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Generation Y knows the coolest brands

The annual Sunday Times Generation Next 2011 Brand Survey awards took place on Tuesday, 24 May 2011, to acknowledge the brands selected by Generation Y (between the ages of 8 and 22) as the coolest in the local youth market.
With more technology at its fingertips, this generation, more than any before it, broadcasts its opinions and views on all manner of issues and topics across all the social media platforms.

"Any brand, looking to strategically break through into the youth market, needs to know what this market 'likes'," says Enver Groenewald, GM of advertising revenue and strategic communications at The Sunday Times. "As the buying force of tomorrow, youth need to be validated as consumers, as they have the potential to make or break a product or service."

Cool is in the eye of the beholder

This year, over 7200 young South Africans, from six provinces, were polled on everything from the fast food outlets to cellular network providers, celebrities to fashion brands and banks to tertiary institutions.

The survey illustrates what the leaders, movers and shakers of tomorrow are responding to today, as well as measuring the effectiveness of marketing and branding campaigns - aimed either specifically or not specifically at this particular target market - are being consumed and interpreted.

This year's survey includes an additional eight brand personality categories to serve as a gauge with which to measure the success of the growing trend of utilising celebrities to endorse big name brands.

Spanning 72 categories and unpacked into two studies - Coolest Brands and Lifestyle Habits - the survey illustrates young consumers' brand preferences based on what they deem 'cool', irrespective of their financial constraints. The survey also offers key insight into trends likely to shake the bottom line for some brands.

Technology is tops

Amongst various trends, the survey points to a prominent year-on-year increase in tech consumption amongst the youth and, although a given for some, it does denote this particular market's preference for products and services that are simultaneously functional, multi-purposeful and affordable.

For this reason, the Blackberry smart phone, with its widespread appeal, gained enough clout in the eyes of Generation Y to scoop this year's Coolest Brand Overall title. It also took top honours in the 'Coolest Cellphone', 'Coolest High-Tech Gadget' categories and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was named 'Best Cellphone Application'.

"BBM is the archetypal 'killer app' - it's one of the best examples ever of intrinsic functionality driving demand for a cellphone, or any device for that matter," explains Jason Levin, MD of HDI Youth Marketeers, which annually conducts and consolidates the urban youth market research. "The service turned the phone, originally a smartphone used for business purposes, into a cool tool for youth."

Craige Fleischer, regional director Southern Africa at RIM, the company behind the BlackBerry solution adds, "Generation Y's choice of the smartphone for the coolest brand overall reflects the importance it has assumed in the increasingly connected lives of a tech-savvy generation. They have become the choice of South Africa's youth because they are both aspirational and affordable."

Repeat winners

CAR has been voted the Coolest Male Magazine for the third successive year, recognising the magazine's initiatives in reaching SA's young movers and shakers where they play - in the new media space - said the magazine's publisher, Neil Piper. He cited the magazine's recent augmented reality cover and QR codes used in its pages as an example of its ongoing innovation.

"We realise how important it is for us to stay relevant to our large base of tech-savvy young readers. Using technology this way, allows content to come alive for this segment of our audience, enabling them to interact with their favourite motoring brand and establish brand loyalty from early on," he said.

Other repeat winners include ABSA as the 'Coolest' Bank, Pick n Pay as the 'Coolest' Grocery Store and 5FM as the 'Coolest' Radio Station. Newcomers in the top five rankings include Jay Jays, Avon, 8.ta and Top Gear in their respective categories.

Media consumption is bite-sized

Additional insights from the lifestyle and consumer behaviour segment of the study show how young urbanites consume media and how it influences their broader lifestyle habits. Living in a brand-cluttered environment, young urbanites have acquired the capacity to dismiss immediately branded content that doesn't appeal to them.

They tend to consume bite-sized portions of information as opposed to copy-heavy content. Though most might not yet be able to drive a car, they're almost certainly convinced they can take control of their media experience and marketers are ill-advised to connect with them in a way that undermines this.

Relevance, connections

Relevance is also very much top of the list, with the youth unequivocally demanding that in order for brands to entice them they need to really know them. "Youth demand irresistibility in a brand - and that's possible to do but it does require investigation, exploration, bravery and willingness," continues Levin. "It's worth doing though because only irresistible brands will have the necessary traction and stickiness to succeed with this generation."

With this advice comes the understanding that a 'spray and pray' approach to marketing will garner quantity brand awareness but does not guarantee quality brand awareness. "Connect with the people you want to have spread the word about your brand," advises Levin. "Make them the focus of your communication, keep them captivated and enticed and you'll undoubtedly reach their peers, and their peers."

Levin concludes, "Brands need to understand how to involve young consumers, which a survey such as this helps achieve. Bear in mind that over 50% of South Africa is under the age of 23 and spent in 2010 alone, R95.3 billion."

The survey will be available as a supplement in the 29 May 2011 edition of The Sunday Times.

Results of the survey

CategoryRankingBrandAll Groups %
Coolest Brand Overall 1Blackberry 21.1
2BMW 16.0
3Coca-Cola 11.6
1Ayoba! (MTN)27.03
Coolest Brand Slogan2Just Do It (Nike)19.86
3So Much More (DStv)15.06
Coolest Corporate Citizen2Woolworths17.43
Coolest Bank2FNB47.17
3Standard Bank42.89
Coolest Cell Phones2Nokia44.5
3Apple iPhone30.58
1Mr Price21.98
Coolest Fashion and Accessory Store2Edgars15.44
3Jay Jays13.46
1SAA (South African Airways)71.18
Coolest Domestic Airline2Mango41.66
3BA (British Airways)31.69
Coolest Toothpaste (New!)2Colgate69.23
Fashion Brand2Adidas20.37
1Protea Hotels33.6
Coolest Hotel Group2Sun International30.69
3Southern Sun30.05
1Gateway Theatre of Shopping19.2
Coolest Shopping Mall2Sandton City18.88
3Canal Walk15.7
1CEO (The Boss)20.83
Coolest Job2Actor/Actress12.99
3Own Business (Entrepreneur)12.44
1Siphiwe Tshabalala38.35
Coolest Local Sportsman (New!)2Bryan Habana32.05
3Itumeleng Khune29.9
1Natalie du Toit43.79
Coolest Local Sportswoman (New!)2Caster Semenya33.61
3Roxy Louw29.88
1DJ Cleo33.88
Coolest Local DJ (Radio and/or Club) (New!)2Black Coffee30.39
3DJ Fresh26.38
1Menzi Ngubane 24.39
Coolest Local Male TV Star (New!)2Zola20.39
3Chris Beasley 15.4
1Bonang Matheba17.92
Coolest Local Female TV Star (New!)2Charlize Theron17.62
3Sophie Ndaba15.95
Coolest Local Music Star (Band or Person) (New!)2Big Nuz24
3Black Coffee21.41
1Big Nuz27.63
Coolest Local Celebrities2Trevor Noah27
3DJ Cleo26.45
1Julius Malema28.74
Biggest Local Newsmaker (New!)2Jacob Zuma26.26
3Bheki Cele17.68
1Trevor Noah52.23
Coolest Local Comedian (New!)2David Kau28.43
3Leon Schuster24.25
Coolest Alternative Fashion Brand2Aca Joe12.95
3Jay Jays12.6
Coolest Telecoms Provider2MTN54.96
3Cell C33.95
Coolest Ultra Luxury Motor Vehicle (New!)2Ferrari30.97
3Aston Martin30.57
Coolest Motor Vehicle2Audi26.18
1Cape Town46.49
Coolest Local Holiday Destination2Durban30.96
1Gold Reef City37.7
Coolest Local Fun Destination2Sun City34.92
3uShaka Marine World28.34
Coolest Petrol Station2BP35.96
Coolest Sports Store2Adidas37.07
Coolest Hi-Tech Gadget1BlackBerry33.23
3Apple iPhone23.73
Coolest Cell Phone Application1BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)43.14
Coolest Computer Brand1Apple Mac35.81
Coolest Weekly Newspaper1Sunday Times55.64
2City Press36.16
3Sunday Sun35.12
If you had 1 hour to watch what would you watch?1Movies36.44
Coolest Daily Newspaper1Daily Sun42.46
2The Times22.75
3The Star22.07
Coolest TV Channel1Trace (DStv 325)19.9
2Disney Channel (DStv 303)18.33
3VUZU (DStv 123)15.83
Coolest TV Programme1Generations19.95
2Dragon Ball Z19.89
3Gossip Girl11.77
Coolest TV Music Channel1Trace (DStv 325)54.14
2Channel O (DStv 320)36.82
3MTV Base (DStv 322)34.36
Coolest Talk and Magazine Show1Top Gear24.02
2The Oprah Winfrey Show23.47
3The Tyra Banks Show19.9
Coolest Cartoon Show1Dragon Ball Z28.21
2Ben 1021.69
3Tom & Jerry20.66
Coolest TV Soap1Generations49.24
2Rhythm City33.43
37de Laan30.38
Coolest Kids TV Block1Disney53.38
2Cartoon Network44.84
Coolest Reality TV Show1So You Think You Can Dance?23.44
2SA's Got Talent22.22
3America's Next Top Model15.98
Coolest Music Retailer Online or Physical Store1Musica50.99
2Look & Listen23.94
3Nokia Music Store23.53
Coolest Radio Station15FM40.54
2Metro FM30.04
Coolest Magazine - Males1CAR39.37
2Speed & Sound18.04
Coolest Magazine - Females1YOU19.11
Coolest Breakfast Cereal1Kellogg's Coco Pops28.56
2Kellogg's Corn Flakes28.45
3Nestlé Milo22.27
Coolest International Celebrity1Nicki Minaj17
3Lil Wayne14.39
Coolest Grocery Store1Pick n Pay49.35
2Woolworths Food41.38
Coolest Dairy Drink1Yogi Sip44.64
2UltraMel Custard27.46
3Nestlé Milo27.29
Coolest Fast Food Place1KFC34.18
Coolest Eat Out Place1Spur27.77
3Ocean Basket13.16
Coolest Energy Product1Red Bull35.42
Coolest Snack1Doritos52.51
2Simba Chips35.25
Coolest Cold Drink1Coca-Cola43.65
3Iron Brew19.08
Coolest University or College1University of Cape Town (UCT)33.59
2University of Johannesburg (UJ)17.73
3University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)16.85
Coolest Sweet1Jelly Tots28.12
2Pin Pop17.61
Coolest Chocolate1Bar-One23.43
3Cadbury Dairy Milk15.38
Coolest Coffee Shop1Mugg & Bean40.23
3McDonald's McCafé28.64
Coolest Animated Brand or Entertainment Character1SpongeBob Squarepants31.65
2Ben 1026.41
Coolest Yoghurt1NutriDay51.99
2Woolworths Yoghurt34.63
Coolest Fragrance - Males1Hugo Boss30.6
Coolest Fragrance - Females1Guess28.14
3Dolce & Gabbana (D&G)23.01
Coolest Male Deodorant1AXE32.31
Coolest Skincare Product1Avon24.43
Coolest Female Deodorant1Pink Happiness23.61
Top 5 things you can't live without ...1Cellphone46.5
Coolest Feminine Hygiene Product1Always56.69
Coolest Specialist Health and Beauty Store1Clicks44.56
Coolest Make-Up Brand1Avon33.83
What social networking sites and websites do you most frequently use?1Facebook61.84
Coolest Soap Bar1Dettol42.88
Coolest Hair Care Product1Dark & Lovely31.43
3Soft 'n Free15.59
Top 5 things you wish for your birthday?1R10 000 clothing voucher40.67
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