And therefore, brands need to observe, understand and engage this segment through means which empower them and trigger their passions.
Addressing the audience at the The Youth Marketing Forum titled The Age of Sinnocence, Anant Pal Singh Gill, brand head, Virgin Mobile India, said, "Today's youth is in absolute control of what they want. They are smart and intelligent. Therefore, brands need to change their strategy from 'how do you go after them?' to 'how do they find you?'"
Gill was part of the panel, 'Follow me... Cult Brands give their 2 cents on Marketing to Youth' which also included Reinier Evers, founder, trendwatching.com, Amit Agrawal, head of content partnerships at Google, Piyush Sharma, CEO and publisher, Maxim, and Sumeet Yadav, business head -Diesel. The session was moderated by Anuradha Sengupta, features editor, CNBC-TV18.
It's not the brands today which are the trendsetters, but the consumers, and when it comes to the youth, they are absolutely non-committal. And, it depends upon which phase of their youth life they are currently experiencing (high school, college, professional) that influences their brand choice.
Yadav observed that the category is extremely heterogeneous and varies from the age-group of 15-35 today. "Therefore, to understand them, brand marketers have to spend time at places this category spends time at. And, that is not just the digital space, but also cafes, colleges and other places outside home where they hangout," he averred.
The panel further acknowledged that today's youth is an unpredictable heterogeneous group which is creating its own media spaces.
"And brands need to identify such spaces and create a language that the category is passionate about," Agrawal pointed out.
The panel suggested that brands can use platforms such as drama, sports and music to connect with the youth.
"It showcases the talents and skills of youth in these areas. Through these platforms, brands can connect and bond with the youth more," said Sharma.
Meanwhile, trendwatching.com's Evers suggested that it's not just the campaigns, but the innovations built around the campaigns that need to be as attractive.
"The concept of wants and needs cannot be divorced from youth, too, as priority should be given to their needs in order to empower them," he said.