Teens as Brand Ambassadors


By

Ms. Kouser Noor Fathima
Faculty
Department of Management Studies
AMC Engineering College
18th KM, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore-83
 


ABSTRACT

This article describes how Teens can become brand ambassadors for products and help in marketing particular products.  The teenagers are not only becoming more and more independent in making decisions but also have a considerable impact on decisions made about buying a product in their house as well as among their friends.  Their opinion about a product has a greater impact on their peers than the advertisements.  They use different strategies and communicate to their friends about the products in the market and help in better marketing prospects for a company.

INTRODUCTION

The speed at which ideas can be communicated has obviously appealed to marketers who want to see endorsements of their products spread to a worldwide audience at a faster pace. In today's world, many marketers are finding that their tried and tested rules no longer apply. The hard and fast rules of advertising in media using the cultural bond and taking social setup into considerations are diminishing.  Across all segments, social relationships are changing, children are becoming more independent, media is fragmenting and everything is happening at warp speed. But it is amongst tomorrow's consumers that the changes are having most impact.  Most of the advertisements are now targeting the youth and they have slogans which appeal to youth and their future.  Advertisements are made which tell the youth about their time and their days ahead using a particular brand.  Therefore young kids and children are now the focus of the advertisements so much so that youth and teens are being used as brand ambassadors for the products.

WHO IS A BRAND AMBASSADOR?

A Brand Ambassador is someone who represents a brand in a positive way and carries the brand message to the public which in turn will help the organization inflate the business and sustain in market. Brand ambassadors ideally listen and learn from ongoing conversations and then engage in them, forming bidirectional interactions. The brand ambassador position has become more common because a brand ambassador can promote the brand in many ways and many places where many people can discuss the brand.

Sponsors eye upon children as right target in using them as brand ambassadors because of the contacts they have with their peers, social outing and information sharing aptitude with their friends anywhere. Every child has a personal life; in their personal life they will have many interactions with relatives and friends of their age group. Children are able to make decision on products because of the input they get from their friends about a particular product.  With their opinion on products they compel their parents to buy a product and the next act what they would like to do is to show off and tell about it to their friends. Many a times the talk may veer towards the surroundings where a teen stays, plays and studies. What a teen speaks about the product during these personal interactions may have an impact about the perception of a brand in the mind of the other teens or he may go for it just because his can be the right target for using them as brand ambassadors friend has it. 

To be a good brand ambassador, one really needs to know the product, the industry and to have the motivation to help other people discover the brand.  The teens can do this job very easily because of their craze for a particular brand, they try and discover everything they want to know about a particular brand and later discuss it in their own way amongst their friends. Most marketing organizations are aware of this phenomenon that teens can be the brand ambassadors for their products and not only that they can make a huge market too.

TEENS AS EFFECTIVE BRAND AMBASSADORS

Teens have just begun to be independent of their home. They live lives away from Mom and Dad for developing their career for several hours each day. They are old enough to form their own clear opinions about brands which can affect household decisions regarding shopping and brands.  The busy schedules of parents and the technological revolution have given more freedom to teens to study and analyze products and discuss about them among their equals.  The present day parents too are taking the opinion of their children positively which gives more maturity to a child to express his thoughts.  Their exposure to media and knowledge they share about products play a vital role in forming an opinion about a particular brand. They become distinct enough as a marketing group to form a workable profile that will be useful to any marketer's long-term plans. The fact that the young consumers do not just influence the family purchases like breakfast cereals but have an important say on big ticket items like cars and adult fashion has major marketing implications. Marketers have seen that they not only influence family but friends too. Teens influence the decisions of their groups. This is the group that marketers vie to harness. Their influence is invaluable to any product. They increase the popularity and acceptance of the brand among their peers. They play a vital role in promoting brands and products which leads to sales and there by maximize the profits of organizations and that is what sponsors are expecting by focusing on teens.

Let's take TITAN's fast track watches - they are so stylish, comfortable and meant for youth that teens cannot resist themselves from going for it.

There are atleast four main reasons why attention to the role of the teen in the market is warranted:

    1) Size of the teen market is rapidly growing
    2) They influence family and friend's decision making
    3) Their repurchase rate is high
    4) They are trendy and want a change 

STRATEGIES FOR CAPTURING TEEN MARKET

Word of Mouth: The product should be so innovative that it should lure the teens to speak it out. They learn about new trends and products from magazines and television ads, they then enter into conversation at private parties where the latest products and trends are discussed, exchanged and examined in detail.  It is here that they express their opinion and perception about a product and the opinion is spread among other friends who in turn will express their opinion and carry forward it to other groups.

SMS: Today every tele-service provider gives the youth an attractive scheme of free messages or so called SMS packs.  The teens use this media to express their opinion and discuss about their finding on a product and share their perception on different products.  Most of the time an opinion created by a friend is forwarded to many.  Most advertising agencies too are using this medium to send small messages about certain products or services repeatedly so that if not for the first time the second time he will definitely forward it to his friends.

Internet: Today's technology offers the youth more platforms to share and discuss their views.  Internet having become the most common place where any individual would like to spend most of the time has become a tool for advertisements and promotion of products. Today blogging has become more common and has more effect on the kids and their perception on any product or issue. Through the comments section on each blog it's then possible for the blog's audience to post almost instant feedback. The speed at which ideas can be communicated has obvious appeal to marketers who want to see endorsements of their particular products spread to a worldwide audience over the web.  Teens today are using and creating blogs to express their views on anything and everything.  It's at this point that communicative children can come in very useful way for smart advertisers. Through technology and modern methods companies get brand ambassadors who will happily work for free. Orkut, Myspace and Faceebook are just a few of the popular hangouts for teens.

Sports Events: Sports are fun for teens. As teens share their sports items, so do they talk about what they like about the sports they have chosen. At any sport event youth are found participating or encouraging the sport.  In such meetings the trends in sport industry, the products etc are more in discussion than use.  In such places youth find full freedom to express their sentiments and feelings attached with any brand. Sponsors should create positive associations with teens by linking their brands with sports which teens like, say for example cricket - most of the Indians like cricket or we can say cricket is the sport which interests teens, no doubt most of the MNCs promote their brands in this event but they overlook the other sports like athletes, football, tennis, chess etc, which also interests teens.   

CONCLUSION

The overall understanding of the construal indicates that teens play a significant role in promoting the products and services of a company. Companies who want to raise overall awareness of their product and services and infiltrate the teen market, should steadfast on teens to communicate about their products to their peers since they have the ability to influence their family and peers. Of course the marketers should know the idioms to use in terms of reaching out to teens because the teen outreach is not easy. It requires creativity and a willingness to take risks, but the rewards are considerable. With this savvy audience, it is possible to push the envelope and let each visitor become a brand ambassador.

Marketers should think outside the browser while marketing the products and allow teens to participate in the dialogue, and let them create content to express their individuality through the brand.  If the message what they are giving through the brand, product or service is fun, flexible, real and trustworthy teens will respond positively. They will share the message, incorporate it into their conversations and games, and open up a trusted, lasting relationship with the brand there by increasing the profits of the company. The days where a celebrity or a film star was a brand ambassador for a product are slowly diminishing.  An advertisement with a youth promoting a product is more popular than a Shaktimaan or Spiderman advising the children.  Youth go by what they see and what they hear among equals and this is the strong point that makes the teens as better brand ambassadors for any product. 

References

    1. www.teens.lovetoknow.com
    2. www.media-awareness.ca
    3. www.bussinessblog.employeeambassador.com
    4. www.molecular.com
     


Ms. Kouser Noor Fathima
Faculty
Department of Management Studies
AMC Engineering College
18th KM, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore-83
 

Source: E-mail June 16, 2010

          

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