I have recently written about the toy industry’s need to bring in more young people to provide us with their insights. After all, the closer you are to childhood, the fresher your memory of what it feels like to be a kid. The more you feel like a kid, the better you understand intuitively what drives their interest; how they take in information and how they express themselves.
As a result, my eye was caught by an interesting New York Times article about one company’s use of teenage interns. The article wrote about Plum Willow, an on line shopping site for teens and how it uses teenage interns to advise them on how to speak to other teens.
Here is what the article had to say:
Plum Willow, a new online shopping site for teenage girls, calls on a team of 15- and 16-year-old interns for advice about how to design and market the site. What business — whether on the Web, in the mall…Because PlumWillow wants to be more than just an online shopping destination — it’s tackling the tricky challenge of recreating the experience of a gaggle of girls going to the mall — its success hinges on getting all the details right, down to the pop songs that girls want to hear while hunting for a new pair of slouchy ankle boots…Adults trying to recreate that are just asking for trouble because these kids are smart and sophisticated and know when something is phony.
Plum Willow made sure to listen to these teenage girls and their site shows it. Shouldn’t the toy industry, which complains about age compression, be institutionalizing the process of hearing what young people have to say by hiring them?