Open to Discrete: Key Trends in TeenageGirls and Mobile Usageby GRAHAM BROWN on MARCH 1, 2012Mobile is Getting Excited Abo...
In   this   article   I’ll   discuss   the   challenges   in teen youth marketing,   especially   for   girls.   I’ll look...
Social   Space   is   key   to   teens.   It’s   here   they   can   discuss   issues   and   emotions   that   wouldn’t  ...
Facebook is Vanilla. The Interest Economy is Cookies & CreamThe  bedrooms  are  where  the  growth  is  in  teenage  girl ...
adding a few buttons and lights (a Facebook fan page?) to make it interactive (when all along Wikipedia orYoutube would be...
THE MOBILEYOUTH 2013 REPORT       youth marketing insights for handset brands,                  content providers and oper...
THE MOBILEYOUTH 2013 REPORThttp://www.mobileyouth.org                   MOBILEYOUTH                     youth marketing mo...
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Open to Discrete: Key Trends in Teenage Girls and Mobile Usage

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Open to Discrete: Key Trends in Teenage Girls and Mobile Usage

  1. 1. Open to Discrete: Key Trends in TeenageGirls and Mobile Usageby GRAHAM BROWN on MARCH 1, 2012Mobile is Getting Excited About YouthThis week saw a big media push into the youth space by the mobile industry: MTV networks ties up with AKQA Nokia targets youth with Lumia 610 Orange  launches  “cool”  youth  offer  in  AfricaThere’s   no   doubt   mobile   is   chasing   the   youth   dollar.   The   mobileYouth 2012 report identifies how thismarket is key for future revenues and innovation – particularly the young female market (DisruptiveDivas). But, this is a market littered with the wrecks of brands dashed at the rocks of poorly executedstrategy, often at the hands of poorly informed creative agencies.image (c) Flickr http://www.mobileYouth.org
  2. 2. In   this   article   I’ll   discuss   the   challenges   in teen youth marketing,   especially   for   girls.   I’ll look at howmobile brands need to approach this segment and how they can avoid the pitfalls.On Monday, I read an article about the Museum of Salford (in Manchester England) forcibly ejecting twosuch teenagers from their premises. The reason? Smoking? Tampering with exhibits? Graffiti? No, thesetwo young   girls   weren’t   in   uniform.   They   weren’t   in   uniform   because   they   were   visiting   the   museum  *during the school vacation*.According  to  the  Museum’s  spokesperson  the  two  teenage  girls  were  ejected  for  reasons  of  “safety”  citing  they encouraged teens to visit but only in school uniform.Teen Girls and the Loss of Social SpaceGo to the Museum of Amsterdam or some of the more radical displays like those in Japan and you seeteens running around, climbing on exhibits, hanging out and making a lot of noise. There are no wardenstelling  them  to  be  quiet  or  “do  not  touch”.  What  teens  want  isn’t  “entertainment”  but  Social  Space. Teens grow under the watchful gaze of parents, society, employers and educators. Teens   don’t   have   the   hangout   places   (the 3H we talk about in our research)   that   their   parents’   generation once had. Teens   are   moved   on   from   malls   and   parks   by   the   police,   they   can’t   play   out   until   dark   or   talk   to   strangers.“There’s   lots   of   infrastructure   and   amenity   that’s   missing   for   a   lot   of   these   kids”   said researcher PipWilliams in  studying  the  lives  of  modern  teens  and  how  they  were  losing  Social  Space,  “…  things  to  do,  for  a  start.  For  a  lot  it’s  even  things  related  to  their  aspirations,  careers  and  adulthood.”Teen Girls Need a Place to Talk and Share (Privately)Teens feel stressed about their lives and  resort  to  what  adults  see  as  wasteful  behavior  like  “hanging  out”  and playing the computer. They retreat to their bedrooms behind   the   “KEEP   OUT”   sign   to   create   that  Social Space or hang out in malls or parks in groups that make adults feel unwelcome. http://www.mobileYouth.org
  3. 3. Social   Space   is   key   to   teens.   It’s   here   they   can   discuss   issues   and   emotions   that   wouldn’t   be   fit   for   the  public domain. The typical   media   image   portrayed  by   MTV   in   “16   and   pregnant”  or  those   in  the   glossy  magazines telling stories of teens driven by fashion, sex, rebellion and cool are far from reality. Teen girlsespecially are involved in more intimate and honest subjects less concerned with the public perspectivee.g. body image.“It’s   amazing   how   common   it   was   for   photographs   to   center   around   body-image   issues,”   researcher  Engelbrecht said in her Girl Project.  “It  sort  of  crosses  race  and  ethnicity  and  economic  background.  It’s  such a big part of being a young woman – which then, of course, translates into being a woman.”Teen Girls and Social Media: From the Kitchen to the BedroomSocial Space is also a key element of managing their Discrete networks on the mobile phone becauseSocial  Space  isn’t  just  a  physical  construct.  Think  for  example  about  txtpsk  and  how  teen  girls  developed  it  as a barrier to their parents. If we look at this aspect of how teenage girls use Facebook we get an idea ofthe  opportunities  for  brands.  Teens  aren’t  fleeing  Facebook  as  some  popular  sources  cite,  they’re  merely  moving   from   Open   to   Discrete   networking;;   they’re   simply   shutting   out   brands   and   advertisers.   KEEP  OUT.Teen girls are particularly sensitive to control over their Social Space: Women are more likely to unfriend on Facebook than men. They have more restrictive privacy settings. 44% deleted comments on their profiles regularly and a further 37% deleted tags.Facebook  now  isn’t  the  private  Social  Space  for  teen  conversation  it  once  was  (see this video of  a  father’s  response   to   his   daughter’s   Facebook   posting   to   see   why  teens   are   very   careful  of   what  they   post).   That  doesn’t  mean  they’re  going  to  leave  Facebook,  they’ll  just  use  it  for  a  different  purpose  – purely functional(like the kitchen rather than the bedroom). http://www.mobileYouth.org
  4. 4. Facebook is Vanilla. The Interest Economy is Cookies & CreamThe  bedrooms  are  where  the  growth  is  in  teenage  girl  media  usage.  I’m  talking  about  the  real  bedrooms  but the digital equivalents where private conversations and emotions are shared. Teen girls are moving to Twitter. Think Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram – private Social Spaces that   don’t   encourage   networking   but   encourage connection through shared passions and interest.This is the Interest Economy we talk about in our research.The Interest Economy is a growth opportunity for mobile companies because it offers a level of intimacythe  other  services  can’t  provide;;  a  girl’s  mobile  phone  is  with  her  all  the  time  and  not  shared  with  parents.  That’s  why BBM has been a big hit not with office execs but with teen girls. We charted the rise of BBMwithin this group back in 2010, focusing on the Change Agents known as Disruptive Divas.Teen  Girls:  Curate  don’t  ControlThe  biggest  mistake  is  trying  to  “be  part  of  their  conversations”.  We  want  them  to  talk  about  our  brand  but   in   reality   they   want   a   space   where   you’re   not   involved. Many teens share passwords to sites likeFacebook  as  a  sign  of  intimacy  or  trust.  They  don’t  share  them  with  brands  or  parents.  We  don’t  belong,  respect  the  “KEEP  OUT”  sign.Museums, like mobile operators and handset manufacturers, are constantly struggling to remain relevantespecially with young teens. Parents drag girls round the exhibits, they run through the hallways, taketurns at spinning an interactive driving wheel, press a few buttons and then, like the whirlwind thatbrought them in, speed off into the next room. I recall the pained expression of one teen who stood staringat her own bored expression in the glass while encouraging parents looked on at an interactive exhibitexplaining how plants source nitrogen through their roots.And herein lies our challenge. We want teens but we want them on our own terms. We like their money,marketing  and  innovation  but  we’d  like  them  to  do  it  in  uniform.  Making  it  exciting  and  palatable  means   http://www.mobileYouth.org
  5. 5. adding a few buttons and lights (a Facebook fan page?) to make it interactive (when all along Wikipedia orYoutube would be far more educational).Only  creepy  brands  want  to  hang  out  in  a  teen  girl’s  bedroom.  Not  only  do  you  look  out  of  place,  you  won’t  add any value to the communication. What mobile brands can do is facilitate that conversation by curating it not controlling it. You can provide the space without hanging out there.In our mobileYouth 2012 report we identify key action points brands can implement to create a betterCustomer Experience for female teens. Here are a few questions to get you thinking: How can you support Discrete (BBM etc) rather than Open (SMS) instant messaging? How can you create a Social Space for them to hang out (Apple Store etc, Orange Rockcorps) rather than  a  community  about  your  brand  focused  on  “creating  a dialogue with  customers”?Contact us for report, workshops, webinars and more:Josh DhaliwalDirector, mobileYouthhttp://www.mobileYouth.orghttp://www.mobileYouthReport.comTel: +44 203 286 3635Mob: +44 7904 200 513 http://www.mobileYouth.org
  6. 6. THE MOBILEYOUTH 2013 REPORT youth marketing insights for handset brands, content providers and operators features: 29 reports 400+ pages data, charts, cases mobileYouth: tracking youth & mobile culture since 2001 MOBILEYOUTH youth marketing mobile culture since 2001
  7. 7. THE MOBILEYOUTH 2013 REPORThttp://www.mobileyouth.org MOBILEYOUTH youth marketing mobile culture since 2001

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