Marketing to the youth? Here’s what you need to remember in a post-Covid world

Guest Column: Navin Shenoy, Head of Marketing - Youth, Music & English Entertainment, Viacom18, lists key insights from the MTV Insights Studio study that are relevant to every youth marketer now

e4m by Navin Shenoy
Updated: Aug 13, 2020 8:55 AM
Navin Shenoy

‘Covid-19’, ‘lockdown’, ‘pandemic’, ‘new normal’, and more recently ‘unlock’. These words have probably been spoken as many times in the last three months as ‘strategy’ is in corporate India’s boardrooms. But what this current predicament has taught us mortals is that the power of collaborative efforts can help us deal with any situation. As a brand that caters to 600 million youth in India, our challenge through these last few months have been to keep up a generation entertained whose attention span is about 8 seconds and who are forced to stay at home watching ‘Ramayan’ with parents. We had to do something to keep the GenZ interested and millennials engaged through the lockdown and ensure affinity to our band of entertainment.

Marketing and being relevant to youth need constant engagement. Therefore, the MTV Insights Studio recently conducted a focus group with close to 500 GenZ and millennial participants to understand the various facets of their life in lockdown. While MTV itself has integrated learnings from this behavioural trend study in its programing and marketing endeavors, here are three key insights that are also relevant to every youth marketer that wishes to reboot their business.

Don’t Drill Down On The ‘New Normal’:

 36% of all respondents believed that 'new normal' is a farce and things will be the same as before with 70% metro GenZs willing to eat out the same or more after lockdown. The youth largely seem to be optimistic about post-lockdown life and are expecting themselves to be doing everything that they did earlier. Hence, marketers need to stop bombarding them with ‘New Normal’ messaging and rather focus their communication more on “we’re back” sentiments. There seems to be a pent-up angst for not being able to live their happening lives all these months. Hence, businesses in the hospitality and travel sector may witness youth throng outdoor activities (even travel) soon enough.

Give Functional Clarity, Not Social Jargons:

Youth seem to be seeing through the ‘emotional atyachaar’ of brands attempting to be socially caring. Kudos if you’ve helped out as a brand (that’s secondary), the more relevant talking point for the youth are the functional changes that you are bringing about to make your products/services safer and hygienic. Over 44% agree that this aspect will impact their purchase behaviour the most.

Family Always Comes First:

Family once again comes out as youth’s greatest support system, beating external inspirational figures and content. Marketing that utilizes family as a communication peg as opposed to brand ambassadors may benefit. About 65% respondents found their family to be the biggest source of motivation during the lockdown.

As the economy reopens amidst the continued dampened consumer sentiments, the young-guns have the potential to revive sales. Hence, the key to successfully marketing to them should be a decent mix of the realities of the new world order while still being relevant in parlance to the life they are accustomed to.  

(The author is Head of Marketing - Youth, Music & English Entertainment, Viacom18.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.   

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