Want to appeal to today’s teens? Focus on getting the basics right

In our latest research report, Teens in 2017, we sought to understand the relationship between teens and brands. The outlook was pretty bleak. We uncovered a fundamental disconnect between teenagers and brands, with over half of teenagers (56%) saying that they are fed up with brands stereotyping young people.

So how can brands address this fundamental disconnect to better appeal to teenagers? Our report outlined three recommendations for brands looking to strengthen their relationships with teens. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at the first of these: to focus on delivering the basics

When it comes to what’s important in a brand, teenagers are very pragmatic: it’s most important to them that brands offer them good value. Being trustworthy and having reliable products and services also really matter at this age. As one put it: “I don’t look at the brands of things I buy. I usually just look at how good the … [product] I am buying is.”

Customer service and receiving rewards for loyalty are also vital. When asked about the most important steps that brands can take to build meaningful relationships with them, teenagers rated these as equally the most important.

Contrary to what stereotypes might lead you to believe, 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. Only 10% of teens say that opening a pop-up shop would help a brand to build a meaningful relationship with them, whilst holding music gigs or educational events were unequally unpopular.

So which companies are getting it right? As teenagers’ favourite brand, Nike is a great example, as are Adidas and Apple, which came second and third respectively in teens’ list of their favourite brands.

Want to know what else brands should be doing to rebuild relationships with teens? Look out for our next blog post or read the full report.