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Speak 'adorkable' to China's teens

News, 11 February 2016

BEIJING/LONDON: Marketers seeking to reach China's post-00 teens need to understand and communicate using their "adorkable" vocabulary according to several leading industry figures.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Lily Xiong, associate research director of Ogilvy & Mather China, Theresa Loo, chief knowledge officer of Ogilvy & Mather China, and Robin Chen, chief analyst at WebInsight, outline the findings of a recent report on this generation which they describe as growing up tech-savvy and self-oriented.

"Post-00s have seen it all and are sophisticated in their consumption," they say. "They are well versed in receiving and processing an enormous amount of marketing messages simultaneously" – which inevitably shapes the way they connect with brands.

Marketers specialising in children's products have already tapped into this group, but the authors suggest that "the real opportunities lie in products originally meant for other age groups".

So marketers have a choice of offering a junior version of their products to the Post-00 segment or tailoring communication messages to meet their particular needs.

And if those communications are to be effective they will have to use the "adorkable" – defined as "socially inept or unfashionable in a charming or endearing way" – vocabulary of Post-00s, which includes widespread use of emoticons.

The authors also highlight the zhai (cocoon) tendencies of the adorkable generation: 70% stay at home rather than go out, as technology allows them to do so much in the comfort of their own homes.

Brands can play the counter-trend and draw this generation out of their zhai existence, the authors say.

"Any experience that disturbs their comfort zone will provide a fresh perspective for them and shed a different light on the brand that brings about the experience." Experiences can also generate social buzz and enhance brand loyalty.

Being self-oriented, brands also need to make Post-00s the centre of attention and find ways of personalising content so they can look good among their peers.

In only three years the first batch of Post-00s will be entering the job market or going to university, with truly independent spending power. "It is never too early for brands to take a look and make use of the next few years to groom this consumer segment," the authors say.

Data sourced from Admap