Brands Are Part Of Their Identity (Except When They're Not)

At Pangea Media, we regularly gauge the attitudes of tweens and teens who make up the bulk of visitors to our site, Recently, we conducted two surveys which asked them to tell us how they interact with brands and, specifically, which brands they think are "cooler." True to the demographic, some of the 2,000-plus results were in line with what we expected them to say ... others were not. Below are a few glimpses into brands and where they fit in the tween/teen mind.

Asked how they typically find out about new brands online, 26% said they see an ad when using a search engine and 24% said they learn about new brands on the social networking sites, Facebook or MySpace. Teens still rely the most on friends (77%) to find out about new brands, followed by seeing new brands in a store (71%) or on a TV commercial (51%).*

However, it appears that social networks still have a long way to go when it comes to offering them ads and content around what's cool. Asked to cite which social networking site had the "coolest" information about new products or brands, 46% said neither, followed by 23% who said MySpace. Accordingly, most (71%) responded that they are not "fans" of a brand on a social networking site.



With regard to purchasing decisions, 57% would spend more money on a particular product because they liked that brand. Most (85%) believe that people will buy or use a specific product because it is mentioned on TV.

Asked if they think clothes with brand logos are better, 64% said they do not believe that clothes with brand logos are better. Respondents commented, "I don't care what brand I'm wearing as long as I think it looks good" and "I wear what I think is cool but I am kind of influenced by others ..."

Brand Preferences

After understanding a bit about influencers, we then asked about specific brands to see how some of the big names fare among the tween/teen audience. Asked to identify their preferred athletic brand, they overwhelmingly prefer Converse (57%) to Nike (27%), Adidas (8%) and Puma (8%).

Tweens and teens are a PC (57%) more than a Mac (43%). They overwhelmingly prefer the Google brand (74%) to Yahoo (21%); and YouTube (94%) is their preferred video service.

In response to questions about food and beverage brands, 58% chose Coke over Pepsi (42%) and Starbucks (63%) over Dunkin' Donuts (29%). When it comes to fast food, they prefer McDonald's (27%). However, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut each received 23% of the votes; Burger King and Wendy's each received 14% of the votes.

Interestingly, as they chose a preferred fast food chain, a large number of respondents commented about how unhealthy fast food is.

The results demonstrate that certain brands seem to resonate better with the tween/teen audience. In addition, tweens/teens are influenced by a number of different factors when determining what they perceive to be cool: They make decisions based on what their friends think and what they see in stores, but also believe that brands are part of their identity and they have to choose what is right for them. One user commented: "Whatever you think is cool is cool. Plain and simple!"


The results included in this latest Pangea Pulse were taken from two surveys: "How Do You Know What's Cool?" and "Which is Cooler?," which were posted on the Quibblo site in early July 2009. The surveys received over 2,000 and 2,400 responses, respectively.

*(Totals greater than 100% due to opportunity to choose multiple responses.)

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