Despite the shifting needs of the youth, what they want from brands has not changed – says GenNext Youth Behaviour report

by Media Xpose

The 2022 Gen Next report reveals what feels like unprecedented chaos as an ongoing theme experienced by the youth of South Africa. Youth unemployment, a shrinking economy, load shedding, looting and lockdown restrictions are but several contentious issues the youth were dealing with when the research study was infield. Compound these issues together and the result is a generation of youth that are untrusting and highly speculative of the very individuals and institutions that they should be able to rely on to protect and serve their interests. As a result of these challenges, the youth of South Africa seem to have been denied a “rite of passage”, or access to a “normal” life.

This raises the question; what is the “new normal”? The Gen Next report reveals that youth have turned to self-sufficiency as a means of getting by and voicing their concerns – really taking things into their own hands. The report shows that youth self-esteem and self-actualisation has grown from the previous year. SA youth have a greater sense of optimism and resilience about them. We see this as youth demonstrate excitement about the future and show an increased interest in learning new things and developing skills.

Yellowwood had an opportunity to expand on this revelation at the Sunday Times GenNext insights session which took place recently where Nolitha Mkhwanazi Head of Youth Strategy & Innovation at Yellowwood further expanded on this, pointing out three key questions that brands should be mindful of as they seek to build resonance with this audience:

1. What unexpected experiences could your brand create for young people?

2. What life–connected purpose is your brand helping young people pursue?

3. What material change in how you invest in youth are you willing to do today?

Pete Khoury, Chief Creative Officer at Hunts Lascaris, shared that “gaming” is now a third-place gaming. He elaborated in greater detail about how gaming has become a mainstream Third place, allowing us to expand our creative canvas and challenge the rules of reality. Third place gaming is a shift from gaming being an activity we do for entertainment to a place where we spend our time socialising in.”

The session then moved to a ladies-only panel discussion with Ntombizamasala Hlophe, Strategy Director from Yellowwood, Vuyokazi Henda Chief Marketing Officer from Spur Group and Tshenolo Koloane, Senior Brand Category Manager from Avon chaired by Lebang Kgosan from Cliff Central.

Henda mentioned that one of the trends emerging during the research was the need for involvement with products that could be customised to a buyer’s demands. Fast food chain RoccoMama’s response was customisable menus that allow customers to build their own burgers.

Koloane mentioned how Avon changed their communication for the launch of the new lipstick range to drive resonance with the LGBTQI market, which meant that interest in cosmetics was expanding away from traditional markets into new avenues. The result has been the emergence of new products, targeted campaigns and soaring sales of some cosmetics classes.

Hlophe, further explained the accent on attracting a young market to brands is not only by ensuring that they interact with products and offerings. Ensuring that they appeal to the audience means that products and services must also help solve problems that the youth may encounter daily.

The GenNext Youth Behaviour Report offers brand custodians a cheat sheet on South African youth. We use the PESTEL framework to give you an understanding of their attitudes towards the external factors. Using Maslow’s needs we provide an understanding of the levels of satisfaction that young people have and how it impacts their identity. This report is unique in that it allows us to track the shifts in attitudes and needs satisfaction from 2021 giving a richer perspective into the hearts and minds of young people. The GenNext Youth Behaviour report is a fact-based report that helps drive your brand’s ambitions using data from over 7000 young people – concluded Mkhwanazi

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