NEWS27 February 2017

UK teens ‘fed up with brands stereotyping them’

News Trends UK Youth

UK – More than half of UK teenagers are fed up with brands stereotyping them, according to a survey of 500 16-19-year-olds conducted by FreshMinds.

Group of smiling young people seated using laptops

By focusing on stereotypes, brands are failing to understand teenagers’ true priorities, FreshMinds warned.

"Whilst it’s easy to think that today’s teens are setting up their own businesses and out changing the world, in actual fact these stereotypes don’t reflect what life is like for the majority of teenagers in 2017," FreshMinds’ report concludes. "Teens are less concerned about brands doing their bit for the environment, trying new things or being technologically advanced. And they certainly don’t want companies interfering with their lives: it’s not important for brands to give teenagers ideas about how to live their lives or to challenge them to think differently. No amount of experiential marketing will make up for failing on the basics."

Around half of the teenagers who responded to the survey said brands "try too hard to be cool", while 42% said that brands patronise young people.

FreshMinds’ CEO Catherine Crump said: "Our latest research highlights that brands looking to target teenagers need to get much closer to their customers. It’s easy to make assumptions but by falling back on stereotypes, many brands risk patronising teenagers and alienating a core consumer group."

The advice for brands is to focus on delivering value for money and good customer service, before getting carried away with promotional activities designed to appeal to the young.

Brands must also learn to engage with teens on the right channels, FreshMinds said, which in most cases means through the brand’s website. Just because teenagers love social media and apps does not necessarily mean they want to interact with brands on these channels, the report said.

FreshMinds conducted a quantitative survey with 500 16-19-year-olds in the UK in December 2016. The full report is available here.