Why should brans like Nova, Bodycare, Softy, Red Rose, Shalini, Sonari, Ragini and others care about teens, young customers in the age group of 12-17. There is a lot at stake in selling and branding for teens. According to recent census 2011, Teens form about 9.2% of the youth population. Teens form about 12% of ₹9,100 Crore women inner wear segment in FY2016. Teen brands are the most underpenetrated with highest growth rate amongst all segments of the women innerwear market. Teen innerwear is about 21% of the unorganized women innerwear market. Surprisingly, the price differences between unorganized and branded innerwear varied just about 15-25%. With value engineering and smart distribution, an organized brand could easily gain market share from unorganized segment. What is more alluring is that an average teen today spends 7% of ₹1000 on innerwear, on average buys 6 pairs in each year and expected to experience 3 sizes in 4 years. Rural teens in average brought 3.2 pairs per year. Young girls develop at different ages and everybody’s experience is unique. Teens also lead and live a busy life. Teens juggle between studies, sports, Dandiya and Dance floor with aplomb. They participate in NCC training and retreats, volunteer as traffic wardens and lead their houses in major events. They hop and jump out of buses or ride bicycles or two wheelers with gaiety. This means a ton of possible fashion and usage environment to take into consideration.
Teens are important to brands because they tend to be early adopters and often their brand preferences are yet to be formed. However, unlike the teens of yesteryears, teens of today are most active user group on online. Teens today are scanning trends and deciding for themselves. The first thing they are likely to ask the host is whether the Wifi in their house is on. On an average a teen spends 3.5 hours a day and an average, teens send 1480 messages and receive 2170 messages per month. Studies have shown with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, teens seek immediate gratification and thrill. They are expected to exhibit more impulsive behaviors. Well, it seems like it should be pretty easy to market to teens. So one would think it is easy to create and slip into a niche teens innerwear brand. Not so. Marketing to a teenager is a labor of love.
Studies have shown that peer pressure is big for teens. Acceptance and belonging to a group is paramount for their psychological wellbeing. That is why branding, especially of community branding works best for teens. In fact for most teens, social media is just that a platform to express traits and seek out others with similar leanings. So what must be the marketing strategies one must adopt for a teen innerwear brand.
First, choose your online platforms to engage them actively and direct your time and efforts towards the most relevant platforms. Popular opinion is that Instagram, Snapchat and What’s App appear on the top with Facebook and Pinterest up the rear. If you are pursuing a low cost viral strategy, creating tiered gaming campaigns using Snapchat or Instagram may work well. If you are just looking to widen your reach to teens targeted Facebook campaigns may work better.
Social media campaigns targeting teens is also about brevity and personalization. With shorter attention spans, teens are likely to respond more positively to short text posts and links. Bite-sized post with Big feet You approach works best.
Teen’s major sources of information about innerwear are opinion of friend (22%), store display (18%), social media (17%) and celebrity endorsement (15%). Where most brands fail is the poor execution of store display. Standees and banner ads are passé and so are the garish looking mannequins. Teens seek out more touch and feel experience and likely to lean more towards technology led experiences including AR. A less tech savvy salon experience also satiates exclusivity positioning and works well for exploratory or label lioness. Teens are less influenced by Bollywood stars, but certainly a swash bucking Cricketer or a badminton champ certainly gets more eye lashes.
From a marketing perspective teens not only consume information, but are also effective co-creators and distributors. Teens tend to use online media to share, create their own by-lines and funny one liners about the brand. For an innerwear brand it is best to emulate social engagement models that are espoused by companies like HP, Microsoft or Oracle in Open source arena. Involve teens to voluntarily create content, create a consumption community and turn ambassadors. Gamification tools involving rewards and recognition including Badges, Angelhood, High Princess work best for an innerwear brand. A low cost rural consumption focused innerwear brand can adopt gamification principles with multi-level marketing to reduce distribution costs and gain viral visibility. Volunteering is another platform that works best for teen innerwear marketing. Companies can create smart campaigns that can bundle social messaging on CSR programs and reach target populations. Incentivize them to comment, retweet, mention or getting involved in creating awareness about your innerwear brand.
A key point to remember is teens abhor preaching and explicit advertising. They may skip an advertisement if seen as an interruption or pushy. Communicate to establish relationships and association. Authenticity is what they seek and story selling works best. Humor and human-centered stories work best to build relationships with your brand. Communicate they are special and your brand blends with who they want to be and what they wish to be leads to better marketing outcomes.
For an innerwear brand it is imperative to remember teens are not completely independent consumers. Their parents open the purse and indulge in their purchases. Cultural sensitivity in campaigns and functional design over intimate one are keys to teen innerwear sales. You can’t afford to ignore them in your innerwear campaign and design. Finally, keep your marketing as fluid as possible. When tide turns, you must have the flexibility to turn quickly.