What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Family – Apurva Purohit and Shalini Rawla

24 Sep,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Apurva Purohit and Shalini Rawla

 

 

‘FM gives voice to the aspirations of the youth’

 

By Apurva Purohit

 

FM radio when it first started in the country, took everyone by storm. For a generation used to the ponderous and archaic language used by AIR announcers, the songs that played without any logical flow, the sudden and abrupt changes in programming on air; FM with its peppy tone and manner, mood creating playlists and vibrancy of packaging was like a breath of fresh air.

 

All of us took to it like a duck to water and hey presto, the long boring traffic jams had a pleasant companion joining us to make the journey that much less tedious! And no one accepted FM as much as the youth of India. For them, not only did it speak the lingo they were comfortable with, but more importantly it gave them a voice to air their opinions they were dying to tell the world, a place to let out all those bottled feelings and even to announce their love to that special person or share the breaking of their heart with the RJ who had become such an important part of their lives.

 

It was solace for the lonely, an ‘adda’ for the gregarious and an undemanding companion for the busy housewife as she went about doing her chores. And as often a best friend does, radio became an integral part of every man and woman’s daily life, weaving itself so seamlessly into the day that today they often do not even remember that it is around! Thus to say that FM needs to attract more youth to compete with other media is incorrect.

 

 

Oh Yes, Abhi! Really?

 

By Shalini Rawla

 

Millennial youth as a cohort is not such a mystery really. Born circa 1990 they have grown up in front of us. We can see how they behave. We know what makes them laugh and cry. Sometimes we lament about them as their employers. Sometimes we are happy for them as parents. But when it comes to marketing to them, we feel at sea even as experts. We kind of know they are the ‘here and now’ generation, restless and impatient for immediate results, but is that really who they are?

 

The millennial’s back story

We all know that kids these days grow older, younger. So what an adult of my generation learnt at, say, age ten, a five year old in the new generation would already be aware of. They take to computers and smart phones as naturally as fish to water. By this logic, when the millennials became first time voting adults and employees, they should have been behaving like they are already in their thirties. Herein lies the dichotomy.

 

The millennial youth of today may be technologically ahead of its parental generation, but they are behind them by several decades in emotional maturity. It is as if this cohort has unanimously decided to push all other traditional milestones of ‘settling down’ or taking on newer responsibilities to a decade later. So they are choosing a career late, marrying late, starting a family even later and so on.

 

 

 

It continues to have the second highest time spent with it after TV and this time is only going up with the increased usage of FM through the mobile phone. Yes, its reach needs to expand and that can only come when the policy -paralyzed current government (or a new one at the center) finally allows FM to enter the hundreds of towns which still await that long delayed nod to the Phase 3 policy! For the youth, FM is not only a platform that gives voice to their desires and aspirations, it is also a commentary on what they think and do.

 

It picks up the nuances of what a city feels and the local problems that plague a locality or a suburb. It celebrates the cricket that is played in the gully’s of a mohalla, the aarti that has been happening for the last 50 years in the next street and the garba that gets played at the chaar-raasta. In that sense, it is a medium that belongs to the youth of India as much as a reflection of who they are. Beyond that nothing more is required.

 

 

They are more comfortable with technology than their parents thanks to the liberalization of our economy – a time when the millennial generation and their parents both got exposed to technology almost at the same time. The younger, more curious and flexible minds adapted to technology faster than the oldies. In fact, the two generations discovered and experienced more things together as against the previous generations where the parents were looked upon as teachers – their guiding light – a part they played beautifully. There was very little that the previous generation’s kids knew more about or learnt much before their parents.

 

Experience junkies

Our ‘millennial’ economy and technology is responsible for democratizing knowledge and breaking the traditional patriarchal and hierarchical structures. When the parents were experiencing their maiden trip abroad, so were their millennial kids.

 

The millennial generation was fed on scores of such new experiences. Parents felt dutybound to give to their child ‘the best of everything new’ – something they vicariously enjoyed when the kids shared those experiences with them. And somewhere around this time, Facebook happened. Discovering and sharing became the millennial generation’s DNA and their parents forever lost their venerated top position in the family totem pole.

 

The millennial’s life goals

They want to earn money – lots of it. And they want it now. They know the end but have not figured the means to that end yet. They are celebrity struck. They want to dress up like them and wear brands they wear. Their parents indulged them so far. Now that they are working, they want to live the same lifestyle without asking their parents for money. They jump jobs for money. In that sense they are more risk taking. They do not feel they must secure one job before quitting their current job. They do not feel that many jobs in a short span would show badly on their resumes. After all, all stints tot up to a variety of experiences. A job is a means to an end of gaining another experience. A job gives them their right to stay out of home for longer hours. It is a like a date. You have to experience all kinds before you settle on the one you really, really like.

 

Width of experience is more important than depth in any one subject. To them knowledge and intelligence are inter-changeable terms. That is why they consider experience more important than education. Most of them believe that it is important to get some work experience after graduation before deciding which subject to major in for further education.

 

Millennial’s social quotient

Twitter is not a medium where they can show off or see others like them. They prefer to post visuals than 140 characters of text. They want to be famous in their contact list and change their profile pictures often. The number of likes and comments they get is a measure of their popularity and how much influence they have on others. They feel power begets money and fame and hence consider these ‘likes’ as symbols of power and influence. Yet, they know their virtual power is of no use without their friends. They value relationships over individuality. Egos have very little role in a team of millennials. They like to participate as a team member than be seen as the lone performer. Give them a relevant cause, and see them rally around it. Together they can make it happen. The solo angry young man wanting to change the system has given way to a collective power that wants to change the system by being in the system. Yes, most millennials want to participate in effective governance and joining politics is not something they are dead against. It is another route to influencing others by wielding their power. So don’t be surprised if most of them have already put in their efforts voluntarily in NGOs to help the oppressed. The share generation is willing to share their time, effort and money for the socially oppressed and the physically challenged.

 

Oh no! Abhi nahi

There is no urgency to divide life into key milestones like their parents did. Today, the journey is different, where the goal is the experience not necessarily the destination. Now is for the new. Later is for things that are passe – job, accomplishments, acquisitions, marriage and parenting. Think of the future only in the future. Commitment is not the ultimate goal, experience is. If that is construed as being confused, so be it. Use confusion as a badge – a leverage to explain your delayed maturity. You live only once. So enjoy each experience. Life is not a linear journey of responsibilities but a kaleidoscope of experiences. You have not lived a full life until you have experienced everything – the good, the bad, the ugly. No need to shut old doors and open new ones. Leave all doors open – you never know when you may need to pass through them again. Don’t burn bridges with anyone as success comes only with the help of others. Networking is the corner stone for a life full of meaningful experiences.

 

The beta youth

Millennials are fascinated when they get involved with “work in progress”, living in a beta world, they’re exhilarated by the challenge to participate and create collaboratively. They’re used to curating their own content– reusing, remixing, repurposing– and they’re empowered by discovering things on their own. They change quickly and don’t let attachments hold them back because for them, it’s about living in the present with no illusion with what the future will hold.

 

– The complete version of this article by Ms Shalini Rawla can be accessed at: http://www.mxmindia.com/2014/ 03/from-themxm- annual-2014-oh-yes-abhi-really.

 

 

Tomorrow: Thursday, September 25: Men – Pranesh Misra and Anisha Motwani

 

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