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Youth tribes are 'dead'

News, 19 October 2016

SINGAPORE: The standard marketing technique of segmenting audiences into groups with similar attitudes no longer works for younger consumers, according to a new report which finds many operating in a fluid state between adult and teenager depending on circumstances.

The latest Truth About Youth report from McCann Worldgroup's Truth Central unit was based on 33,000 interviews in 19 countries, including China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Philippines, and more than 120 focus groups in other countries.

One thing that emerged very clearly, said Richard McCabe, McCann's regional strategic planning director, was the death of the classic tribe concept.

"This generation do not limit themselves to one tribe, but see themselves as more multi-faceted," he told Campaign Asia –Pacific.

And a particular aspect of that is that they see traditional markers of adulthood – marriage, children, career – in a much more flexible way than their predecessors.

"We're seeing a more fluid state of 'figuring it out' based on many 'micro-moments' of achievement," said Nadia Tuma-Weldon, SVP & director of Truth Central in Singapore.

"It allows them to embody either mindset [adult or teenager] depending on their mood," she added.

Brands can tap into these moods, Tuma-Weldon suggested, as this generation was "looking for brands to help them 'adult' on their own terms".

There are certain areas of life where Asia differs from the rest of the world: for example, it is socially acceptable to live with one's parents up until the age of 36, four years later than the global average.

And young Asians are far more likely to document their lives by uploading photos of what they're doing (52% v 37% globally) – partly out of a fear of being forgotten, partly from a need for community.

Their photographic efforts have also shifted away from a search for perfection to "raw, unfiltered" content and brands need to develop an "on-the-ground and immersive perspective" that will resonate and be shared.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff