http://www.uktribes.com/about Some context about UK
UK Tribes In A Nutshell
They're everywhere. Emos down one end of the high street. Skaters pulling moves in
front of the town hall. Trendies ignoring everyone else as they march towards a
Saturday shopping spree. This project - commissioned by Channel 4, created by
Crowd DNA - takes you to the heart of young Britain.
Tribal alliances are less hard and fast than they once were. The exchange of ideas is
more fluid; the social glues that unite people more varied - you might disagree on
which band is best, but you could still share a loyalty for Topshop, Sony PlayStation
or Channel 4. Thus, understanding the dynamics of tribal UK is essential for brands
who wish to engage and, vitally, become part of the conversation.
Deploying a roll-call of journalists, artists, hot-off-the-streets scribes and snappers,
we quizzed young people about their lives, their media, their aspirations and their
brand preferences. The results are illuminating in the extreme; a look at UK youth
culture from the street up. So if they're saying nasty things, don't blame us! We just
wanted to create an honest, uncensored expression of young people's attitudes and
How UK Tribes Started
UK Tribes was born in 2005, when Channel 4 commissioned Crowd DNA (then
called Ramp Industry) to run a project called TV Glue, which looked to measure how
TV could remain a unifying force in the midst of media fragmentation.
One small aspect of this project looked at youth culture and offered a tribal
breakdown based on the social glues (music, sport, fashion, technology etc) around
which young people gather. When ever presented to media and marketing people,
this section proved a big hit; a real conversation starter.
Thus UK Tribes was born, with a brief to extend this research; to explore youth in
honest terms and as described to us by young people themselves; to acknowledge
that whereas once it was about monolithic youth tribes that stomped on all before
them (punk, rock ‘n’ roll, acid house etc) now it’s more about fluidity, a menu of
We wanted to make sure our research felt real, genuine, close-up; to avoid the
generalisations and glossing over which often informs such studies. There are times,
perhaps, when findings may seem derogatory or negative, but this is all about youth
culture as described to us by young people themselves. We didn’t come up with the
title Street Rats, for instance. They did!
How We Did It?
Expert interviews with marketers, media, event promoters, DJs, fanzine editors etc
Video and picture diaries
A UK network of young people providing regular trend reports
An online survey called Find Your Tribe that was disseminated through relevant
blogs and online media. The pay off for young people was in the fun and talk value of
having your tribal identity defined; the benefit for Channel 4 was in gathering data on
youth preferences across over 250 brands and media, plus on lifestyle attitudes and
Find Your Tribe version one ran in 2006, gathering data from over 50,000
respondents. Version two ran in August 2008, with the response count at 38,000 and
As important as the research techniques have been, producing rich, powerful,
colourful content as output has also been paramount; be that wonderfully interactive
graphs and charts to bring the quantitative data to life, or the wealth of essays, think-
pieces, interviews, voxpops, video diaries and so on produced by an informed and
passionate team of industry experts, journalists, and ‘proper’ kids who’re living
through all of this dizzyingly diverse stuff right now, in real-time.
The current count stands at 25 tribes (we started with 23 and have gained four and
lost two along the way) but that’s sure to change. Key to the UK Tribes project are
the constant updates, both identifying new tribes and noting new trends and
changing behaviour among existing tribes. In doing so, we’re building up a
fascinating archive of the ever-developing landscape of young Britain.
UK Tribes’ primary aim is to promote Channel 4 as the key place to come if you want
to communicate with young people. Such has been its influence, it’s also impacted
on programme commissioning and marketing. A multitude of brands and agencies
have made good use of the findings. We’ve had awards nominations and
recommendations aplenty. Media coverage has extended from The Guardian and
Londonpaper to trend blogs and style mags. Just as importantly, young people
themselves have given the UK Tribes work the thumbs up, recognising its validity
UK Tribes – the home of UK youth research