Marketers, advertisers, brand consultants got together to demystify today’s youth at the two-day Global Youth Marketing Forum, being held in Mumbai on February 3-4. While the pre-lunch sessions explored the youth mindset, the post-lunch sessions focused on how brands can create a greater connect with the ‘no strings generation’.
The forum serves as a platform for several youth obsessed brands from across the globe. The key objective of the forum is to highlight and understand the various insights of how to keep youth talking about the brand, exploding the youth homogeneity myth, what clicks with the youth, digging for insights into Asian youth trends and how to demystify the mysteries of the ever changing youth of today.
The first post-lunch session started off with Paritosh Joshi, President - New Ventures, Star India, chairing a panel, which included eminent speakers like Abdul Khan, Advisor to MD & Head – Marketing, Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd; and Anand Singh, Director – Knowledge & Insights, India BU, Coca-Cola India.
Giving his views on how hip brands let the youth do the talking for them, Joshi said, “The brand must be an enduring asset for the corporation that owns it. It’s great to be hip, but it is even more hip to be ‘great’. Great brands have always let the consumers do the talking for them. Technology offers core benefit to its consumers. These brands blend into the mood and the spirit of the times.”
Coca-Cola’s Anand Singh pointed out that there were many facets of youth that included behaviours, dreams, identity, relationships and icons. He made a presentation of youth homogeneity myth, taking youth from both metros and small towns into consideration. He explained, “The youth consumer of today are the ones who want to have fun, living on the edge, taking risks, seeking thrills and breaking rules. They have a universal aspiration and use brands as means to their ends. Hence, the challenge is to bridge the differences that can leverage in regards to this universal connect.”
Tata Teleservices’ Abdul Khan explored the many worlds of the youth. Pointing out the fact that youth was no longer a niche segment, he explained, “With 3 billion people under 25 years, the youth today wants to club brands and demand authenticity in brands. The youth want to identify with real causes. Brands are connecting to the power of emerging India.” Khan supported his explanation and presentation with some examples like Tata Tea ‘Jaago Re’ and Tata Indicom’s ‘Suno Dil Ki Awaaz’ campaigns.
The last session of the day was chaired by Suman Srivastava, CEO, Euro RSCG, and had Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Bates 141 India; and Dev Amritesh, VP – Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India Ltd as panel members.
Dheeraj Sinha pointed out that today’s youth was not a different species, but just another generation in context to other generations. He called the present generation as the ‘no strings generation’, and explained, “Today’s brands, for example, Nike or Pepsi are not limited to age. There are no mainstreams of brands that they would hang on. However, the ‘no strings generation’ can cleverly manipulate things in its favour and make the system work for it, but not go against it.” Sinha further noted that the ‘no strings generation’ needed experimentation and need with shorter expiry dates.
Domino’s Dev Amritesh said that the mantra of demystifying the mystery of the ever-changing youth was one of the key challenges and not an easy task. According to him, the youth consumers loved challenges and hence, the strategy was to bring in change. “India has the highest percentage of young people, more than in the developed world. The youth today has more opportunities, are seeking jobs sooner and hence, their spending power is increasing.”
Concluding the session, Suman Srivastava said that youth across the world was similar, however, the Indian youth was a bit different from others. Citing the points that made Indian youths different, Srivastava said, “The Indian youth differentiates itself in the changes of its environment. Today’s youth is not ‘agrarian’ anymore. They have found other means of employment. Today, only 21 per cent of the country’s GDP comes from agriculture. The youth have shifted their focus from agriculture to services.” Mindsets have changed and there is greater political awakening. Some other points are, today’s generation is more inclined towards nuclear families. They have explored a wide range of media. There have been massive changes in smaller towns compared to the metros. Today’s youth were not afraid to dream big, Srivastava added.