Marketers and shot generation

Youngsters, the world over, are constantly being given new descriptors every now and again. For most part marketers assign an alphabet to describe youth, there is GenX, GenY, E-gen, GenNext and now Pepsi is running with Youngistan.

Clear thinking, crisp communication and restlessness is what defines Generation Y. They know what they want and have no qualms about it. They are the ones who prefer the short route to success. They are refreshing and open to change. They are more tech-savvy, are into instant communication technologies, internet friendly, confident. They are always willing to contribute in whatever way they can. They are the future.

There are many more alphabets waiting to be explored by the experts. But never before have India’s youth been called the ‘Shot Generation’. The term according to a new Coca-Cola India commissioned research study titled ‘The Truth About Youth: Exploding the Youth Homogenity Myth’ is a good descriptor of young people’s consumption styles today.

Increasingly, one of the thorniest issues for brand marketers and researchers is how to profile and address this consumer group that is evolving rapidly, adopting trends and technologies at breakneck speed, but often tiring of them just as effortlessly.

For a long time, people have believed that young ones across the spectrum tend to behave in a certain manner and have similar aspirations. However, the research study seems to suggest that this is only partly true.

Indeed, youth across the globe, share certain unique characteristics such as they all aspire for ‘the high life’, want fun 24/7, get bored easily, derive a thrill from taking risks, always want to make the right impression, and look down on yearning for money.

For example life for the the ‘Shot Generation’ is simply about ‘I want it and I want it now.’ An impatient lot in pursuit of all the good things in life but equipped with very narrow attention spans, they move from one exhilarating experience to another without any certainty of returning or lasting loyalties. In the bargain just making life hell for marketers.

According to the director, knowledge & insights, Coca Cola, young adults are focused on short term obsessions rather than long term unwavering passion. So what does it mean for marketing men? The key and challenge is to stay with a brand position long enough to make an impact but not too long because then you might have to deal with the threat of losing the group.

That said that is where The Shot Generation similarities end. Nowhere are dramatic variations in behavior traits more evident than between big and small town India. The study found that in the department of dreams and aspirations, while in metros the youth focus is money, in smaller towns it is fame and the aspiration to be a local hero.

There are stark differences even in the way these segments view the same iconic figures. While small town boys and girls are less discerning and possess high loyalty, in the metros the young and restless are a bit more critical. And the differences go on

Another key take away from the study is the growing intensity for liberation among young girls both in small and big towns — an insight that was used to develop advertising for Fanta’s latest apple flavored variant.

With India that has one of the largest youth populations in the world, it is key for every marketer to crack this market. However it is getting harder and harder to spot youth tribes, those are groups of youth markets that are defined by shared qualities and preferences as more and more young people are fooling around with their identities.