Building a youth brand in a country with 200 million people in the age band of15-24 years should be an easy task. Well not exactly if you realize that in today’s Indiaeveryone and everything is young. In 1991 India started on the path of economicliberalization and de-regulation. An economy closed within itself, and a society heldback by scarcity suddenly opened up to the pangs of desire. It just so happens that thelargest consuming class affected by this change is in the age-band of 25-45 years.Brands and marketers in India have found it easier to fuel the consumption glee of these45 year olds, turning India into a market of ‘middle-aged teenagers’.
However in a market like India a model like this doesn’t work as everybody in India today is ‘feeling’ young and there isn’t really much difference in the behavior of the youth and the middle aged. Its been about 15 years to the economic liberalization of the country and this has brought not just a new found affluence but also newer avenues of consumption. It just so happens that the largest consuming class of the country is in the age band of 25 – 45 years and its these middle-aged Indian who are behaving like teenage consumers.
Most brands too in India have realized that they are better off being youthful than cater to the youth specifically as this allows them to reach a larger consumer base that’s not young but wants to feel so. No wonder Pepsi in India is fast becoming a family drink, and Levis is a jeans that been worn not only by the intern but also the CEO. And its so evident because even the brand ambassadors for both these brands are mainstream bollywood stars above the age of 40 years.
So in one of the largest youth markets of the world with a population of 200 million below the age of 25, there are no mainstream youth brands. There is this interesting story of Shakira’s concert in India. Pop star Shakira performed in Mumbai in March 2007. While there isn’t much data available on the profile of people who attended the concert, people who managed to attend described the average age of attendees as 45 year olds. Sure youth and music know no age boundaries, but for a concert of a teenage and youth icon like her, the average age to be 45 is a bit of a shock. Well not exactly so, when you find out that the tickets to this teen idol’s show were priced upwards of $70/ Rs 3,650 making it not so affordable for those who perhaps deserved to be there.
While ’40 is the new 20’ as a headline in India’s largest selling daily makes many of us feel happy. It has a casualty in that it has left no space for the real 20’s and they have no where to go. There are no markers for youth in today’s India that the youth can call their own, which has not been invaded by the youthful.
Bates 141 Virgin Mobile - AMEs
Building a youth brand<br />in a youthful country<br />
Virgin mobile entered Indiato be the brand for the youth<br /> • An easy task at first glance <br /> • A country with 200 mn between 15 – 24 yrs<br /> • No mobile service provider specifically targeting the youth <br />
A High Clutter Category, <br />With 10 Large Players<br />$600mn spent on mass media alone<br />Growing at 40% p.a!!!<br />Telecom = 13% of all SOV<br />> 1000 different tariffs each month <br />>1 new ad each day<br />Quicker breakeven requirement<br />
In India today,everyone and everything isyoung<br />15 years since economic liberalization<br />Largest consuming class between 25-45 years<br />New found affordability and avenues of consumption <br />A market of ‘middle-aged’ teenagers<br />
“40 is the new 20”Meant that the 20s had nowhere to go<br />
Virgin mobile realized that the youth in India were squeezed by the youthful<br />Set out to build a brand that they can call their own<br />That marks out the real youth in motivation than in imagery <br />Thereby change the game in a hypercompetitive market <br />
We are the Change Agency.<br />We believe brands that want a future must embrace change. <br />
We realized that the Indian youth were changing<br />But in their own unique way<br />
Discontinuous desires that needed discontinuous ways<br />Never before focus on self<br />Small shortcuts are ok<br />Not a persona whitewashed in goodness <br />The rise of anti-hero archetype<br />
74% of youth insisted that good or bad is their personal choice, not a matter to be decided by society or anybody else. <br />
The locus of morality was shifting from outside to inside<br />“We believe in being honest, but only to ourselves”<br />“What worked for my parents generation does not work for me, who wants to wait that long?”<br />
Seeking partners in crime<br />No baggage, no need-gaps <br />A silver spoon generation<br />Seeking a legitimization <br />Relationship of empathy not hierarchy <br />
Realizes that the ways of today’s youth are discontinuous<br />Exhorts them to be inventive and find new ways around old things<br />Plays a role in legitimizing it, by challenging the status quo<br />Virgin Mobilea ‘partner in crime’<br />
For the first time in India, advertising not all whitewashed in goodness<br />OMG they put it on National Television <br />
And In Their Own Words…<br />Think Hatke fits perfectly with the ad. All Virgin ads have a surprise at the end <br />The same situation happened to me a week back. I should have done this”<br />Man; i wish i had that idea when i was in high school hahha<br />The girl is really smart and intelligent. Everything was planned from before<br />This is really a cool idea. We should try it next time with our parents”<br />“ Its about new and unique solutions. Seems the company’s services will be really different from the others”<br />
Results<br />Fastest MVNO to reach a million subs<br />ARPU of 30% above the industry average.<br />#1 in CSAT in 1st year itself<br />90% of those who recalled the ads identified them correctly with the brand<br />Website recorded 4,039,835 visits during the year, with 78% new visits.<br />Average 5/5 ratings across all Virgin ads on YouTube<br />Scored higher than all competitive brands on imagery parameters of being ‘innovative’, ‘young’ and ‘trendsetting’<br />
Within 2 years Virgin mobile became a brand that the Indian youth could call their own<br />Spontaneous associations – youth and Think Hatke<br />A host of awards<br />Most Innovative Mobile Services Award for 2009<br />Effies in 2008, 2009<br />AME in 2009<br />Jay Chiat Planning Award 2009<br />26th Most Trusted Brand in India in 1st year<br />Two finalists at Cannes 2009<br />Case study at the Global Youth Forum 2009, Esomar APAC 2009<br />
But in the world of youth Change is the only constant<br />
Circa 2010,Virgin Mobile launched its GSM service <br />
An occasion to refresh the brand<br />Grow the brand from college to office goers – share of a larger pie<br />Re-plug the brand to the changing motivations of the time<br />To further increase the imagery gap between Virgin and others<br />
Based on 3 key Changes in Consumer, Category & Brand <br />
Consumer : From Individual to Social<br />Social networking finding a natural breeding ground in a collectivist, affiliative society <br />Rising collective power of India’s youth<br />
Category: From Phone to Computer<br />Mobile industry pushing data usage for higher ARPUs<br />Smartphones + Flat rate data plans + 3G = Rich Media Usage<br />Mobile as the default internet device in India<br />
Brand: From College To First Job<br />The new wave of jobs especially IT - more money and bigger desires<br />A good job, first sign of real Independence <br />
Key Consumer, Category & Brand Changepoint<br />From Individual to Social<br />Consumer <br />From Phone to Computer<br />Category<br />From College to First Job<br />Brand<br />
The Network Alchemist<br />Virgin Mobile is the only network which constantly gives youth new ways to get ahead, by maximizing the power of their connections <br />
Key Takeouts<br />Leverage insight, not just image<br />Deliver honest value, the product is the brand<br />Humour connects <br />Speak with them, not to them<br />Get comfortable with the uncomfortable<br />Be a pirate<br />Constant eye on CHANGE<br />