About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mobile messege- A major communication tool for Indian youth segment

Wed, Nov 12 09:51 AM

Aizawl, Nov 12 (IANS) Text messages on mobile phones are the most popular mode of seeking votes in Mizoram, which goes to the polls early next month to elect a new state assembly.

'Sending text messages through mobile phones is the main mode of campaigning this time. Candidates are also sending their election symbols through SMS to make the voters aware,' said Vanlalremruata, a senior journalist and campaigner for inexpensive poll campaigns.

The election to the 40-seat Mizoram assembly is scheduled for Dec 2 and the results are expected Dec 8.

The influential Mizoram People's Forum (MPF), a conglomeration of major churches and NGOs, has issued a set of election guidelines for political parties and candidates.

'Election campaigns, specially 'door-to-door' campaigns, always end up with candidates and party workers using money power to persuade electors. We disapprove of this practice,' said Zosangliana Colney, MPF vice president and a leader of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church.

With election fever gripping the state, sale of mobile handsets and SIM cards is on the rise.

'Sales of SIM cards and mobile handsets have gone up manifold since the poll diktats were imposed by the MPF,' said Robert, a mobile phone dealer in this state capital.

Unlike in the past where poll rallies and meetings were organised to drum up support, electioneering this year is rather low key.

'This is because nobody would dare to go against the diktats of the church leaders,' Vanlalremruata said.

The Election Commission has appointed 18 observers to keep an eye on candidates and their campaigns.

Besides guidelines to have inexpensive campaigns, the MPF has also urged militant groups not to interfere in the elections. Some of the rebel groups in the northeast have their presence across the region and hence the appeal.

MPF general secretary Lalbiakmawia Ngente and Colney earlier met top leaders of the two warring factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) and other militant outfits.

'We sought the help of the militant groups to ensure that no armed insurgent groups from neighbouring states interfere in the assembly polls,' Colney said.

In all, 150 candidates, mostly young, had submitted their nominations till Tuesday. Wednesday is the last date for filing nominations.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga, two former chief ministers - Lalthanhawla of Congress and Brig (retired) Thenphunga Sailo of the Mizoram People's Conference (MPC) - and a host of bureaucrates are leading their respective parties in the polls.

Mizoram Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) C. Ramhiuna, who took voluntary retirement from government service last week, and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Lalduhoma will also try their political fortunes.

Zoramthanga is pitted against United Democratic Alliance's (UDA) H. Lalhmingthangi, a 32-year-old theologian, who last month resigned as secretary of the Presbyterian Women Fellowship (North East) in Champhai South constituency bordering Myanmar.

Another young student leader Lalhmachhuana Zofa will be fighting as an independent candidate against Zoramthanga in Champhai North seat. Three-time chief minister and state PCC chief Lalthanhawla is also facing a challenge from R. Lalhnuna, general secretary of the ruling MNF and a first-time contestant.

Young social activist Lalruatkima, who last month resigned as general secretary of the central committee of Young Mizo Association (YMA) is pitted against UDA's chief ministerial candidate Sailo in the Aizawl West-II constituency.

Source : http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20081112/818/tnl-mobile-phone-key-mode-of-campaign-in_1.html
Upwardly Mobile

Cellphone companies captured young India’s potential. Other marketers should take note.


Mere paas gaadi hai, bangla hai, daulat hai... tumhare paas kya hai? Mere paas latest mobile hai. You know the type. Youngest kid in the office, but the guy with the coolest cell phone. And not necessarily funded by Daddy Big Bucks. “I blew my entire salary on this phone” is an increasingly common story. Yet, there is no permanent purchase satisfaction. The owner of a Nokia N70 is already eyeing an N91.
The term ‘upwardly mobile’ has acquired a whole new meaning; the wheel has turned full circle. The cellphone started life in this country as a status symbol, became a utility, and now it’s once again symbolic of your status in life. More so for the young. It is also a metaphor for the restless nature of youth — change becoming the only constant.

Wasi Ansari started using a cellphone four years ago, when he was in his second year of college. “The first handset I bought was a second hand Ericsson GA628 for Rs 2,500. I gave it away because it was no better then a cordless phone. I had to upgrade.” Since then, he has owned eight different handsets, four he managed to lose and one got stolen.

On one hand, Wasi is sheepish about being so careless. “When I think of all these phones and the amount of money that I spent on them, it feels terrible,” he says. “But it also feels OK because I think that this is the reason that I am using a N91 today.” Wasi may be one of a tiny minority who can be so blasé — he can afford it. But the average Anand and Aarti also satisfy their wanderlust. They change screensavers and ringtones, if not handsets.

Today, when a cellphone rings in Café Coffee Day, a dozen hands reach for the hip pocket. This was not always the scene earlier. The cellphone-toting teen we now accept as normal did not exist less than four years ago. In January 2003, India had just 10 million mobile subscribers. By the end of that year, the number stood at 28 million. Today, it is 110 million — and counting.

So, how did cellphones wriggle their way into the hearts and minds of young India? And could there be lessons in that success story for other companies trying to connect with that elusive animal called ‘youth’?

The most obvious answer is: pricing. In January 2003, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India made incoming calls free. Then Reliance entered the market; GSM fought back with lower prices and aggressively pushed pre-paid cards. Cheap handsets became available and everyone from plumbers to pesky 16-year-olds joined the party.

But it is not that simple. Rs 330, the minimum monthly pre-paid card at the time, was no big deal for a working young adult. Or, even the student with a part-time job. But a large population of teens was — and continues to be — funded by parents. And Rs 7,000 a year (airtime charges + a basic Rs 3,000 handset) is money a middle class family thinks twice about.

A conversation circa 2003 went something like this:

Teen: Mom, I need a cellphone.
Mom: I don’t think so.
Teen: But Aparna has one.
Mom: Aparna is a spoilt brat… Look, I will think about it, maybe next year.

Then, parent bumps into Aparna’s mother at the sabzi mandi and there is a conversation about how there is ‘so much peace of mind’ now that beti has a cellphone. “I mean, what if there is an emergency. And so many times children are kept back late in tuitions...”

Aha! A perfectly rational reason to buy your kid a cellphone without seeming like an over-indulgent parent. It is a different thing that while parents may feel a sense of security in knowing ‘where their kids are’, they actually have less of an idea than ever before. The cellphone actually accords unprecedented privacy, especially to young women. The days of paranoid papas vetting all incoming calls are gone forever.

Luckily for young people, parents did not wisen up before it was too late. As more teens got cellphones, peer pressure became the prime motivation to join the connectivity club. A study by the Market Analysis and Consumer Research Organisation in Mumbai in April-May 2004 found that 70 per cent of respondents aged 15-24 cited, “everybody around me has one” as the major reason for purchasing a cellphone.

Rashmi Bansal is co-founder and editor of popular youth magazine JAM (jammag.com). She also writes Youth Curry, a blog on youth and trends (youthcurry.blogspot.com)

The ‘herd mentality’ is an inherent part of teenage life. But few marketers have been able to create that ‘gotta have it’ feeling. It is nice to have a pair of Nikes, yet an unbranded but good-looking ‘Made in Thailand’ will do just as well for the average teen. Of course, it is not entirely their fault. The world has changed and so has what is cool and iconic.

“For an earlier generation, clothing and fast food brands were ‘badges’. Now, technology occupies a much larger mind space,” says Lloyd Mathias, marketing director, Motorola. That was one of the reasons for Mathias to shift to Motorola from Pepsi after a long association with the archetypal ‘cool’ company.

What Mathias did was apply many of the youth marketing ideas he internalised at Pepsi. For one, ‘be different’. Faced with a market dominated by Nokia users, Motorola appealed to the audience to make an ‘active choice’ and stand out among one’s peers. That need to be provocative resulted in the widely noticed Abhishek Bachchan vs Razr V3 campaign.

Simultaneously, Motorola rolled out a slew of models at more affordable price points. The company worked closely with carriers to create attractive bundled offers and even tied up with GE Money to introduce ‘mobile financing’. Repayment is over a 9-12 month period, with minimum documentation requirement — only ID and proof of address. Today, Nokia remains the dominant brand with around 66 per cent market share. But according to the third quarter results released by Motorola, the company is now in ‘solid No. 2 position’ in India, with a market share of approximately 10 per cent.

Here is the point marketers need to note. Price, advertising, promotion and distribution played a key role in Motorola’s success story. But at the heart of Motorola’s ‘look, I’m different’ positioning, lay a product with a difference. Its Razr phones were sleeker and better looking. Tweaking the marketing took the brand from ‘object of desire’ status to attainable.

The question is: How many companies outside the digital domain try to achieve ‘object of desire’ status in the first place? Most are happy offering — and then heavily advertising — a slight cosmetic change. So, a toothpaste will tweak the way it smells, or add an ingredient, or change its packaging or endorser. The advertising implies that using the brand is an important element in attaining social success. The reality is quite different.

While young people may be loyal to certain brands, the importance of toothpaste as a category in their life is declining. Brushing your teeth is a necessary evil — nothing more, nothing less. Must the toothpaste manufacturer shrug, “Well, can I do anything about that” and watch helplessly from the sidelines? The answer is both yes, and no.

On the one hand, the mobile is a unique and complete world in itself. One with physical form and virtual depth. Couple that with portability and you have a product that is so personal, it is almost like a part of your inherent self. “The digital is our new mental model of the world,” says Santosh Desai, President, McCann-Erickson (India). Virtual is reality. The sight of a group of friends sitting in a coffee shop absorbed in SMS-ing people not physically present — instead of enjoying the present company — is a common one.

So yes, a bike can work on its looks and improve power, speed, or fuel efficiency. Beyond that, it remains constrained by its real world existence. But must it? Nothing stopped the bike from becoming a ‘Bikeman’ with music on board. And the toothpaste guys — why can they not come up with a teeth-cleaning gum? Why are they OK with Wrigley’s Orbit occupying that space?

The mobile phone, on the other hand, has no problem invading ‘other’ territory and annexing it. Going by conventional wisdom, phone companies should have stopped at improving voice clarity and enhancing looks. But they never thought of themselves as merely a phone. Instead of waiting for someone to express the desire for a service called SMS or a camera embedded into a phone, someone just went ahead and invented it. Part of the reason the mobile maintains its cool is the scorching pace the industry has set in terms of innovation.

“We are used to the idea of a world where change happens in long cycles,” says Desai. “The Internet, and more so, the mobile, give us a sense that the world needs to update itself constantly.” Even iconic tech products such as the iPod are quick to keep reinventing themselves. Before the dust settled on the original, you had a Nano, a Shuffle, and then video versions. Why? Because refuse to update, and you may die.

The bottom line: all companies will have to invest more in R&D. And also think beyond the narrow definition of their core business. As virtual world offerings get more exciting, the real world can either throw up its hands and say, “I give up”, or take up the challenge and find new ways of becoming relevant to the young person’s life. And there are brands in India that have made the transition.

Yash Raj Films has moved from naris in chiffon saris to biker chicks and dudes. Titan revitalised its Fastrack brand, while Brylcreem went from grease for balding uncles to gel for the new generation. But all these brands — and others that have not been as successful in their youth thrust — must keep pushing the envelope.

The term ‘mobile’ happens to be associated with a technological device, but ‘mobility’ lies at the core of what it means to be young. Even mobile phone operators are learning that the hard way. Reliance CDMA, despite being the ‘most economical’, never caught on. GSM may be a little pricier, but young people prefer it because they can keep changing the card — or handset. Taking note, Reliance is changing.

Every youth brand — not just cellular ones — will need to to answer that question: “Am I mobile?” If not, you are making noise on silent mode as far as India’s youth is concerned.


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