Every generation comes with a different set of values, lifestyle and beliefs, and along with these differences emerges the need to communicate with them differently. The environment around us has changed, especially with respect to technology and platform convergence, and the Generation Y has been in the middle of this transition. In their growing –up years, they have had their first introduction with internet, mobile phones and tablets. Hence, all these gadgets form a part and parcel of their day-to-day lives. Therefore, it’s not a question of just using these and many other such modes to communicate with them. The focus needs to be on activities and not just platforms, as ultimately, it’s the activities that can be targeted for engagement with the brand across all media platforms.
Social media: Communicating with the Gen-Y on social networking is the natural answer for any brand as social media has become an inseparable part of their lives. Their interaction with it is not just on PCs and tablets, but increasingly on mobile phones as well.
Online: E-commerce, search E-Commerce is increasingly becoming popular for the time-crunched, cash rich and mobile Gen-Y and is here to stay. From travel tickets to insurance policies, everything is being bought online. Online buying portals are hence an extremely relevant touch-point for this generation. The focus on high-speed Internet and secure online financial transactions in India only adds to the growing relevance. Last, but not the least, Gen-Y is curious and all out to get information about everything that matters to them. The emergence of search engines like Google and networks such as AskMe and Just Dial add fuel to this growing need for information. Hence, a large part of their time is spent asking questions on the Internet and phones during which a brand has a huge opportunity to connect with them and grab their attention.
Mobile and other hand-held devices: This includes modes of communication on PCs/ tablets or cellphones for one-to-one communication, which may be calling, chatting, and sending text messages. It may or may not involve the use of Internet. This touch-point is extremely important from the point of view of customised communication, which is increasingly becoming important for building a strong connect with the TG.
Sports, Music and Entertainment: A major part of the leisure time that Gen-Y possesses is spent on various modes of entertainment such as music, theatre, cinema and even malls these days. Music emerges as an interesting segment with the popularity of radio on the move and live concerts and shows. Sports is another segment where they are increasingly spending their time, and this does not only include watching on TV or internet or at sports bars, this also includes live matches and online gaming.
Travel and food hangouts: Gen-Y is involved in travel, both short and long distance in a big way. Travel includes use of public modes such as airports, railway stations, buses and also vacation-based destination travel. All these provide a lot of scope to innovatively communicate with them and engage them, though it has to be kept in mind that communication must not be disruptive.
A large amount of time is spent by this generation on eating out at restaurants and cafes. This gives a huge scope to communicate with them at a place where they are more willing to engage in communication.
Television - youth programming, music: Interesting places to catch Gen-Y are the youth programmes offered by channels such as MTV, UTV Bindaas, Love CBS, Channel [v], etc. Several reality shows targeted at youth to satiate their senses – ‘Roadies’, ‘Coke Studio’, etc. – have been able to catch the Gen-Y big time. Live musical shows featuring Indian and international musicians, rock and pop divas grip Gen-Y attention as they generate a sense of euphoria among them.
Office worksites and college campuses: It’s true that the worksite is one such area where communication can be extremely disrupting, but with changing lifestyles, offices and the entire idea of work is becoming more dynamic and flexible. It cannot be ignored that this is the place where Gen-Y spends most of their time in a day and hence cannot be left out.
The challenge is to be relevant and non-disruptive in this space. In fact, this is a huge opportunity for marketers to be innovative and create relevant brand connect. College campuses is another important place to reach Gen-Y, where students make life long brand decisions from merchandise to food, cars, etc.
(Sanjay Tripathy, Executive Vice-President, Marketing & Direct Channels, HDFC Life.)