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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This is my first editorial since taking over the job and I would like to thank Emerald Publishing for giving me the opportunity to present to you what I believe to be some of the most valuable and exciting cutting edge research in the consumer practices and behaviour of children and young people. When I was offered the post I hoped that we could both maintain the traditions of this journal as an Emerald publication and take forward the strengths of Young Consumers which will always lie in its dual appeal to both practitioners and academics. We are going to sustain this synergy and will welcome papers from both groups especially if they can inform each other. Case studies and market insights and intelligence can be of value to academics working in children and youth consumption and we can all learn from the new research and theories that emerge from our universities and research institutes. So I want to hear from practitioners who would like to use the journal as a forum for sharing ideas and information about best practice and, yes, warn us about worst practice too. But for academics the field is changing and shifting and those of us working in business schools and researching in marketing theory and practice need to come together with the different traditions and paradigms of research in media studies, critical theory, post-modern studies, the sociology of childhood, economic and consumer socialisation, household economics, health issues, consumer research, and developmental psychology to name just a few – and we need to communicate with each other. So let the papers come in. We also need quality assurance for academic publications and I shall ensure that we adhere to a policy of double-blind peer reviewing for academic papers and close editing for practitioner papers. I have appointed a strong Editorial Advisory Board to reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of the journal and they will help maintain the quality that is absolutely necessary to take this journal forward.
So what is in this first issue of volume 8? A regular column by world famous marketing guru and expert Martin Lindstrom, author of BRANDchild, and seven papers.
In more detail: the paper by Bravo et al. uses a qualitative methodology based on grounded theory to explore the recollections of young people in Spain about how they chose different brands as young consumers and whether the brands they used when they were with their families had any influence. This sort of in-depth analysis produces surprising insights and will help academics and practitioners alike understand the meaning of “family” brands. This kind of study has exciting cross-cultural implications for future research.
Dens et al.’s paper uses a self-report questionnaire with a large sample of Belgian parents to explore their attitudes towards advertising to children. Their use of structural equation modelling demonstrates a sophisticated approach to theoretical issues concerning exactly how parental mediation between viewing TV ads and children occurs and results provide evidence of difference between cultures that requires further cross-cultural investigation.
Malene Gram’s paper looks at family holidays. She is interested in the ways Danish and German children influence their parents and how effective these strategies are from the parent’s point of view. A variety of both qualitative and quantitative methods were used and results showed that in this kind of considered decision making within the family (and in these cultures) children and parents can work together very smoothly and effectively. We have gone a long way from pester power or the nag factor and maybe we should all be looking at economic and consumer decision making within the household with these cultural and product factors in mind. Pester power will not go away, but it might be limited to situations involving regular purchases under stressful constraints.
Kunst and Kratzer’s paper looks at social networks and how they can operate when innovation occurs. They provide us with an extensive discussion of theories of innovation and how they might work with children. A quasi-experimental method was used with different kinds of innovation implemented with a non-controversial product at different schools in The Netherlands. Social networks were explored within the school classes and results cast some light on innovation processes with children although much work remains to be done with children at different ages and with different products. However, such systematic, scientific research is to be welcomed if this branch of consumer research with young people is to develop.
John Oliver is interested in customer loyalty of young people in health clubs and whether music plays a significant role. Using in-depth interviews with young consumers in the UK he suggests that music preference could be used in studio classes to differentiate between service providers and potentially enhance customer loyalty.
Mobile phones are a vibrant and changing market and in this practitioner paper Shazia Ali looks at some recent research on phone use in the UK among ten to 12-year-olds. Using both qualitative interviews of friendship pairs and quantitative survey research Shazia concludes that children still prefer to use mobile devices for their core function relying largely on phones for calls or texts. It remains to be seen whether kids will adopt mobile phones with the capability of receiving television.
Amanda Bunn and her colleagues are interested in stress intervention programmes in the UK and in their practitioner paper they describe these programmes and how these are available to reduce stress levels in young people. Structured assessments and qualitative feedback taken at the beginning and end of the programme revealed that emotional wellbeing and self-esteem improved and perceived stress decreased for students. Plans to market these nationwide in the UK to young people are described.
I think you can say these papers are truly international in their outlook. All of them recognise the complexity of the world of goods and services for children and young people and the cultural diversity of youth’s response to them. I hope that you will enjoy reading them as much as I.
Dr Brian YoungEditor