What is news, however, is just how much more teens talk about brands than the rest of the American people (twice as many each week). And for the first time, research shows that the brands they talk about most positively are completely different than those receiving positive mentions in the general public’s conversations.

In a word of mouth (WOM) survey of 2,046 teens (ages 13-17) conducted January through May 2007, the five brands with the largest number of “net positive” mentions were iPod, American Eagle, Dr Pepper, Chevrolet and Nintendo. In contrast, the top five WOM brand all-stars among the general public (15,287 respondents, ages 13-69) are Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Wal-Mart, Sony and Toyota.

This is the latest research from TalkTrack, the Keller Fay Group’s measurement program for WOM marketing that monitors the word of mouth conversations of thousands of Americans weekly. Highlights from the study, “Hot Brands in Teen Conversations: Teen Word of Mouth Winners from TalkTrack” include:

— Teens have 145 WOM conversations per week-more than twice as many as
the general public (71).

— Although most of these WOM conversations (63%) are face-to-face, and
13% by phone, they are three times more likely to occur online (e.g.,
through text message/IM, e-mail, or chats/blogs) than similar
conversations among the adult population. 19% of teen conversations
occur online, versus 7% of the total public.

— More than 50% of teen WOM cites marketing or media efforts that support
the brand or specific products.
— American Eagle is the only fashion apparel brand to make the list of
“All Star” word of mouth brands; interestingly, no apparel retailer
appears on the top 10 list for adults.

— Teens are far more likely than the total public to have conversations
on a typical day about technology products, sports/recreation/hobbies,
and telecom. Large differences are also found for shopping and apparel
and personal care/beauty.

“One of the most common questions we are asked about word of mouth is about teens: Are they different, and how are they different? Our study now provides the answers,” said Ed Keller, founder and CEO of the Keller Fay Group and co-author of The Influentials. “It provides clear evidence that teens need to be thought about as a distinct target, with tremendous opportunities for word of mouth marketing. It also reinforces the need for brand and marketing managers to better understand what teens are saying about their ads and promotions, and to find ways to create marketing messages that resonate with teens to maximize the likelihood they will find their way into these conversations.”

Launched in spring 2006, the TalkTrack program is the first continuous study of WOM in all channels (online and offline) designed to closely monitor and measure the marketing-relevant attributes of actual consumer conversations. For additional information, visit www.kellerfay.com.