In our previous blog, we talked about the lives and attitude of the Indian youth stressing the importance they attach to internet access and social media. However, to look at social media as the only medium by which to connect with this generation would only serve a discerning view of their preferences.
“Spoilt for choice” is an understatement for Indian youth in an environment where mobility rules media consumption. The real social experience that the older generation so loved has now moved to the virtual world.
The online world holds an irresistible appeal for Indian youth. The popularity of social networks show that online interactions are in; nothing makes this more obvious than the relatively low usage of e-mail these days for personal communication in favor of social networking platforms. Mobility devices like smartphones and tablets ensure that access to all forms of media can be continuous and regular even “on-the-go”. All these have increased the attractiveness of online media as a medium for brand communication and marketing. Even the print media in India has adapted and is now actively developing its online avatars to catch up with news aggregating networks and platforms like Twitter which is, perhaps, now the new source for breaking news.
But does this really endorse the effectiveness and reliability of online media (social networks in particular), for brands to reach out to the Indian youth? Is it far-fetched to consider these new mediums as the best way to establish a connect with them? The findings from two different surveys by Hindustan Times (the second most widely read English newspaper in India) and ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India – one of the apex trade associations of India) may surprise most communicators and brand marketers.
Popularity aside, these surveys reveal a “balanced reach” of both traditional and online mediums of communication. For instance, traditional media and online media both seem to be even in their appeal for the youth. In addition, India is one of the largest newspaper markets with more than 107 million copies circulated daily, surpassing China and accounting for more than 20 percent of all dailies in the world. India is also the world’s third largest TV market with almost as many TV Households (HHs) next to China and USA. (FICCI-KPMG report 2011, Impact – WAN Ifra 2009, December 2009.) India will also become the second largest mobile broadband market globally within the next four years with 367 million mobile broadband connections by 2016.
The Youth 2012 survey by Hindustan Times revealed that no single medium could claim to be “the most preferred” by the Indian youth. The perceived popularity of social media was also dealt a body blow as an ASSOCHAM survey found. About 55 per cent of all the respondents across cities said that, they have consciously reduced the time spent on social media websites and are no longer as active and enthusiastic about their favorite social networks as when they had signed up. Nearly 30 per cent of these said they have deactivated or deleted their accounts and profiles from these websites and it is no longer a craze among them. While most of the remaining said they have started maintaining a low profile on social networks as their privacy is being breached and peep at their profiles once in a blue moon. So, how then can advertisers reach them?
Recently Canon, a 20:20 MSL client, launched a campaign that was well received because it was tightly integrated with other mediums and had a strong “call-for-action” for the youth who consider photography as a hobby or passion. Based on the theme “A to Z of What Makes Us Click” with a backdrop of fun, energy and exuberance it brilliantly caught on the youth fascination for capturing spontaneous memories in daily life through a click. This campaign was executed across TVC, Social Networks and print mediums, generated an online buzz through contests and they also introduced a mobile ring tone with a catchy ‘what makes us click’ jingle.
This is where brands need a re-look at their communication strategies aiming to engage a restless and lively populace. While the soaring popularity of social networks amongst youngsters and its marketing potential cannot be ignored, it wouldn’t be wise to write off the traditional media. After all the humble radio (which had been written off) staged a dream comeback in the mid-1990s, when private FM broadcasts arrived on the scene for the first time and India experienced a radio revival in the metros.
In our next blog post we look into how the Indian youth use and access technology “on-the-go”. Keep reading!