Young people today have become global citizens and their likes, preferences and attitudes are becoming increasingly similar across the globe, says Christian Kurz, Vice-President, Research, Insights and Reporting, Viacom International Media Networks.
Business Today by Ajita Shashidhar
In an interview with BUSINESS TODAY, on the sidelines of the MTV Marketing Forum, where the company released the Indian version of the Curious Minds report (an insight study commissioned by MTV to understand the evolving preferences and attitudes of youth), Kurz claims that the dissimilarities between the Indian youth and youth across the world are blurring. Edited excerpts:
Q. You have carried out the Curious Minds study across the world. What have been the learnings?
A. There was a perception many years ago that youth are lazy, but today’s youth across the globe like to call themselves hard-working, open-minded, happy, confident, creative and loving. The level of optimism in today’s youth is at an all -time high. Young people are confident that everything will get better. They also believe that they have the potential to change the world.
Youth across the world want to make a difference in a small way in their own locality which they hope will eventually lead to a larger transformation. I met a 17-year-old boy, Vignesh, in Mumbai, who is an ardent supporter of Manchester United. He told me that he wants to do well in football and inspire people around him with his skills. Similarly, a South African young man told me that he wants to travel across the world and teach English language to people.
If you notice, their definition of success has changed. Even three years ago, success was all about money. Today, success is more to do with emotional welfare. They want to do something which they enjoy and money isn’t everything.
Q. How do you mean youth are becoming global citizens?
A. Technology has made them global. If a 17 year-old has ambitions to become a designer he/she first does research not just within his own country, but also on global trends. The world becomes his/her job market. Nothing stops an Indian from going to Milan to take up a career in fashion designing. This was unthinkable 20 years ago.
Q. What is the other big trend that you have observed?
A. Youth today are far more honest and respectful of their peers than ever before. When we asked them if they preferred to be honest and lose or whether they preferred to cheat and win, I was surprised when they said that they preferred to be honest and lose. Even three years ago the reply would have been to trample and win over friends. But today’s youth believe in supporting each other. For them friendship is more important than winning.
I see the return of old school values, where qualities such as honesty, respect for their parents and family has increased manifold.
Q. So, what can marketers learn from this study?
A. It is a confirmation that the world is becoming increasingly similar. At Viacom, we often use a term called ‘Glocal ‘ which means using global ideas and adapting it to local nuances. This is exactly what marketers across world should be doing with the differences between countries and continents diminishing.