How old are you? This may seem like a straightforward question to answer, but in most cases we do not see ourselves as our biological age. We think of age in terms of things like how old we feel, how old we think we look, our mental age and so on. This has a number of implications for businesses, especially if consumers do not see themselves as being the age that we see them as.
Age is the most commonly used variable in marketing, targeting and research. It’s the first thing we turn to when developing a sample structure, when considering our targets, when writing media plans etc. It is perhaps no surprise then that companies appear to rely on it.
At the BBC World Service we broadcast on radio, TV and online to a diverse global audience. The business has stretching growth targets and to achieve these it needs to bring in new audiences, of which a young emerging global middle class is an important target. The challenge is how to reach this new young audience and still maintain a core older audience.
Perceived age was seen as a key way to help unite audiences by better understanding and predicting the way they consume content and how to target it to them.
Building on work originally conducted in the UK the BBC commissioned a 15-country study of over 7,500 respondents to find out if the nature of the differences and relationship between real/biological age and perceived age is a universal, human condition.
This presentation aims to show that perceived age is very much a universal condition. Two key groups were identified – ‘Younger at Heart’ whose perceived age is younger than the average for their biological age and ‘Older at Heart’, whose perceived age is older than the average for their biological age. Shared traits were found to exist binding people beyond their actual age in years, with regards to areas like personality, relationship with technology, fashion, interests and media.
It will demonstrate what age means in consumers’ eyes, how it can be measured and, importantly, how age perception impacts on consumption of media and their responses to products, brands, marketing and communications.