Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Catch 'em young!!

It isn’t so easy to do it, especially when you are old and cannot connect with the new generation, when value systems do not match and your ultimate dreams are just day to day facts for them. Talking to the new generation isn’t that easy, but marketers have to, taking the fact that India is a ‘young nation’, with the major share of its astronomical population falling under the ‘NEWGEN’ category. Their fun fundas and the yo yo styles are overtaking the predictable and mundane hard habits of the old order which is fading slowly.
Products and services have come in new shapes and sizes, catering to the new gen. Be it scooters or bikes, insurance and investment products, or early retirement plans, the new gen customer is the focal point. The whole business of marketing is relooking itself, and introspecting, as no one want to be left behind when the all powerful young Indian is walking down the market place. The new gen have the willingness, and the ability powered by their new gen jobs and even has a direction towards categories and brands thus making the business of marketing a funny place to be. Marketers no longer creates wants, no longer creates demands even. They just are there updating and making themselves look modern and cool and in tune with the wants and the well defined demands that the new gen seems to be possessing in abundance. They are there talking cool to the new gen, communicating to them in their language and behaving as if they are one amongst them.
Appy fizz was one ‘cool’ brand which in this case can be quoted as an example for the composed and bubbly communication that it did with the target group it was talking to. Axe does the customer engagement in a youthful way with the Axe Unlimited Academy et al, which raised many a senior eyebrows, but who cares? Bingo in India did the trick, launching itself into a category worth 1800 crores and growing at a pace of 25-30 %.The experimental youngster was the first to be in their scanner, when they wanted to decide who their TG is going to be. The fun and disconnected humour that the communication was launched with, broke the clutter of messages while the mad and vivid flavours which the product possessed, broke the clutter of similar looking ‘me too’ brands that the category is famed for. The busy youngster will see you, will listen to you and even talk back to you if the language is right, right from his point of view and not from yours.

Customer engagement nevertheless is a fiddly affair. It always was, but getting trickier these times with the Multiple Media Messages that causes the clutter for ever on an increase and with the Message Comprehending Potential of an average consumer remaining the same or even going down. The Target groups of the day do not have time for long copies and lectures, to be bored of, but are open to communication that pitches to them at their level and connects to them at the aperture, where they are and not where the advertiser wants them to be. It is not yet the age of digital advertising as it was touted, but yet it isn’t a media to be ignored. Internet is where the young man is and that is a fact that communicators seems to be waking up with. The radio is growing at 20 % while mobile is at a 40 % and the internet, even more. Now with these as statistics that are basic food for the communicators thought process and creative out flow, what else can be the communication platform for the coming years, for the New Gen?

Connecting the brand and the consumer is a dream and constant brand engagement is a way to it. I pill with its entire if’s and buts, and the controversies that surrounded it, did the engagement part right. Keeping aside the ethical question, it worked- both as a product and as a communication and that is a challenge that wasn’t that easy. Nike and I pod is into a co branding and co marketing spree which seems to be getting a lot of attention from its intended TG .Moods planet, a heavily personalized website from Moods condoms, is designed to make the young man and women spend time in pursuit of knowledge, and in the process get the brand sink in to his overcrowded head. Sunsilk Gang of Girls is an oft discussed case in point, but Mentos and its fun site are also to be noted. 7up and its Fido Dido rocks in their interactive site which attracts the young eye balls. It isn’t about jumping to the new media, on the assumption that the young people of today do not see you until you are also in the net. The Bajaj XCD TV ads where graphics are used in abundance and with brand name appearing only at the end, encharmed as did the Vodafone ads, with the dog and now without it.
Successful communicators though are slowly but surely getting themselves into where the youngster willfully is. Communities in Orkut, the best known social marketing and networking site is a case in point .Maggi noodles with a community membership of over 25000 is one leading example. Silky Kumar, the axe icon and his profile, created a lot of curiosity in MySpace.com and even orkut. It is here, the marketers realize that, the user not only consumes content but also seeks it, generates it and hence feels more aligned to it. Big adda, another social networking site also generates a lot of interest among its main user groups, in the addas that different brands have there, where a lot of active interaction about the brands and the associated lifestyles happen.
Instances galore and innovations seem to have no ends to it. Communication to the new gen was always a challenge and the one that we have today, is no exception for the rule. It takes more daredevilry from the marketing communicator to be braving new paths to be successfully talking and listening to them. But if you can connect with them early, you may be doing so for ever.It will however take more ‘full of life’ creative strategies and associated media strategies for reaching out to people, the young man and women. They are there, and you have to reach them where they are and that is a formidable challenge.

In short:-

Pack your communication strategy with fizzLook modern and cool, if you want them to like it ...
Live and let live - Mix your communication with passion....
Entertain their eye balls....
Use slapstick humour – They wouldn't mind it. It always gets noticed.....
Make it Interactive – Teens like itEmbrace the new media wholeheartedly, the future lies there too.....
Talk to the yo yo, not to the yore.....

1 comment:

Communicator said...

Hey what is that 7up site you mentioned. I love Fido Dido!

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