Youth cannot be defined or boxed into traditional SECs: DDB Mudra Youth Report

Beauty, money, sex, love, faith & substance are 6 entities which most acutely affect the actions, choices & aspirations of the urban young, shares Samyak Chakrabarty of DDB Mudra Group

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 28, 2013 8:52 AM
Youth cannot be defined or boxed into traditional SECs: DDB Mudra Youth Report

DDB Mudra’s Youth Report is ‘about the youth’, and also ‘by the youth’. The content has been collated, structured and designed by a panel of 40 urban 17-25 year olds from across Indian metros. This was a conscious decision made by the Group so as to ensure the information is raw and relevant and not ?ltered in any way.

“The biggest challenge faced by brands today lies in the sheer diversity and fast paced transformation that takes place with the youth. Data that is important or in today’s term ‘trending’ one day becomes stale and outdated the very next day, even before it is compiled. This makes it complex to pinpoint what would be the best way to engage with the youth,” observed Pratap Bose, COO, DDB Mudra Group.

Samyak Chakrabarty, Chief Youth Marketer, DDB Mudra Group talks about what led to DDB Mudra’s Youth Report, the journey and the take-aways…

Where it all began…
It all began six months ago when I lost a major business pitch. The client expected us to suggest strategies which would make their brand ‘cool’ and help them ‘amplify’ their presence on social.  My argument was that neither a million likes on Facebook nor ‘sexy creatives’ can translate into tangible/sustainable talk value unless you are able to first fully understand the psyche of your TG and what actually influences them specific to the product segment. This wasn’t a first; a lot of people in the industry both, on the agency and brand side believe it to be the mantra to attract the youth. They use cosmetic tools like celebrity endorsements, popular lingo, bright colors, fancy design and bombard social media. Sure this worked in the recent past, but now youngsters born post 1988 (read: tipping point) are more conscious and can easily see beyond packaging. As a 24-year old myself, I can say that we urban educated young consumers question almost everything. Let’s face it, young people don’t wake up thinking about brands; there is a lot more to worry about in our lives and therefore, a more strategic approach has to be adopted to acquire share of mind space.

The unlearnings…
Armed with support from Mandeep Malhotra, President, DDB MudraMax (popularly known as Mandy), we set out on a task to produce research that presents a raw insight into what actually influences India’s diverse and continuously evolving youth without worrying about having to say the right ‘keywords’ just to win that pitch! The first step was to unlearn everything we thought we knew about this TG and set up a panel of under 28 year olds from across backgrounds and metro cities to create this report – our role was to merely curate the content, not decide! I was clear from the beginning that this won’t be another piece of fancy statistics and will focus more on the core thought process which is relatively constant and does not change as drastically as our mobile phones, Facebook behaviour, beers and jeans!

Youth cannot be defined…
The first and most valuable learning was that ‘youth’ cannot be defined or boxed into traditional SECs. I was surprised to see a 21 year old in ‘Dharavi’ with the latest iPhone he bought after moonlighting at a call centre, and another of the same age living in a Bandra high rise using Nokia Asha. This set the context for a break-through in how brands can look at youth. We arrived at five ‘fluid mindset archetypes’, an understanding of how 18 to 25 year olds shape their preferences and make choices irrespective of where they live and earn. Typically, archetypes are different types of a consumer; our model is five different perspectives of the same consumer where each side gets triggered specific to product category. Using this approach, our next key understanding was how trend setters become what they are and how an otherwise fragmented medium ‘Word of Mouth’ can artificially be regulated to ensure the message effectively trickles down by merely seeding conversations through the right channels.

Another related simple fact I am most excited to share is that social media is NOT the primary medium to engage youth even today. The power of ‘offline social networks’ is immense and untapped since today everyone is distracted by this illusive medium. Sure it is great for users but not for brands!

The difference  
Personally, my biggest take away is that young people today are no different than the generation before – it is just external factors like new media, plethora of choice and fast paced urbanisation which makes us behave the way we do. As a brand if you want to earn my loyalty, first try to know who I am really am rather than judge me by popular perception or certain aspects of my action which not necessarily reflect the real me.

Beauty, money, sex, love, faith and substance are the six entities which most acutely affect the actions, choices and aspirations of the urban young. These are the main frames through which we have treated the various insights.

·       Gym = Style > Health
·       Facebook is the new society
·       Social products being used to guise social status
·       Greater the looks, greater the judgment

·       Compromise is my way of saving (conscious spending)
·       Uprising of the cult professions
·       Grow me the money
·       The stress is no longer only on the ‘Roti, Kapda, Makan’·        

·       It’s no longer the ‘S’ word
·       Films and advertisements are highly influencing sexual behaviour
·       Sex is no more the last act
·       While sex maybe fun, dignity is not compromised

·       Love is no longer a Bollywood saga
·       ‘It’s complicated’ is the new status
·       Family back on the No: 1 spot
·       It’s never been easier to move on

·       The drastic rise in the number of women smokers is being considered as a sign of gender equality
·       A joint is perceived as being healthier than cigarettes.
·       Entertainment without ‘substance’ is hollow
·       Alcohol and cigarettes are becoming the most important enabler of relationships

·       Young people are convenient believers
·       2014 will see the largest turnout of young voters
·       Even enlightenment can be ‘Google-ed’ these days

No more trusting anyone blindly (read: trendsetters)

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