Why do teens today experience a disconnect with brands

In our latest research, Teens in 2017, we sought to understand the relationship between teens and brands. What we found makes for uncomfortable reading. We uncovered a fundamental disconnect between teenagers and brands, with many teens feeling stereotyped and misunderstood:

  • Over half of teenagers (56%) say they are fed up with brands stereotyping young people
  • 29% of teens don’t think brands understand them
  • Half (51%) say that brands try too hard to be cool
  • 42% believe that brands patronise young people
  • 42% say that they know more than brands give them credit for
  • 63% of teenagers think that brands are too focused on making money

In addition to this, we uncovered a number of other factors which contribute towards a sense of disillusionment with brands.

When asked what annoys them most about brands, perceived high prices came out as teenagers’ top frustration. As one teen commented “the cost of items is continuously going up.”

Excessive advertising is also a key frustration for teenagers. As one put it: “sometimes you feel bombarded by their promo[tions] and constant attempts to get you to buy.”

Furthermore, many of the advertising techniques used to appeal to young people by brands fall flat, with almost half of teens (47%) thinking that brands try too hard on social media.

After high prices and excessive advertising, teens rated poor customer service as their third biggest frustration with brands.

So what can brands do to address this disconnect? Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing our top three recommendations for brands looking to strengthen their relationships with teenagers on the blog.