5 Risks Youth Marketers and Content Creators Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Take

Posted by Amy Henry on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 @ 02:46 PM

Youth ResearchComing off of an inspiring week plus at conferences, listening to content creators, fellow researchers and strategists opine about the present and the future of kids, kids media and the youth and family marketplace, I found myself thinking about the kinds of risks that those of us who make our home in this space are often leery to take. In my own thinking about and work with youth, I’ve often found that deciding to live on the edge of what’s typical or acceptable sometimes yields unexpected insight and breakthrough ideas. On the surface, some of these risks might seem quite tame! But more than seeing them as safe, I see the common theme as a more optimistic view of the possibilities and potential of trying something new.

  1. Be nice. So often, in the youth space, being nice or good or kind feels like a young or soft positioning for a brand or property. Still, countless speakers echoed a sentiment that we’ve spoken about in our new work on Millennial Moms – “sensitive kids are the new successful kids.” Said another way, don’t worry about flexing your edge – consider standing for sweet over sarcasm, for good behavior over bad. Seek out heroes you can champion, not just foils who are sometimes humorous but hurtful.
  2. Dream big. At the iKids Conference, we spoke about the need to evaluate the app landscape, along with the online ecosystem in which youth engage, with realistic eyes. It’s more difficult than it might seem to create an app that rivals Angry Birds, or to take down Temple Run with a great game of your own. But what we also believe is that the visionaries who think big are the ones who are most likely to last. We advocate for developing a brand or a property, not just an application. Think about your proposition realistically, but holistically. Don’t get mired in mechanics to the point that you lose sight of the moxie that makes your content truly unique in the world. And then execute.
  3. Experiment. Across the course of the week, we were reminded that sometimes the old rules of conducting research, of gaining eyes on your brand, of engaging in the innovation and creative process itself could use some shaking up. As researchers, it’s easy to rely on “time-tested” approaches or models. But we believe that it’s as important to question and challenge these models as it is to understand them. Some of the most astute risks we saw taken came from folks who simply questioned why something was always done the way it has traditionally been. Granted, we wouldn’t suggest trying “new” just for the sake of “new,” but we would advise reflecting on your sacred cows and steadfast rules to ensure that they’re in the service of stimulation, not stagnation.
  4. Break the frame. More than any conference we’ve been to in a while, we liked that KidScreen and iKids bucked some conventions. Rather than just speakers at the podium (which we were honored to be!) or panels of authorities, we saw PechaKucha (look it up!) put in place to format the remarks of a set of experts, a “pass the baton” style look at viral videos that matter (with the creators of one of the favorites not only invited to talk about their work but also to share their own inspirations), to varied riffs on speed-dating. We like the spirit of these sessions – they sought to teach in ways that felt more visceral, more disruptive and still sound. Discussions about process are often overshadowed by discussions about outcomes, but the truth is, process matters. And innovation should apply as much to the way you work as it does to what you work on.
  5. Share. Time and time again, we see that the best brands – especially in the youth space – don’t hog the spotlight – they share the marquis. The same seems to go for the best and brightest creators and developers. They’re happy to share what they know, to exchange ideas and to collaborate. In a media landscape which seems to move increasingly swiftly, with expertise required in a myriad of methods, approaches and markets, it seems prudent, not polyanna-ish, to give in order to get.

Tags: youth research, conference, Youth, kids tweens teens

SUREFIRE: Helping High School Girls “Ask Anything”

Posted by Amy Henry on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

What if there was a place where girls could ask questions about where they’re going in life and how to get there? This is precisely what SUREFIRE (SUREFIRE) aims to do. At the SUREFIRE event this coming Saturday, high school girls will come together in real space (not virtual space!) to ask questions, but also to tell what’s on their minds.SUREFIRE Side Bar 2   MESSYDIRTY v

Girls (and their parents) can attend workshops on social media, fitness, fashion, beauty, philanthropy and finance. Speakers come from girl-centric organizations with names like “InternQueen” and “1000 Watt Presence.” Randi Zuckerberg of DotComplicated will speak with parents about their teens’ tech lives. And Betty DeGeneres will share her story of her role in daughter Ellen’s life-journey.

We have to admit – we’re intrigued. We can’t wait to find out what comes of this event. And we’ll be watching to see what these teen girls not only learn and hear, but also what they contribute. Regardless of what’s said, we think the reminder to listen to girls might be the most lasting legacy of this event.  

Tags: girls, conference, Teens, culture

Join Amy Henry at the Digital Kids Summit in San Francisico September 19th

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

describe the imageAmy Henry, Vice President Youth Insights, will be presenting, “Understanding App Value: Parent’s Perspective” at this year’s Digital Kids Summit. The summit, the must-attend event for brand owners, entertainment and media executives, marketers, producers, digital media directors and licensing professionals seeking to engage children online and on digital devices, will take place on September 19 in San Francisco.

It is the last week to register online for Digital Kids Edu and Summit! Visit the website to register online before September 13th and save $100.

Need a little extra boost to attend? Enter speakervip when registering and receive a discount of 10%!

Tags: youth research, Gaming, conference, free time

5 Favorites from Toy Fair

Posted by Amy Henry on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 @ 03:13 PM

In between sessions at the 2013 Digital Kids conference, we got a chance to browse the aisles of Toy Fair. Among the many aisles, a few products, brands and “experiences” stood out to us. Not every idea is new, and we’re not sure all five of these have staying power (in their current form), but they did seem inspired by insights that we’ve seen to be true among youth and parents in the past year…

  1. Oyo Sportstoys Inc.’s minifigures make due without a memorable name, and with a look that’s shockingly similar to LEGO figurines. But these collectible sports figures tap into a few simple youth truths. These posable replicas of pro sports players work with LEGO construction sets, but also feature bendable knees and arms that allow for “realistic” sports play. Minifigures simultaneously serve as sports souvenirs, with limited runs of some players coming in collectible packaging, and as playthings. What better combination for a tween boy who might appreciate the ritual of assembling his personal dream team, but who wants to make more use of his collectibles than the display case allows? Our favorite move? Minor League team players produced in selected markets. Increasingly, Minor League is the way kids are getting exposed to pro ball, and kids will relish bringing the hometown hero together with their favorite all stars.Little Partners Learning Tower
  2. Little Partners has taken the independence-instilling “Learning Tower” one step further, turning it from a work center/stool to a play house. Their Learning Tower Playhouse Kits prolong the life of a product that’s become a standby in the homes of toddlers and preschoolers whose parents seek to promote participation in everyday chores. At a high price point, the Learning Tower might seem a luxurious short-term investment. But with the promise that a simple shell can turn it from a give-away to a new way to play, Learning Tower has given parents another product to buy, while simultaneously making moms and dads feel like they got their money’s worth.
  3. MyRealToy.com made its debut at the Toy Fair with a toy experience (as the New York Times described it) that puts production and design into kids’ hands. Kids submit a sketch, and within 3 days, the sketch is turned into a plush that brings their fantastic ideas to fruition. The price point is high - $149 – and the focus on plush, while practical, might limit the lifespan of this service (as older kids and boys in particular gravitate towards tech-driven products), but the gifting potential seems powerful. One watchout: even the most precocious kids might feel the pressure turned on when faced with the chance to choose the one product that would get plushified!
  4. Slacklines by Gibbons has been around for a few years (see this video demo from Toy Fair 2010), but perhaps this compelling idea’s time has come? With trampoline-like products getting a makeover (think less danger, more design) and ziplines available for installation in the backyard, it seems like this tightrope fits right into the cultural zeitgeist. Following quasi-fitness trends like planking, it seems like Slacklines are primed to cultivate a quirky following. Will they take on among teens or tweens? Hard to tell. But turning fitness into fun feels right in line with the wants and needs of this cohort and their parents.
  5. Finally, in a sea of licensed and property-based products, it’s hard for these me-toos to stand out. But the Monsters University showcased a number of new products tied into the upcoming release of Monsters University.  Getting to dress up like your favorite character might not be new, but bringing technology together with time-tested play patterns is worth noting. In this case, higher tech design gives kids more control, which we think is the right formula for fun.

What were your Toy Fair favorites? Let us know!

Tags: Education, youth research, conference, Youth, free time, parenting

Amy Henry Set to Present at 2013 Digital Kids Conference

Posted by Nicole Pitkin on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 @ 10:55 AM

Digital Kids 2013

Amy Henry, VP of Youth Insights, will be presenting at the 2013 Digital Kids Conference in New York City. This must-attend event for brand owners, entertainment/media executives, marketers, producers, digital media directors and licensing professionals seeking to engage children online and on digital devices returns will be held on February 12-13, 2013.

In Henry’s presentation, “Everyone Has an iPad: Sorting Digital Myths From Youth Truths,” she will share fresh-from-the-field data on youth and parents and their use of technology to help you understand the authentic habits and practices of today’s preschoolers, kids, tweens, teens and their parents. She’ll go beyond the “whats” to provide deep insight into the “hows” and “whys” of youth rituals and realities when it comes to the digital world.

Register now and recieve special discount of $100 off the going rate by entering discount code: SPEAKERVIP

Tags: youth research, Gaming, conference, digital drugs, youth media

10 Take-aways From the 2012 Kid, Youth and Parent Power Conference

Posted by Amy Henry on Thu, Apr 05, 2012 @ 02:56 PM

We’re back from Orlando and the 2012 Kid, Youth and Parent Power Conference…We spoke on Performance Culture among youth, a presentation which we’ll broadcast as a C+R webinar on April 25th. A few days to think about our work, our “industry” (although see below), and of course, kids, tweens, teens and parents may be reward enough, but we were lucky enough to leave with a few more thought-provoking questions (even if the answers are sometimes left for us to provide).

  1. Our “industry” may be harder to identify than ever…Just a few short years ago, a conference focused on youth and families would include a relatively homogenous group of marketers, researchers and content providers working on traditional packaged goods or children’s television. Occasionally, an entrepreneur would pop up on the agenda and instigate conversation about new approaches or new paradigms for existing categories. But today, the “youth space” looks like a hodge-podge of app developers, non-profits, authors and entrepreneurs – and the occasional “old school” brand or organization. This may make it more difficult than ever for us to find common case studies, but it certainly makes the conversation more interesting.
  2. You don’t have to be a gamer to engage in gamification…Even if the first insight – that gamers aren’t just teens sequestered behind a console in their parents’ basement is an image that doesn’t represent reality – the second, that we’re all kind of gaming in our daily lives, feels like an intriguing one…The term, “gamification,” was used over and over again at the conference, with slightly differing definitions attributed to it each time, but the idea of making your product or service a game (think levels, feedback, rewards) feels like a fresh take on “fun” and “play” that have dominated our “industry’s” discourse for so long.
  3. Behind every success is a strategy – even if they’re less obvious than ever before. If you’re like us, you may think that fads like Silly Bandz and Zhu Zhu Pets stuck because of strong intrinsic, but also a lot of luck, you may have found the case study on the latter brand presented by its founders to be pretty provocative. Just because there’s no campaign to be seen, and no tagline to serve as a strategic heuristic, doesn’t mean that a lot of legwork didn’t go into getting this brand seen by the right audience – in their case, “Power Moms.” These moms are not just bloggers, but have multiple avenues for influencing youth in their everyday lives…as scout leaders, for example, or coaches, or crossing guards. They’re not only the most active fans on Facebook, but more importantly, they’re facilitators and connectors offline.
  4. If you want teens to believe in change, you actually have to believe they want to engage in change. Dosomething.org reminded us that promoting causes among teens requires as much faith in your audience as it does passion for a cause. It’s a simple notion, but a compelling one – if you don’t think they’re altruistic or inspired to change the world, they’ll see that and won’t trust you.
  5. Family travel doesn’t mean “something for everyone.” Hershey Entertainment Resorts reiterated something we learned years ago in our research with family entertainment brands…A trip to Disney, Busch Gardens, the Nick Hotel or Beaches isn’t about “me time” for moms and dads…It’s not about sneaking off for a spa treatment, regardless of how tantalizing and needed those treatments might be!!! It’s about soaking up as much time with your kids as possible. Brands that make it easier to spend time together win in this increasingly competitive family vacation space.
  6. Brand boldness and boundaries continue to matter…sometimes. We’ve often opined that youth recognize fewer brand boundaries than adults…That they’re up for cross-overs, collaborations and unexpected pairings perhaps more than any cohort before them.  But, as evidenced by a case study for Nike SB by one of its initial investors, making tough choices to protect the integrity of a niche brand is still appreciated as authentic by young adults and teens – particularly members of affinity groups (like boarders). Granted, if you have the Nike name and corporate cashflow, you might be more able to make choices like turning down the free endorsement of a celebrity who doesn’t quite fit your brand image, but the point is well-taken – be true to yourself, and teens will be true to you.
  7. Kids may be the arbiters of food culture more than we give them credit for…In a presentation on the power of grass-fed beef (see Take-away #1 on an industry that looks a bit different than it used to!), one insight emerged for us: when we think about food culture, especially paradigm shifts like going local, we might want to pay attention to what kids are thinking and doing. Granted, this insight was a bit more speculation than statistically backed, but it makes sense that youth will be the beacons for bringing in a new wave of eating attitudes, driven by programs ranging from “The Edible Schoolyard” (link) and schools that treat Reduce Reuse and Recycle as three new “Rs.”
  8. Social marketing requires segmentation. Of course, people use social networks differently. But does this generation of digital natives coalesce around a common set of practices when it comes to social media? Not so…”Lurkers,” a term oft-applied to adult social networkers who observe more than participate, for example, might be one type of youth, requiring a different strategy than “Creators” who crave ways to show who they are online. Which segment of social media users does your brand attract? Is your strategy aligned with your target’s behaviors and attitudes about social networking?
  9. School may be a space that’s more sponge-y than in the recent past. We’ll file this one under “the jury’s still out.” Some speakers indicated that getting in schools might be necessary to reach youth, and that, depending on your ability to prove the value of your content to administrators, outsiders might be invited in. This counter’s some (recent) convention wisdom about the increasing sensitivity from schools surrounding marketing within them, but perhaps there’s an opportunity to add value in new ways that provide more benefit than push parents’ and teachers’ buttons.
  10. Finally, performance matters to this generation. We can’t help but end on our own insights! This cohort is surrounded by stages, and raised to believe that everyone’s a critic. They are system savvy and know that discovery is only a YouTube video away. Still, while it’s easy to be cynical about a cohort that is seemingly seduced by fame, their takes on celebrity and on performance are more complicated, and perhaps, sophisticated, than we might think. Find out more at our upcoming webinar.

Tags: youth research, kids, parents, conference, parenting, tweens

What makes amusement parks so compelling to kids, tweens, teens?

Posted by Amy Henry on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 @ 11:32 AM

We admit it: this question might not require tons of data and a few highly educated youth experts to answer!

But we’re speaking at Kid Power next week at the Grand Floridian in Disney World, and we have amusement park on our minds! (By the way, there’s still time to register!) Our pending trip to the most magical kingdom got us thinking: what can other brands and organizations learn from the way children of all ages long for a visit to these super-playgrounds?Disney World

  1. The experience begins before it begins...For parents, anticipating a family vacation often includes some anxiety. But for kids, tweens and even the most amusement park-experienced teens, wondering what it will be like (this time, if it’s not their first visit) is part of the excitement, and also part of the tale they’ll eventually tell about their “trip.” Disney’s site lets the traveler prepare and plan, but it also allows youth to rehearse their memories before they happen. This previewing doesn’t only put them in the appropriate mindset for their vacation (looking for the good, not worrying about the worst), but it also immerses them even further in the fantasy before they fly on Peter Pan’s magic boat, or take off on Space Mountain. And social media allows youth and families alike to not only find out about the vacation they’re about to take, but also to share in the excitement with others.
  2. Technology takes a backseat, it doesn’t drive. When the guys at Pixar, who undeniably make the most of technology, talk about their tools, they describe a desire to make it disappear. Don’t panic – they don’t mean to suggest that they’d like to abandon all of the techniques that make their characters look real. Instead, they suggest that technology is done well when you can’t see it – when it does such a great job of helping tell your story that it’s no longer part of the story. If you thought about innovative animation when you think Toy Story, they may not have succeeded in doing their job. Instead, you think about Woody and his loyalty to Andy and his triumphant friendship with Buzz. It’s the same thing at amusement parks – wondering how that ride works might be exciting to the budding engineer, but losing one’s self in the fantasy is much more intriguing. It’s the same with most experiences – technology shouldn’t be the story, but the means of letting the story shine.
  3. Outside voices are allowed!  For today’s children and even teens, there are few places where they can truly run free. Not that we’re advocating unleashing your little ones in an amusement park, but this is one turf on which it’s safe to say that they’re in charge. For parents, a place where children can get a little loud at the dinner table (or snack bar) and where strollers are permitted (even if, as at Disney, you need to valet park your stroller in the lot before you ride), can be just as compelling as the adult-only entertainment options that used to make for a great vacation. Okay, maybe that’s too much. But youth love a place that let’s them feel unencumbered, and sometimes the fenced in, turnstile governed spaces that are amusement parks are, ironically, what allows them to let loose! For brands and particularly organizations, do the experiences you craft for youth and families give them a taste of freedom, or just another set of rules and restrictions?
  4. The details matter. When we think about decisions for our businesses, brands and organizations, we often think about the big picture. In amusement park speak, this might translate to: good rides, available food, convenient parking. But this is hardly what makes an amusement park propel towards mythical status in the minds of youth. It’s the “specialness” and the thoughtfulness that they encounter at every step of a well-imagineered environment. It’s food that fulfills their most fantastic desires. It’s encountering a character walking down Main Street (fulfilling another fantasy: there’s a place where these guys live, and where I might be able to live someday too!). But it’s also the special touches that make an amusement park feel like it exists within its own dimension. For youth, in particular, knowing the nuances often signals that you care enough to cater to them.
  5. The better the fantasy, the more frustrating the fault. Not all lessons from amusement parks are positive ones…A long drive to a park, followed by a bathroom that, well, departs from the fantasy, to a line that requires a ticket, a timeframe for returning and a torturous walk along a path of elevated winding red ropes. With a few kids in tow. In some ways, these inconveniences feel more dramatic and more devastating because of the very fact that they disrupt our fantasies. But this lesson is one that many brands and organizations can learn from – the better your marketing, the more unsatisfying seemingly reasonable shortcomings seem.
  6. The whole family can join in. Finally, we see, over and over again, that this cohort craves time with mom and dad, and occasionally, with their brothers and sisters. They are sentimental about family time in the way that we might associate more with grandmom and grandpop than the youngest members of their tribe. And for all their fantastic elements, the things that might make amusement parks perfect for kids and tweens in particular is the chance to test a roller-coaster with mom or dad by their side, or the luxury of an uninterrupted day of laughing and playing with the people they care about most.

Tags: kids, play, parents, conference, outside, family, free time, Toy Story, kids tweens teens, tweens, Superman

Join the YouthBeat team at the Kid, Youth and Parent Power Conference in Florida!

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 @ 01:12 PM

Amy Henry, Vice President of Youth Insights, will be speaking on March 27th at the Kid, Youth and Parent Power Conference at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando.Kid, Youth and Parent Power

In her session “Almost Famous:  What Growing Up in a Performance Culture Means for Today’s Youth,” Amy will discuss what performance culture really means to today's youth and what you as marketers need to know to get kids, tweens and teens to be fans of your own brand, offerings or organizations.  Based on findings from C+R Research’s YouthBeat study, an on-going quantitative study of kids’, tweens’, teens, and parents’ attitudes and behaviors, this presentation will provide information on how everything from the technology they use and the TV they watch, to the music they create both reflect and fuel today’s youth’s perspective on performance.

From this presentation, you will learn:

  • The reality and rules for being a celebrity brand
  • How social media reflects kids’, tweens’ and teens’ dreams of stardom
  • The family dynamics of celebrity/performance culture
  • The implications of this cohorts’ comfort with acting as “critics”
  • How performance culture relates to a desire to create (versus consume) content

To register for the conference and receive 20% off your registration, call 1-800-882-8684 or email Taryn Soltysiak and provide our discount code KP12_SPKPASS.

Tags: Education, youth research, kids, conference, Teens, free time, culture, tweens

Is your notion of childhood more real or ideal?

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, May 04, 2011 @ 10:33 AM

Kids at Disneyland At the Kid, Youth and Parent Power conference marketers, researchers, programmers and non-profits presented data and diatribes on the state of play (our contribution), the importance of pro-social programs, the truth about Millenials, and the efforts of organizations ranging from Boy Scouts of America and Lego to Microsoft. In almost every presentation, a central dialogue emerges…Is our notion of the perfect childhood more real or ideal?

After two days of listening to youth and family experts discussing the issues and ideas that influence kids, tweens, teens and their parents, it seemed fitting to head over to nearby Disney World, with my 3-year-old son in tow. The Disney experience brings these two sides of the coin into relief. Is the Magic Kingdom’s magic about reminding us that every child has something to celebrate (the theme of the song that ushers in the park’s daily character parade) or is it about strategically placing bathrooms so it seems that there’s almost always one within the line of sight of a frazzled mom? Is it about the fantasy that one is riding over the rooftops of London in Peter Pan’s galleon, or is it about the Fast Pass system that – while imperfect – acknowledges that kids cannot tolerate lines longer than twenty minutes and that parents prefer the option of scheduling a return visit later in their day? Is the magic about meeting Buzz Lightyear or is it about the ease with which one can access the photos taken online and either purchase them or simply email them (within a Disney designed template) to friends and relatives?

And whose childhood are we talking about anyway? At Disney World, kids and their parents indulge in timeless childhood pleasures and elements of culture: pursuing pirates, taking trains, flying spaceships or navigating the caves of Tom Sawyer’s island. But along the way, we notice high tech toys, video game references and shows that let you audition to be on American Idol (at Disney Hollywood Studios). Still, Disney seems to be a place that’s more dedicated to transmitting ideals of childhoods past than about epitomizing the experiences and culture of today’s kids, tweens and teens.

And maybe that’s okay. In the land of fantasy (as opposed to social policy or education), the realities of contemporary children might not matter very much. Parents who come to Disney understand how to play there. They feel a sense of belonging that they might not in the online world. And kids seem to revel in the chance to connect with parents as much as the opportunity to escape into fantasy. So maybe the answer is that today’s ideal childhood is co-constructed by parents and kids. This collaborative creation of the ideal childhood might have something in it for both parents and kids.

Tags: kids, play, conference, Youth, kids tweens teens

Finding Fashion That Fits Tweens and Teens: Lessons From The Field

Posted by Amy Henry on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 @ 09:41 AM

Tween Teen FashionThis week, team YouthBeat presented at the MAGIC conference in Las Vegas. While fashion hasn’t always been our bag, so to speak, we have been engaged in some enlightening conversations with teens and tweens over the past few months regarding their closets, their clothes and the way that both of these reflect their emerging character. Our YouthBeat subscribers will see our qualitative panelists speak about fashion for themselves in an upcoming episode of “Time Capsule TV.” For our blog readers, we thought we’d share some of the emerging ideas related to today’s youth and fashion…

  1. Today’s teens are more cost-conscious than ever…And they reward retailers and brands who understand this. While getting the right style still matters more than getting something on sale, tweens and teens are savvier shoppers than we might think…In our recent round of qualitative, we heard about clothing swaps (friends exchanging the digs they’re too bored to don with each other), raiding mom’s closet, and comparing prices online before heading to the store. We also heard accolades for Target for bringing exclusive and elusive designers down to their level. And we’ve heard more and more about Marshall’s as a place to find magazine looks at practical prices.
  2. Online has become a more important tool than ever for clothes shopping. But, for most tweens and teens, browsing happens more than buying. Teen girls buy clothes online more than any other category of goods, but only 21% of them have bought clothing online in the past month. They’re still more likely to shop offline than online. But websites play an important role, as many browse for their look online before they ever get a ride to the mall. And sites that let them share potential purchases with friends, so they can crowd-source a point of view before putting something in their closet, might motivate them to visit that site’s brick and mortar locale over another.
  3. When it comes to style, play matters – almost as much as pretty. Kid-collectibles like Silly Bandz have actually sustained their appeal with the teen set, who might be craving a little levity in their look these days. Today’s fashionistas want fashion to be fun, and look for accessories to help them (inexpensively) customize their looks and make a statement all their own. And the message they send can include a little bit of humor as this generation takes fashion and themselves slightly less seriously than previous generations.   
  4. But speaking of pretty…Today’s tweens and teens might be aspiring to a little romance and even some control in their fashion. It’s not news that the cultural climate influences fashion choices, and at a time when so many tweens and teens feel immersed in chaos, structured looks and fitting fashions might be just the antidote. Think Lea Michele’s Golden Globes cotton candy pink number, or the tailored look of Taylor Swift.
  5. Finally, when it comes to marketing your clothing brand, social matters – but maybe not in the way you think. As our experience at this conference confirms, there is hardly a dearth of technologies and consultants looking to help retailers convert online hits to purchases. But if you’re thinking social and fashion, think back to basics. Word of mouth influences teens’ choices of clothing more than any other source, but don’t assume that having a presence on Facebook means you’ve got it covered. Not all social network strategies are created equal, so make sure your presence is more authentic than intrusive, and more subtle then sell-y.

We think these lessons extend beyond the fashion category to many other youth categories…In short, don’t take price for granted, understand that online presence doesn’t always translate into online purchases (and that’s okay!), prioritize play in your brand’s product and image, don’t assume all teens want looks and styles that live on the edge, and finally, pay attention to social networks, but don’t forget that they’re not all online.  

Tags: conference, Teens, fashion, tweens