Statsthought: 65.8

65.8 - that's the percentage of 14- to 34-year-olds in Canada who provided top-box agreement (4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) to the statement: 'People place too much importance on brands.' So what's up?

65.8 – that’s the percentage of 14- to 34-year-olds in Canada who provided top-box agreement (4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) to the statement: ‘People place too much importance on brands.’ So what’s up?

The idea of brands has always been a moving target. The public’s interest in, and support of, brands waxes and wanes based on consumer confidence, faith in corporate structure, sense of self and so on. Given their increasing control of media, culture and, in turn, brands, this is particularly true for younger Canadians.

Though still an important consumer cue, brands are not the juggernauts they used to be. Like the demystification of celebrity, brands are more openly understood by young adults as illusory and fabricated.

So brands are now accountable to, and driven by, the very consumers they’re trying to attract. You only have to look at the new consumer-sourced ‘brands’ (Nvohk clothing, SellaBand) to see how people are starting to take matters into their own hands when they see a vacuum, smell an opportunity and reap some sort of cultural or consumerist reward.

It’s time for a brand relevance audit to look at every single layer of interaction, find any gaps and start working to fill them for the future. These new perceptions of brands are only going to change and get stronger as young consumers mature.

This ‘statsthought’ was gleaned from Ping, Youthography’s quarterly national study of Canadians aged 9 to 34. It was culled from a survey in fall 2007 responded to by 1,546 14- to 34-year-olds, regionally represented. Mike Farrell (partner, chief strategic officer) can be reached at mike@youthography.com.