Retailers are running a rat race to develop better ways to capture the most potential target clientele-the youth. Whatever platforms are relevant to the gen-y, are being tapped to pocket greater revenues. While are some are repositioning themselves, others are roping in young brand ambassadors. Social media as a medium to reach out to them is on a steep rise.
The youth, obvious rationale
This is a question which is pretty much answerable by everyone today. The young guns are the future of tomorrow, have disposable incomes in their possession, are very aware and have a sense of globalization as well. These factors collectively make them the most potential target group.
Kashyap Dalal, CEO & Co-founder of Inkfruit.com tells, “As per recent research statistics, 47 per cent of Indians are under the age of 20 and 10 per cent of the world population is an Indian under 25, is a common assessment of India by all countries now. Further research has shown that youth have a growing disposable income, a majority of which is spent on communication, food and clothing (<75 per cent). These figures are proof enough that youth today form the voice of the majority that determines the fate of any brand as they are either the purchasers directly or the influencers of purchase decisions.”
Brand ambassadors on board
Getting brand ambassadors on board is a practice common to the retail environment. Youth icons can work up to a limit to attract buyers to the brand. A large amount of effort and money is being put in to getting on board a face that the clientele connects with which in turn adds a whiff of freshness to the brand’s image. Matching synergies is of course what is kept in mind while roping in a youth icon to represent a brand.
Toyota has recently signed up Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador as it enters a new phase of its growth in India. With this association, they wish to bring out more for their customers. Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director, Marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “Brand Toyota and Virat Kohli both represent perfection and continuous improvement. The synergy would bring about more fun and excitement to all Toyota customers. Behind this youthfulness is immense potential, talent and self belief, all of which Toyota stands for.”
Apart from Cricket, brand ambassadors from Bollywood are also in demand. Canon has roped in Anushka Sharma as the face of their range of cameras. Canon as a part of the entire group in India has been leveraging on their association with brand ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar who has helped them a great deal in building a well-built mass appeal across varied divisions, regions and demographics. The stratagem of bringing in Anushka Sharma is to create stronger emotional bond with Indian youth. “With this twin approach, we can expect to build both wider as well as deeper brand connect,” said Dr. Alok Bharadwaj, Senior Vice President, Canon India.
Just roping in a brand ambassador would not work if the product range doesn’t attract the customer. The role of a brand ambassador is to bring a customer to a store, the product collection has to take it forward. So, along with roping in a brand ambassador, brands need to work on launching new collections as well.
A recent survey conducted by Canon to check the attributes that will appeal to the youth segment, revealed that Indian youth is looking at some extra zing to their routines. Youngsters drive the demand for smartphones, shipment of which increased 87 per cent to touch 11.2 million units in 2011, according to CyberMedia Research India.
To support its bringing on board of Virat Kohli, Toyota has launched a new line up of vehicles in India- the Etios and Etios Liva TKM which aims to connect with today’s youth.
Shazahn Padamsee and Dino Morea launched Amore, a youthful range from Lucera. Canon garners a majority of its sales from cameras bought by the youth under the age of 30. To cater to them, they launch new range of cameras under the Rs 10,000 mark to make it affordable to them.
Off the hook strategies
Instead of opting for old school strategies to target the young ones, brands are coming up with newer and innovative ways to reach out to them. While some are creating associations at the college level, some have taken to partner with live gigs that take place at a big stage. Nissan runs ‘The Nissan Student Brand Manager’ (NSBM) program wherein NSBM will culminate in the selection of 30 Nissan Student Brand Managers who will receive a grant of Rs 10,000 per month for six months to help them conceptualise and implement innovative ideas on Nissan brand visibility and sustenance. NSBMs will be given Nissan Micras to help them feel and engage their thoughts in line with the product propositions.
Red Bull, Levi’s and Pepsi have created partnerships with live gigs which have great recognition among the youth. Sunburn, the 3-Day Electronic Dance Music Festival which attracts wide Indian and International audience is also drawing sponsorships and partnerships from the retail sphere. Lenovo and Colgate have already been a part of it.
From eBay’s perspective, Kashyap Vadapalli, Chief Marketing Office, eBay India tells, “Imagery used in our latest brand campaign depicts the youth portraying eBay India as their ‘Want Satiater’, be it winning a beauty pageant or wanting to survive a sinking ship or getting a super model girlfriend.”
Ultimately whosoever a brand may be catering to, the goal is to pocket higher sales. As the age group they are catering to have greater income at hand, they wish to cash in all that’s possible.
“Being a brand that deals with products that are directly targeted at the youth, obviously we are looking at significantly high revenue generation from the target audiences we engage with,” says Dalal. For Canon, 80 per cent of the business comes from the youth below the age of 30. For eBay as well, youth is the prime focus of their marketing strategy.
The young minds do not have a hitch of shopping online. The youth today is a lot more tech-savvy and brand conscious. They are not hassled by making online purchase of small or high ticket items or using plastic money to shop. Owing to the increase in online retail among the youth, Vadapalli says, “Online shopping is fast catching up, especially among the youth, as it saves the time and inconvenience of hunting for products in the market. Secondly it makes the whole world of brands accessible to the customer in non-metro cities. This is important, keeping in mind the increasing fetish for brands among the Indian youth. Thirdly, even while purchasing brands online, there are several deals offered which attract the youth.”
Across sectors brands are indulging with the youth. With a sole purpose on mind, they are doing whatever they can to tap this segment of customers. But are the real goals being met? Are they actually garnering as much revenue as the sum of spends? Well, these are questions to ponder over with no answers.