Offline Word Of Mouth Best For Teen Marketing

Most consumers continue to look to their peers for face-to-face advice and recommendations about their favorite brands, impacting their purchase decisions, says a new Engagement Labs report on the “Leaders in Social Influence.”

Assuming that the younger generation is greatly influenced by the digital world, though, retailers catering to the teen market aren’t drumming up the amount of buzz one would expect online. According to Engagement Labs TotalSocial® rankings on the top performing teen retailer brands in the U.S., consumers are talking more about teen retailers in face-to-face conversations than on social media online.

According to Engagement Labs’ data, when looking at the apparel retail sector as a whole, traditional retailers such as Walmart and Target performed better in terms of volume, which measures how much “conversation” a particular brand is getting online and offline, compared to the teen retail brands.



While consumers may be talking about other retailers more, they are talking about teen retailers more positively. According to predictive analytics from Engagement Labs, offline sentiment is a powerful driver of business outcomes.

Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs, says “… while many marketers assume that the younger generation tends to spend most of their time online… (the study) found that retailers geared toward teenage consumers perform better in offline conversations than on social media… identifying the areas that need improvement… teen retailers have an opportunity to increase sales and improve its online performance… developing strategies and campaigns that encourage social media conversations…”

Old Navy boasts the number one ranking among teen retailers on TotalSocial, says the report, due to its strong offline brand sharing scores, (the amount of face-to-face conversations in which people are talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising.) The retailer, which markets itself as providing fashion for the whole family, also has above-average offline sentiment scores, says the report, demonstrating consumers are talking positively about the Company’s marketing efforts.

Ranked at number three, Forever 21 leads the category when it comes to both offline and online volume, but falls behind with below-average sentiment scores, showing that the retailer is able to generate a lot of conversations, but they aren’t all positive.

When it comes to sentiment, though, H&M leads the pack with a strong offline sentiment score. The brand’s recent shift to focus its marketing efforts on sustainability and ethical apparel is clearly resonating with the younger demographic, says the report, resulting in positive face-to-face conversations.

In contrast, Abercrombie & Fitch falls behind with its below-average scores across almost every measure, bringing it down to the number 8 ranking in the category, says the report. The retailer, which recently shifted from marketing to teenagers to focus on a somewhat older crowd of college students and 20-somethings, has come under pressure given the rapid growth of fast-fashion, off-price and online retailers in the space. With the introduction of its new brand position, consumers have not been responding well, notes the report.

For additional information from Engagement Labs, please visit here.

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