9 Ways to Improve the Lifelounge Youth Trends Report

Recently, I was contacted on Twitter (along with a few others) and offered a report containing “research on 16-30 y.o tastes in music, sport, fashion, entertainment”. The Urban Market Research (UMR) report is a collaboration between Lifelounge and Sweeney Research. But the question is, “Do we need another trend report?” Here’s nine ways Lifelounge and Sweeney Research can improve their UMR.

1. Examples
Get more specific. , some examples or case-studies of how youth-focused brands are addressing these trends would inject some real value into the UMR report. PSFK did it well in their Future of Retail report.

2. Other reports
Obviously releasing a report like this is a PR exercise to some degree. Lifelounge is attempting to establish itself as a thought-leader in youth culture. To succeed, the Lifelounge UMR report needs to contain unique insights, a different perspective, emerging trends and build on earlier reports covering similar territory. Many of those identified in the UMR have been ’emerging’ for sometime and are now almost ubiquitous consumption habits or commonly accepted theories (e.g. “Return on Relationships [engagement]”, “Email…on the decline” and the death of “interruptive…marketing”).

3. Context
A 16 year-old’s taste in music, sport, fashion, travel, entertainment, communication, finance and ‘lifestyle’ is nothing like most 30 year-olds. In what context are they comparable? e.g. What are the motivations for young people to travel? They will differ greatly with other demographic and pyschographic factors. They will also differ based on the idea that Gen Ys don’t belong to tribes, rather dip in and out of various sub-cultures simultaneously (according to a Media magazine article referred to in an earlier post).

4. Insight not statistics
Statistics are everywhere. Insight is rare and in the UMR partnership, Lifelounge should be aiming to draw meaning from the stats. Focus on a specific context—like how youth shop for indie fashion brands online—apply relevant statistics and make a conclusion based on a pattern of behaviour and (importantly) why that pattern exists.

5. Simple language
Forget buzzwords and fancy names to categorise consumer groups. I mean, who fucking knows what “Supercharged Consumer Sovereignty” is? Is that really necessary? Just tell it like it is. It shows your understanding and confidence in your subject matter much more than elitist terms patched together with a thesaurus.

6. Full disclosure
It’s great to see that the way the research was undertaken is spelled out (for the most part) at the bottom of the report. But why not be completely transparent? Explain how participants were selected, list the questions young people were asked, post the photos they sent you (granted, there may some privacy issues here), map the respondents geographically and address vague definitions (e.g. How did you classify “Rock music”?).

7. ‘Influencers’
The UMR survey results represent trends and tastes that are already very much a part of mainstream youth culture (in Australia). That’s a bit like calling a horse race as it’s happening. What’s more impressive is the work of a good Bookie. Reports like these should be addressing is emerging trends. That is, identifying patterns of behavior early, amongst individuals possessing traits that elevate them amongst their peers.

8. Sample size
In 2001 there were approximately 2.6million 15–24 year-olds living in Australia. Even as an extremely conservative estimate, the UMR sample group (1751) accounts for less than 0.05% of Australia’s population aged from 16-30. It’s very hard to draw accurate conclusions from a sample size this small, addressing such a broad range of topics. Could benefit from refined focus and/or larger population sample.

9. Delivery
This shouldn’t read like a PR piece. If you’re targeting a corporate audience, package it like a report (not a press release). I’d suggest your audience far from corporate anyway. So, why not blog it? Don’t just talk about the way media works…live it. It makes giving examples much easier. Instead of contacting people through Twitter—a token ‘social media element’ to the whole exercise—contact bloggers you are interested in through their blogs. The report should (at least appear to) come directly from Lifelounge.

I disagree with a lot of the ‘insights’ offered in the report. And in some cases feel that the most valuable information was missed. For example, instead of measuring that “Only 24% of the 16-30s downloaded music illegally in the last four weeks”, I’m more interested in the percentage of 16-30s who claim to have “downloaded music legally in the past four weeks”.

Thanks to Keep Left PR and Lifelounge for sending me the report. I hope this post is received in the constructive way it is intended.

Read the full report and leave your comments.