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|Six marketing myths debunked by Lowe Counsel|
|Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:03|
By Andrea Mathew
For too long marketers have misunderstood Malay youth and youth in general. Lowe Counsel gets the facts straight.
Teens are as misunderstood by marketers as they are by their own parents. Today’s teens are very different from a teenager during the days of a 30 plus year old marketer, and as Lowe tells us, tomorrow’s teenager is going to evolve even more.
Lowe & Partners Malaysia, one of Malaysia’s top 5 creative and effective agencies, debunked some commonly-held myths on the global and Malay teen, in a definitive study aptly called “Window on Teens” (WOT). Malaysia is the first Asian market conducting the WOT study.
The study is a global effort spearheaded by Lowe Counsel Worldwide, Lowe & Partners Worldwide’s strategic insights and innovation consultancy. The presentation was held in conjunction with the launch of Lowe & Partners Malaysia’s Lowe Counsel offering at Sime Darby Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Presenting the Lowe Worldwide Global WOT study, Lowe Counsel Worldwide Senior Vice President, Trend Analysis, Richard Welch said, “Older generations who seek to understand and communicate with teens cannot help but consider them through the lens of their own subjective and retro experiences. As a result, we fail to understand the reality of the modern teenage experience.”
Some of the common myths debunked by Mr Welch included the perception that teenagers were all about rebellion. On the contrary, the Lowe Counsel Worldwide study showed that today’s teenagers are the least rebellious generation since the term was first coined and that they interpreted power/authority relationships very differently from previous generations.
Other myths challenged in the global WOT study included the perception that teenagers live in their own closed and secretive worlds when reality, they live their lives in the open, and the myth that teenagers are disappearing into a virtual world while the fact is they may be online 24/7 but they still want to go out, travel, go to parties…they just want to be online at the same time.
Even more interestingly is the study on the largest teen consumer group in Malaysia, the Malays. Lowe Counsel Malaysia debunked 6 Malay Youth Myths that have been used by marketers as “facts” to understand and communicate with these individuals.
Malay Myths Challenged
Myth 2 : Malay teens lack ambition. No, they are as ambitious as their Chinese counterparts, and in some cases hyper ambitious.
Myth 3 : For the Malay, success is about self fulfillment. The Malay definition of success is no different from that of their Chinese or Western counterparts. Success is based on earnings.
Myth 4 : For the Malay, happiness is being content spiritually: The Malay definition of Happiness today is defined much more by the physical rather than the spiritual.
Myth 5 : Teenage identity is defined by tribes. Not true, Malay teens are not identified by tribal behaviour but by being individual.
Myth 6 : Malay boys are not ‘image’ conscious. Malay boys are as much fashion & body conscious as girls.
For the local study, the Lowe Counsel interviewed over 50 thought leaders of all races, in proportion to the Malaysian population. Thought leaders are people who are ahead of the opinion leaders, always dabbling with new ideas. The teens are between the ages of 13 to 19 and were asked to answer 30 questions, through a password protected portal, where they are only required to answer two questions per day.
There were also three teen experts who took part in the study - Executive Director of YouthAsia, Khailee Ng, Reza Salleh, local singer songwriter and Prof Dr Samsudin A. Rahim, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, UKM.
Though some of these facts may not represent the majority of the present Malay youth but Anirban Ganguly, Lowe & Partners Malaysia’s Strategic Planning Director who presented the facts says that the findings are not an insight to the current market but a foresight of what the market will be in the next eight to 36 months.
Though it was a study that covered teens across all races, Lowe decided to focus on Malay youths because there has been a lack of data on them and a demand from clients to know them better explains Anirban.
Richard also says this study is necessary because for too long brands have been about selling instead of creating relationships with their customers. “Teens are becoming more aware of marketing and branding values and they want to choose brands that reflect their values.”
In months to come, the Counsel plans to produce a Malay dictionary because of the new tech-driven language Malay teens are communicating in. “With just a 140 word limit and twitter and similar limitations presented by technology, teens now have evolved the language. Interestingly enough, these teens also use images a lot to communicate their message,” says Richard as noticed during the course of the study. They also have many other studies in the pipeline, the most current being a study on food-related behaviours amongst Malaysians. The Counsel is set to drive some interesting insights and foresights for Malaysian clients.