coverDefines “Tweens” as ages 8 to 14. Based on research by Millward Brown (“a leading global market research agency”) on several thousand kids (I can’t find any figures on how many exactly) across eight countries — India, China, US, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Spain, Denmark. Study targeted the Tweens living in urban areas.

I think this is great as a marketing text and/ or to gain insights and ideas on marketing to Tweens. Lots of examples, case studies, and each chapter has a concise summary. Also suggests action points/ practical checklists wrt marketing activities.

Chapter 1 – on Tweens.
p. 2. “This is the first generation that’s been born and bred with an understanding of today’s economic world. They play the stock market as if it’s another version of a computer game…”

p. 6. “This generation is also very skeptical. Tweens instantly question things that don’t feel right to them. They seemingly have an inherent understanding of the value of the message or the intention behind it. We’re much less sophisticated. We still believe James Bond actually chooses the bubbly he drinks in the movies. It doesn’t occur to us that Mr Bond’s choice of champagne is determined by a calculated product placement strategy.”

p. 7. “Tweens have global address books and they share information freely. They have evolved a whole new definition of what’s private and what’s public. They’ve set new parameters.”

p. 7/ 8. “Personal web sites are like detailed electronic greeting cards. Members of older generations may find all this self-relevation exposes too much. But a web site with personal details is a must-have for many tweens, as many as 42.7% expressing the desire to have their own. It’s part of their identity.” (which is why adults sometimes ask, “Why do teenagers write the way they do?”)

p. 10. “This is a generation which you can reach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if not via the land-line phone, then via the mobile one or the chat room or an SMS message.”

p. 12. “The tween generation seems to be losing its creativity… LEGO is based on a combination of creativity, imagination and fun. 10 years ago, standard box of LEGO blocks contain 500 to 1,000 bricks. They have recently come to believe that this is simply too complex for tweens to use. Not only do they not have the patience to collect a castle, a boat or a car, they also lack the necessary imagination to create new forms and shapes.” As a response, LEGO decreased the number of bricks but increased the size per brick. Used to take 100 bricks but now you’ll need 20.

“The current lack of creativity and imagination can be blamed on the proliferation of computer games and the permeation of the media.” While computer games are good at building hand-eye coordination, too few computer games “ask them to create the environment or the rules of play”.

Chapter 2 talks about success factors for Tween brands, i.e has to be based on “fear, fantasy, mastery, humour, love or stability” (need at least one of the three factors).
p. 42. (Chapt Summary): “The life of most tweens is one of routine. The role of your brand is to break this routine.”

Boys are drawn more to mastery than girls. Boys are mostly driven by the fear that goes with horror, panic and war… The journey has become as important as the destination.
… girls are still drawn to love.

Humour travels easily across gender divide.
Fantasy travels across as well as humour, providing it’s not too unrealistic.
Their sense of humour is different from adults (“from the banal to the sophisticated”)

Chapter 8 – “The Peer Factor”
p. 155. Three impt ingredients common to successful campaigns: community exploration, peer-to-peer marketing and viral marketing.

10 steps in peer-to-peer marketing:
1. Identify a community. Those best at identifying strong communities are those who are, or were once, part of it.
2. Map the behaviour of the community. What’s driving it.
3. Identify alternative distribution channels.
4. Identify the leaders of the community. Before this can take place, it is essential you are throughly familiar with the rules of the community you are targeting.
5. Build a peer-to-peer marketing program around the leaders.
6. Place tweens in the centre, rather than the brand.
7. Support the community with unique alternatives. Make people to whom the audience can relate the spokesperson for the brand.
8. Develop viral marketing tools enabling the tweens to market for you.
9. Let the outside world know about the community’s success.
10. Spread the brand to audiences outside the community. Successful peer-to-peer marketing is about building on a passion, appealing to a shared dream, talking the language of the audience and making the audience do the work.

p. 169 (Chapter “Cyberchild”) – On targeting tweens:
1. One target group description is never enough.
2. Be out there
3. Creating relevance (example of a web site sharing cheat codes to games)

p. 182. “Games will most likely become the main driver in many Tween’ lives. Studies show that spending time playing games becomes complusive. Why? Because tweens choose their own identity, their own world, and their own role. It is here where tweens can truly feel themselves at the centre of the world.”

p. 295. “Mainstream media like television and newspapers will play a substantially smaller role on the media strategies of the future… This trend has already begun, because mainstream media is too broad for tweens’ specific tastes. Tweens don’t like messages that tell them what opinions they should hold. Equally, the dislike the notion of sameness.”

p. 299. “Brands base don historical information are also gaining large chunks of market share. From our study it is clear that old values are perceived to be substantially more solid that new ones.” (cites commercial successes like Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Spider-man as examples that “hark back to an historical past and deliver multiple-story lines, enabling tweens to understand the characters from different angles and gain more information bout them over time. These combined factors succeed in engaging their young audience, and in the end create loyalty.”

p. 307. Summary (chapter “Calling kids”)
– Don’t talk down.
– If there’s one important lesson to be learned, it’s always stay true to your brand’s DNA. Because if you don’t, tweens will instantly pick it up on their well-honed brand radar.
– This is a no bull-shit generation. Tweens put a premium on straight talk and are drawn to brands which display utter confidence and offer full-on accountability.
– Change the operating hours. Tweens will investigate the brand on the channels that are available to them, day and night.
– Tweens are substantially more concerned about privacy than ever before.
– Involve them in your plans. Their feedback is one of your most effective tools.
– Marketing campaigns should be mile-stone based, allowing lots of room for flexibility [i.e. no longer a sequential task, but one that requires evaluation and adjustments]

Author’s website – MartinLindstrom.com.

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