Charts from Label Networks’ Digital Lifestyle Profile Report 2009

Each year Label Networks creates one of the most popular Digital Lifestyle Profile Reports covering North American youth culture between the ages of 13-25. One reason why this report has grown in importance for brands and marketing professionals in the last 4 years is that knowing what today’s youth culture does regarding their digital lifestyle clearly reflects where things are headed in the future in terms of communication, spending patterns, and effective advertising and marketing strategies.

In this story, we take a look at social networking habits and personal relationships young people have with brands via social networks. When asked “Do you let Corporate Brands (i.e., Energy Drinks, Automotive, Food, and others) become friends/followers on your social network profiles?” it’s interesting to note that 60.6% of 13-25-year-olds based on thousands of young people in a representative sampling across 42 areas of North America say Yes, they do allow such brands as friends/followers. This quantifies that reaching youth culture via social networks is an important opportunity.

Yet ironically, we deal with many brands that ask us about their new media and social networking strategy and what which direction they should head in. Even more shocking is the high number of top brands in youth culture industries that don’t even have a social networking strategy in place.

When working within a generation that has grown-up with technology and the internet all of their lives, such features are simply a part of their every day communication patterns, which is why those brands -large and small -with the most authentic social networking and new media strategies tend to be the most successful in reaching their desired demographic. In fashion, this ranges from Urban Outfitters and their unusual blog to their m-commerce solution. Uniqlo and H&M also have successful new media strategies, as does Volcom, Vans, and Hot Topic, especially by utilizing connections with new media, social networking, and music.

Top entertainment platforms that utilize various online and mobile platforms that work with social media also tend to work best which includes a number of video gaming brands. Many energy drinks such as Rockstar and Monster also have progressive new media strategies, but an industry that tends to be late to the game is automotive. In an industry that used to have the largest budgets for agencies to create such plans, they do not necessarily have the most effective new media and social networking game plans in place and are just now realizing the importance of this connection when it comes to reaching today’s consumers.

Taking a look at which demographics are most likely to allow corporate brand friendsters, is also quite telling. First, by gender, it’s almost even with 60.7% of females saying yes compared with 60.5% of males. So basically, one gender is not more prone to invite corporate brands as friends over another which has meaning in-and-of itself (it’s a gender neutral issue -both invite corporations as friends).

Label Networks’ Chart by Age from the Digital Lifestyle Profile Report 2009

However by age groups, the results are most telling: 65.5% of 13-14-year-olds say Yes, they do allow Corporate Brands as friends/followers; 66.9% of 15-17 say Yes; 56.7% of 18-20-year-olds say Yes; and 51.1% of 21-25-year-olds say Yes. In all, most say Yes, but at the age of 15-17, that’s where the highest percentages say Yes, indicating the strongest market opportunity for reaching youth culture via a social networking strategy.

For more information about the Digital Lifestyle Profile Report 09 email; (323) 630-4000. This Report is free for Premium 09 subscribers.