What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Teens – Rajesh Kejriwal and Hemant Kenkre

15 Sep,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Rajesh Kejriwal and Hemant Kenkre



‘Design is an important strategic tool that’s making a difference’


By Rajesh Kejriwal


The one thing we hear everyone say is – let’s create a great social brand. But somehow, the thing everyone tends to forget is that brands inherently are neither social nor emotional – human beings are. People use their emotional quotient to engage with brands and not vice-versa.


And this is where design and traditional advertising defers. While advertising agencies are working to get the message across by creating campaigns and activations, designers work on connecting brands to people by understanding needs and expression. Design becomes especially important in making this connection especially when speaking to the youth. And youth here, today is represented by psychographic rather than a demographic.


Because, looking inwards to tell a story is a limiting approach. Designers inherently conceptualize basis the audience, their behaviour and needs – joining in the conversation rather than trying to create a new one. Young minds are restless, they are simply not interested in the world of tactical buzzwords and marketing jargon. They spend their time ignoring you, your campaigns and activations, discounts and incredible two-for-one offers. And this is where design becomes pivotal.




PR, a big influential medium for the youth


By Hemant Kenkre


Until the early eighties, I don’t think there was an audience segment called the ‘youth.’ That was till the birth of one of the most iconic brands in entertainment, Music Television (MTV). The first channel in the ‘music’ genre actually created the segment from a marketing perspective. Apart from on- air promos, the biggest marketing tool used by MTV was Public Relations.


From the ‘I Want My MTV’ campaign in the United States to the MTV VJ Hunt in India, the youth were kept engaged having constant conversations on and off-air with the channel that understood them best. From MTV and [V] to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, youth brands have used PR and Communications to effectively connect with the Indian youth. From campaigns around cricket, films and music to pro-social initiatives (CSR) pertaining to health issues and education, brands have continued to attract young people from all walks of life irrespective of social backgrounds.


Today, PR campaigns targeted at the youth have moved from traditional platforms into the digital domain. Not just brands but even political parties have realised that having conversations on social media has a huge impact on their reputations. Case in point being the Aam Admi Party which has been holding the attention of young Indians, who have catapulted maverick crusaders into a position of power in less than three months.




A well designed brand and product experience represents more than just its USP and IP. Far from a flurry of numbers and excel sheets – the brand becomes the experience. It is the single opportunity to stand for something – something that’s relevant to the audience. Design cannot be dumped into one mass of an all encompassing entity. Rather it is the specialities that make the difference. Right from crafting the story of your brand, the values it represents, the tone of voice it uses to converse, the typography it uses to speak, the colours it uses to attract and so on.


Designers and design practices bring precision and coherence to a brand. And this is true for a variety of brands. Innocent don’t just make smoothies and Google is not just code. And in India too, brands like Indigo and Fastrack represent an attitude that reflects the youth of our country. These brands are all having a more evolved conversation with the youth by using design across sections to really hide what needs to be hidden and leave what’s unsaid to the imagination.


Design is an important strategic tool that’s making a difference. And it is not because design is ‘cool’ but, rather because of who designers are – young at heart, rebellious, inherently experimental and great storytellers. But don’t take it for granted because in truth while everything is designed only a few things are designed well.




The right ‘message’ (the fulcrum around which a PR campaign revolves) of removing corruption started two years ago when lakhs of young Indians rallied around a diminutive ex-serviceman who has become a national icon from relative obscurity. The PR campaign that used the basic fundamentals of PR- selective and targeted messaging, timely news releases, high profile spokespersons and celebrity brand ambassadors struck the right cord with the young voter.


The journey that started in 2011 from the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi to the seat of power in the nation’s capital is a classic example of the role that PR and communications can play in building reputations and creating mind space with Generation Next – the Indian youth!






Tomorrow: Tuesday, September 16:  Children – Amin Lakhani and Sanjay Mehta


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