Brands must prioritise security to win over young people, finds study

Brands targeting young consumers must reflect their growing concerns around security in order to connect emotionally, new research has found.

The research, which was conducted among 1,100 16-24 year olds by Channel 4 and Starcom, aims to expose what young consumers value most and how advertisers can engage with them.

And 90% of the young people polled agreed that security is very important to them, with 55% stating it had become even more important in the past year.

‘Building good relationships with others’ was deemed the next most important need (88%), while ‘significance’, or feeling satisfied with who you are, was ranked third (86%). ‘Novelty’ (84%) – experiencing something new – and ‘integrity’ (75%) were the two least important needs in the hierarchy.

Pippa Glucklich, chief executive of Starcom UK, believes the research results reflect the current uncertain political climate post-Brexit.

She explained: “The recent Brexit referendum brings this into sharp focus, where younger people voted overwhelmingly to stay in Europe – a vote based on the idea of more security and stability.”

The study also argues brands need to work harder to play into the needs of young people. Only 10% of respondents agree that brands provide them with something to believe in, while just 9% believe brands help them build relationships.

Martin Greenbank, head of advertising research at Channel 4, added: “It is often assumed that novelty is most important for this demographic. Catch their eye with something exciting and fun, and you’re away. And yes, this is a central need for young people, but at a turbulent time when young people are transitioning through life stages, they need to feel like they have someone or somewhere to turn to.”

The research also revealed an insight into the way young people view different social media platforms. Facebook is used the most by young people (30%) when fighting for something they believe in, while YouTube is where they have most recently experienced something new (31%). Overall, 63% of young people say social media has helped them to build good relationships with others.

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