The youth of today is born and brought up in a digital world and addicted to it. Is it the thrill of being connected 24×7 or a respite from the prying eyes of the society?
They are social animals in both the real and virtual worlds. Tweet, poke, hashtag, texting, torrent, tag, BBM – are common words in their vocabulary today . They are connected 24X7 to the wider cosmos of friends. It’s not surprising that MTV calls them digital socialites.The consumption of digital time is so excessive that experts and psychologists are suggesting ways to put them on a digital diet.
Interestingly, the youth thinks collectively and acts individually. Consider the two most happening social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is a groupthink platform where the youth hangs out as a gang – sharing, commenting, poking each other. Twitter is an individualistic platform wherein less than 20 per cent of the users actively tweet, while the rest are onlookers and followers. .
Chat/email, social networking and search are dominant activities as depicted below :
Whilst the youth in the making (12-18 yrs) has already weaved a complex digital web around it as validated below :
- Mobiles emerge as the principal device for students.
- Laptops surge ahead with one in two kids having a laptop at home.
- Tablets emerge as an aspiration device for children.
- Social life is clearly lived online by this generation.
- One in four uses a smart phone to connect online.
- One in four is online for 60+ min; 50% spends 30+ minutes.
- E-com is youth India’s new mall. Four in ten are shopping online for books, movies or music.
- New careers like Retail, Tourism, Media are attracting students.
- They are using the web to research, chat/connect/blog, listen to music, download movies.
- Email is now a thing of the past. Its a WhatsApp world.
An interesting take on Youth and elections
In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the voting power has shifted to the 150 million young Indians who will cast their votes for the first time. Hence the outcome of the elections depends a lot on the young voter crowd. The latest to join the band wagon is the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik who is set to woo young voters – 40% of the total electorate.
6 key lessons for marketers today, the youth being 75% of the overall internet population
Brands will have to adopt the policy of “Don’t wait to be perfect, just start” and be “flawsome”. Real time social analytics further enable great content, drive engagement and make on-the-fly decisions around trending topics. To ensure that the youth feels involved and aspires to be a part of your brand world the following are 6 lessons for marketers :
1. Time to flash Facebook URLs versus website addresses – Indian youth are heavy Social media users. On a daily basis the youth spend an average of 24.3 minutes on social media. Hence companies are promoting their Facebook URLs versus website address to make themselves accessible where the youth is spending most of their time.
2. Time for e-tailers to go 24×7 with the nocturnal youth and maximise sales – The youth today is connected 24×7. They are availing special night schemes for data cards etc. to have it easy on the pocket. E-tailers recognize it as one of the peak slots and are launching special night offers, midnight sale encouraging them to shop till they drop, literally. Eg: Freecultr/Flipkart.
3. Co-create/crowdsource campaign ideas, logos, product development – The enthused youth is bubbling with creativity and energy. Marketers appetite to harness the same needs to grow. Coke ran a massive campaign to crowdsource its TVC whilst Lays co-created a new flavour of chips with its facebook fans. Sprite crowdsourced content for ‘Teen till I die’, encouraging users to participate and become the stars of college fests.
4. Customers will write content for you – User Generated Content (UGC) – The youth want to participate, share and contribute. Marketers who channelize it effectively will not only engage the youth but improve virality, shareability and stickiness of its destination.
L’Oreal Paris, India, launched the ‘Stay Rooted’ UGC campaign . Consumers were encouraged to take time out to thank and appreciate the people, things and places that have influenced them in their past .The best messages were customised into a cover photo.
The mantra of content everywhere and anywhere, on any device has made it necessary for marketers to shift both strategy and focus to keep pace .
5. Gamification & engagement – Gamification has become a critical way to engage and drive brand messaging with the youth. Portico promoted its new youth collection of contemporary and bold designs in the bed and bath furnishings category by launched a virtual pillow fight on Facebook called ‘The Great Indian Pillow Fight’, whilst Bournvita empowered viewers to play the Bournvita quiz contest through a mobile app and publishing the score on Facebook. Contests and tagging friends on Twitter involved user participation and inculcated the spirit of quizzing.
6. Youth relate to action oriented communication – Digital campaigns need to accompany strong call outs which attracts and involves the youth. A class example being the ‘I Lead India’ initiative which sought to mobilise young people in the 18-24 age group and make them agents of change or the ‘Youth Brigade’ working at the grass-root level to solve the most critical issue in their city.
So lets gear up to binge on digital whilst the youth continue to struggle with a digital diet regime.