Web thinktank-international.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Digitally Passive Digital Natives

You could be forgiven for thinking all youth were early-tech-adopters, tweeters, geo-location updaters, and 24/7 ‘Facebookers’, on the hunt for the newest digital fix.

It’s easy to see why – so much has been written about younger generations being enamored with new technology, adopting it early and using it proficiently.

It’s true, digital does provide lots of compelling creative activities, and enables almost anyone to ‘make it’ these days (as argued in the ‘Press Pause Play’ trailer) – but let’s not forget that this only applies theoretically – in practice most people aren’t digital creatives.

On one level we all know this – and pay lip service to the 90/10 rule - but recent research workshops with young people brought it home to me just how digitally passive and reactive 20-somethings can be.

It’s worth pointing out that these young people weren’t hunting for digital content, branded or otherwise, and instead were typically prompted to interact with digital content by more ‘traditional’ media like TV and radio.

Much digital activity seemed also to be under the radar – the majority of our mainstream youngsters were struggling to spontaneously name any online activities they’d participated in.

In the workshops we looked at a number of digital engagement ideas and it was striking how important it was to our young consumers that these activities were not time-consuming or in any way difficult to access.

On the other hand our youngsters could welcome being part of a creative project or supporting a cause – as long as they didn’t have to make much of an effort. And there was certainly room for brands to act as facilitators here – as long as they acknowledged consumer passivity and did most of the hard work themselves!

So it’s clear brands have to work quite hard to make digital engagement ideas effortless for youth - particularly as quite a few youngsters are more digitally passive than anyone might assume.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Friendship Groups - and why they can be great

We've recently been reminded again just how brilliant friendship groups can be while working with a drinks brand. How better to explore drinking behaviour and reactions to positionings for a drink than a 'Pub Tank'? Talking to people in the company of those whom they normally drink with. It sets the research in the social setting and thus has the potential to make it much richer. It's the same reason we love to use 'Kitchen Tanks' when we're talking to groups of mums.

A friendship groups gives you a ready-made group dynamic. They're ready to perform having already formed, stormed and normed over the years of their friendship.

Friendship groups can also be self moderating. People are far less prone to grandstanding or claiming they're cleverer, more sophisticated, more caring or less lazy than they really are. This is simply because their friends won't let them get away with it. This is great because this gives a glimpse into the social environment in which people make decisions. Outside of research their choices are scrutinized by the mates who’re scrutinising their choices in the group.

Of course, the great skill with friendship groups is taking that brilliant natural social energy and ever so gently guiding it to the research objectives of the project without puncturing it.