Brands: Converse Or Die
Today's teens want to lead, not follow; do whatever they want, whenever they want; actively involve themselves in consumerism and expect to live forever. These and other wants where discussed at the second annual What Teens Want: Marketing to Teens Using Music, Movies and the Media held in Beverly Hills Tuesday. The upshot of the conferences seemed to be that marketers can n o longer "control" teens. While they take an active role in consumerism, they refuse to be talked down to and hered into a single direction. They demand control and are getting it. Teens do not understand a world once controlled by big media telling them what, when, where they will consume content.
In iMediaConnection, Rebecca Weeks tells marketers they must change their ways writing, "effective marketing requires brands to demonstrate authenticity (voice brand opinions and stories and do not stray from it), be bold (make a statement that offers them something new), connect consistently (responses to messages in all media should be consistent or you'll lose their interest and trust), build relationships over time and learn to speak in the teen's own idiom."
While that may not sound revolutionary in theory, it is revolutionary in practice as many marketers are not creating a "consistent connection" with teens by allowing a conversation nor are they providing the two way street to enable that connection. Brands are still guarded and controlled as if above reproach. Apart from providing capability to enable conversation, marketers are fearful of allowing the kind of conversation that might turn negative. In the long run, however, negative commentary is really a positive for a brand because, if heeded, it results in a better product. Teens want to be heard and they won't "do business" with a marketer who won't converse with them.