Generation Y has embraced BlackBerry as the country’s coolest brand at the seventh annual Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Brand Survey Awards this week.
Tapping into the youth market, the survey showed that today’s youth – dubbed Generation Y – has embraced the Facebook ‘like’ function for use in everyday life, something that Enver Groenewald, general manager of advertsing revenue and strategic communications at the Sunday Times, is now calling like-a-nomics’.
Generation Y is the technology savvy generation. Young urbanites, the survey found, are passionate about broadcasting their opinions on issues and topics through social media platforms. The survey a prominent year-on-year increase in tech consumption amongst the youth, and although a given for some it does, however, denote this particular market’s preference for products and services that are simultaneously functional, multi-purposeful and affordable.
For this reason, the BlackBerry smart phone – with its widespread appeal – has gained enough clout in the eyes of Generation Y to scoop this year’s Coolest Brand Overall title.
“Any brand looking to strategically break through into the youth market first and foremost needs to know what the youth ‘likes’,” said Groenewald. “As the buying force of tomorrow, youth need to be much more validated as consumers: they have the potential to make or break a product or service,”
Spanning 72 categories, and unpacked into two studies: namely Coolest Brands and Lifestyle Habits, the Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Brand Survey illustrates young consumers’ brand preferences based on what they deem ‘cool’; irrespective of their financial constraints. The survey also offers key insight into trends likely to shake the bottom line for some brands.
“BBM is the archetypal ‘killer app’ – it’s one of the best examples ever of intrinsic functionality driving demand for a cell phone … or any device for that matter,” explains Jason Levin, managing director of HDI Youth Marketeers. “BBM turned the BlackBerry, originally a smart phone used for business purposes, into a cool-tool for youth.”
Additional insights from the Lifestyle and Consumer Behaviour segment of the study show how young urbanites consume media and how it influences their broader lifestyle habits. Living in what can be described as brand-cluttered environment, young urbanites have acquired the capacity to dismiss branded content that doesn’t appeal to them immediately. They tend to consume bite-sized portions of information as opposed to copy-heavy content.
Repeat winners include ABSA as the ‘Coolest’ Bank, Pick n Pay as the ‘Coolest’ Grocery Store and 5FM as the ‘Coolest’ Radio Station. Newcomers in the top five rankings include Jay Jays, Avon, 8.ta and Top Gear in their respective categories.
Today more than ever in the history of consumerism, consumers – irrespective of age – are more empowered and equipped to instantly make their opinions heard by their peers. Levin concludes: “Brands need to understand how to involve young consumers, which a survey such as this helps achieve, whilst bearing in mind that over fifty percent of South Africa is under the age of 23 and spent – in 2010 alone – R95.3 billion!”
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