Allykatzz.com, the social network of tween girl research firm AK Tweens, is holding the National Tween Girl Summit on October 10, 2009 in Washington, D.C. It is free for girls 9-14; teen girls 15 and up can register to volunteer.
It would be easy to dismiss the Summit as a ploy to get valuable market research information from teen girls and shower them with goodies from sponsors. Indeed, the Summit is being sponsored by a variety of mega-brands, including Electric Arts, PBteen, Disney Book Group, Sephora USA, Inc., Popstar! Magazine, Fundex Games, Ltd., Daisy Rock Girl Guitars,
D’Addario Strings, and Chit Chat Beauty. Even the press release acknowledges that their motive is "giving tween girls a platform to share their thoughts and opinions on a range of subjects, and marketers, policy makers and parents a more thorough understanding of this enigmatic and highly influential demographic."
However, that's part of what makes the Summit so great. AK Tweens is forthcoming with their intentions, so participants (and their parents) are fully cognizant. They are also holding (sandwiched between Exhibit Hall trips and celebrity appearances) sessions that are relevant and informative to the tween demoraphic. Topics include "Get Empowered: Online and Off" and "Make Body Peace"- featuring Seventeen's Body Peace program advisor. Even Mrs. Obama has been invited.
Another point of interest is the use of social media. In one of the sessions, the girls will be filming a social activism video. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to upload photos and videos throughout the day. What will the teen volunteers be doing? According to the website, they will be registering girls, blogging, reporting, uploading photos and videos to AllyKatzz.com and Facebook, as well as assisting speakers, performers and press. And girls who cannot attend will be able to see updated information throughout the day on AllyKatzz.com.
The Summit's strategy is very cleverly thought out. Although not every company can afford celebrity guests and big name sponsors, everyone can find ways to make social media tools more accessible to their customers.