Republic Poly's panel probes youth's habits

Second-year consumer behaviour and research students Sharifah Shafiqah Haron and Juan Yong Sze Yen, both 19, are part of a 10-strong committee of the Youth Panel.
Second-year consumer behaviour and research students Sharifah Shafiqah Haron and Juan Yong Sze Yen, both 19, are part of a 10-strong committee of the Youth Panel.ST PHOTO: ANG YIYING

It helps firms or public agencies find out about young people's preferences, or test their marketing ideas

Millennials at a polytechnic are now conducting research on other millennials for companies or public agencies.

Republic Polytechnic's (RP) Youth Panel initiative, which started in June this year, helps companies or public agencies find out about young people's habits and preferences, or test their marketing ideas, by getting young people to participate in surveys for incentives the companies offer.

Respondents currently come from over 1,000 RP students aged 17 to 25. In the pipepline are plans to recruit more people aged 17 to 35 from its alumni, as well as from other schools and institutions.

The Youth Panel is run by a committee - a core group of 10 consumer behaviour and research students - which acts like a mini research agency, recruiting members, distributing incentives to participants and summarising findings in infographics.

VALUABLE INSIGHT

It gave us the insight to how research is really done. Presenting the results in a summarised version is a lot of work...You need to be precise and concise in the working industry.

MR JUAN YONG SZE YEN, a Republic Poly second-year consumer behaviour and research student and president of the Youth Panel committee.

These students do not get extra credit but instead treat it as a learning experience for themselves or to build up their portfolios.

At the moment, the panel is not charging firms using its services.

Ms Sharryl Ng, a lecturer at the School of Management and Communication, said companies had been approaching RP for some time because its staff members and students had expertise in consumer research.

She said: "They (the companies) had questions, for instance, 'Which colour of product should we put in our advertisements?'"

She added that the Youth Panel helped companies that wanted to get young people's opinions but may find it hard to specially recruit them.

So far, it has helped telco StarHub find out how young people used their phones while travelling overseas. The company last year launched a product where customers could buy a prepaid card in Singapore for their overseas data use.

MATCHING USER PROFILE

We find that the demographics match our user profile. We'd like to know how they make their decisions.

MS SAMANTHA LIM, StarHub's segment marketing manager of its prepaid business, on tapping RP's Youth Panel.

Ms Samantha Lim, StarHub's segment marketing manager of its prepaid business, said of tapping RP's Youth Panel: "We find that the demographics match our user profile. We'd like to know how they make their decisions."

As to the benefits for students, RP's Ms Ng said it allowed those running the Youth Panel to gain hands-on experience in doing consumer research. She said of the students: "In the long run, the idea is for them to take more ownership."

For second-year consumer behaviour and research student Juan Yong Sze Yen, 19, also the president of the Youth Panel committee, it was a way to add to his learning.

He said: "It gave us the insight to how research is really done. Presenting the results in a summarised version is a lot of work...You need to be precise and concise in the working industry."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Republic Poly's panel probes youth's habits'. Print Edition | Subscribe