld n r re eve

25.7%

27.4%

bel

19.7%

15.6% 0.8% 0.7% 0.6%

15.7%

10.1%

14.6% 8.2%

12.1%

11.5% 19.4%

he Ot

r

15.8%

Do so m

et

hin g

yo u

kn ow yo

ur

pa

s nt re

s er ch ea /t

uld wo

ve pro ap dis

of

Break the law 13-15 year-olds 16-19 year-olds 20-25 year-olds

Data

43


Q12. What would make you try a new brand?

Personal recommendation

43.4% 51.2% 48.8%

41.4%

Trial

45.5% 46.8%

36.4%

Discounts / Promotions

45.5% 41.6%

Good advertising

35.2% 39.8% 36.7%

29.2%

Experiencing it in a cool, interactive way

30.4% 27.7%

A good salesperson

10.8% 14.5% 10.6%

16.2%

Celebrity recommendation 12.5% 7.8%

2%

Nothing would make me try a new brand

2.2% 1.8%

1.8%

Other

1.9% 1.3%

13-15 year-olds 16-19 year-olds 20-25 year-olds

Data

44


Q13. Is being included in a WhatsApp group more important than attending a social event? They’re the same thing to me

up is gro App hats taW is p wha rou now pg n’t k s sAp pi I do hat rou aW pg hat Ap ww ats kno Wh n’t ta I do ha ww no ’t k on Id

6.8%

%

7.7%

6.2

s Ye ni

te

ly

es

% .4

25.6

s

time

ome

s Yes,

%

metim

Yes, so

20.2%

18.5%

14

13

.4

%

ly

%

7.5

.6 %

te

16

ni

ly

efi

efi

te ni

,d

efi

Ye s

,d

5.8%

%

6.5

,d

Ye s

52.2% No

No

%

No

53.9%

44.8

13-15 year-olds 16-19 year-olds 20-25 year-olds

Data

45


Q14. Have you ever promoted a brand to a friend/colleague/ stranger that you haven’t purchased before? (Percentages derived from full base sample) 17.7%

Yes, several times

29.2%

Yes, a few times 20% Yes, at least once

15.2%

No, but considered it

17.8%

Never

Q15. If you have promoted a brand to a friend/colleague/stranger that you haven’t purchased before, why? (Percentages derived from full base sample) 58.9%

I have heard great things about it

38.5%

I like the brand but can’t afford the products.

22.9%

I trust the brand based on its success

7.7%

I feel like I can relate to it Other

1.3%

Q16. Does the ability to customise your own products make you feel more attached to a brand? (e.g. personalised shoes, phone covers, etc.) (Percentages derived from full base sample) 26.7%

Yes, very much

44.8%

Yes, slightly 20%

It doesn’t make any difference to me

8.5%

No

Q17. Would you ever post videos, photos, ads, etc. from brands on your own social media channels? (Percentages derived from full base sample)

29.6%

Depends on the quality of the content

27.9%

Yes, if I like it 22.7%

Yes, but only if it’s a cool brand

15.5%

Never N/A I do not have social media channels

Data

4.3%

46


Q18. Which of these products should be gender-specific or nongender-specific? Gender-specific

Non-gender-specific

74%

61.4%

26%

38.6%

53.6%

46.3%

46.4%

53.7%

59.8%

50.5%

40.2%

49.5%

30%

20%

70%

80%

32%

21.2%

68%

78.8%

69.7%

67.1%

30.3%

32.9%

23.9%

16.2%

76.1%

83.8%

24.1%

15.5%

75.9%

84.5%

24.4%

16.4%

75.6%

83.6%

Clothes

Hair products

Shoes/trainers

Toys/board games

Video games

Fragrances

Music

Books

Drinks (including alcohol)

Male Female

Data

47


Q19. If you disliked/disagreed with a brand, which of the following would you do? (Percentages derived from full base sample) 45.3%

Refuse to buy their products 30.8%

Choose to buy another brand instead

29.8%

Stop following them on social media

27.2%

Share your thoughts on social media

25.7%

Advise people against them 12.5%

Contact them directly

10.9%

Join a physical demonstration 8.2%

None of the above

7.6%

Contact them directly on social media

Q20. Have you ever bought a product / brand that is typically targeted to the opposite sex? Yes, it doesn’t bother me what sex it is for

30%

No

20.5%

22.6%

41.2%

44.9%

Yes, deliberately

Yes, by accident but I liked it

24.8%

8.4%

7.7%

Male Female

Q21. When a brand communicates with you, which of the following are the most important? (Percentages derived from full base sample)

35.8%

They talk to me about my lifestyle

29.8%

They talk to me as someone who is X years old

25.6%

They talk to me about my attitude to the world

22.9%

They talk to me as a male/female

20.6%

They deal with my problems N/A a brand has not communicated with me None of the above

Data

14% 8.9%

48


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Young Blood - The White Paper  

We carried out quantitative and qualitative research, cementing our ideas academically in the Young Blood white paper, written by Head of Pl...

Young Blood - The White Paper  

We carried out quantitative and qualitative research, cementing our ideas academically in the Young Blood white paper, written by Head of Pl...