Young People as Users of Branded Applications on Mobile Devices
Keywords:Youth, students, mobile phones, social group, brand, advertising, qualitative analysis
This paper analyzes the role of young consumers in the context of new communication processes arising from emerging technologies. It examines the use of mobile device applications that activate new, more complex social and communicative uses of technology. The applications for smartphones which link to commercial advertising and enable online purchases are a recent priority for communicative actors such as trademarks, banking and technology companies. In this context, this paper describes and encodes qualitatively how young users as prosumers understand, perceive and use these corporate branding applications. Research techniques were applied to four focus groups of Spanish undergraduates of Communication Studies, as they are users that show a predisposition towards an early adoption of these practices. The coding and grouping of their responses enabled us to develop a qualitative analysis of usage and interaction with trademark applications. These focus group responses also allowed us to classify such communicative practices. In conclusion, active consumers interact with commercial content, establishing social networks with the backing of the brand culture and image as a form of group cohesion. Other uses are related to entertainment and enquiries for information, but users are still reluctant to pay for products or services through their mobile devices..