What is the youth thinking when it wants to associate with a brand? What are the factors influencing the younger TG’s buying behaviour?
B Kannan, General Manager, Chocolates and Confectionery, Nestlé India; Neeraj Sanan, Vice President & Head, Marketing & Distribution, MCCS; and Emmanuel Upputuru, National Creative Director, Publicis India, spoke about the new tricks for marketing to today’s youth.
Kannan observed, “The relationship between parents and youth has changed today. They used to be rebels earlier, but now they are changing. There’s also the factor of the ‘sphere of influence’ – it could be a movie star or anyone. Indian youth is very interesting and they are probably a very big chunk. Hence, it is important for us to understand and engage them.”
Neeraj Sanan opined, “I think we are beyond influencing, it now about seducing the youth, as we are spoilt for choices and the one who seduces, gets away with it.”
Giving his five-point formula for today’s times, Sanan said, “The first is ‘Social Context’ – it is about ensuring that the context you are using is relevant to the consumer. For example, you have Aircel talking about tigers and Tata Tea talking about voting. For me, Tata Tea is far more impactful than Aircel because of obvious reasons.”
“My second point is ‘Attitude’ – youth is brash, irreverent and today, brands are moving towards that. Thirdly, ‘Technology’ – look at the power of Facebook and Twitter, an advertiser has to ask what’s in there for him. They need to follow and adapt it for a 360 degree communication. It has a huge role to play. ‘Role Models’ is another changing factor. There used to be times when people sought careers in TV, films and modeling, but today, you have heroes who are walking the ramp and are also anchoring shows on television – there is convergence. And lastly, I want to talk on the factor of ‘Super Risk’ – there are two impacts on the business in terms of revenue and cost. The clutter is only going to increase. We are talking of cost of media going up, there is 3D animation coming and so on. It is about taking the right plunge at the right time.”
Was there a specific way in which Nestle looked at urban and rural segments of youth? Kannan replied, “The 14-18 age group is different from the 20-22 age group. We try to be as focused as possible. It is aspirational, as the entire marketing strategy hinges on the youth. In a category like chocolates, consumption is still less. The growth is high, but the slice of the pie is small. I am not saying that the potential is not there, but we choose to target urban areas more because we believe that the potential there is a lot more.”
“In terms of other food items, the tonality of the message could be different, but the basic position would be the same. We try and segment it like youth metro, non-metro and end up giving a lot of messages, which becomes confusing,” Kannan explained.
Publicis India’s Emmanuel Upputuru pointed out that generation gap would always exist, but added that the equations had now changed. He said, “If you see Pepsi campaigns, they are still on the same theme. Youth is not an issue anymore, they have potential.”
Youth and media
And how does an advertiser influence youth purchasing via social media? Kannan replied, “Advertising is about knowing that certain products and services are available in the market. Today, we are talking about having conversations with the consumers. For example, the Kit-Kat squirrel ad drew one million hits in one month on YouTube. It became a matter of top value and conversation and when you get that, it is the strongest bond that an advertiser can have with the youth. The youth want a certain edge in terms of exclusivity like Frito Lays having different flavours for the Cricket World Cup – it attracts. Today, it is more of the Internet and TV engaging the consumers and it will certainly become very important.”
When asked how a broadcaster looked at social media five years from now, Sanan replied, “It is now and not five years from now. Media is growing and the medium is far stronger. To me, it is the content that is being consumed. Live streaming is available today, following us on Twitter is available today, you want to do Internet chats and blog about programming – it is available too. We have to be clear as to what our marketing tool is and what our product is. Once that is clear, rest is pure execution.”
Is the medium was more important than the message? Upputuru observed, “It doesn’t matter how glossy it looks – if the content is good, it will gets hits. The idea is important. Web gives you an opportunity to co-create the content.”
Sanan remarked, “I certainly think message is more important – a ‘Sheila ki jawani’ is seen everywhere, be it TV, radio, Internet, mobile or anywhere you say.”
Agreeing with Sanan, Kannan said, “The point here is the kind of importance it has been given by the consumer.”
The discussion took place at the exchange4media’s Youth Marketing Summit, which was presented by UTV Bindass and was powered by Mudra Concrea, in association with Tuborg Strong.