Christian Kurz in the News: The Youth Are Watching – The Hindu Business Line

“There are so many more similarities than there are differences. They think about the world in the same way,” says Christian Kurz, vice-president, research, insights and reporting, Viacom International to kick-start the conversation.

The Hindu Business Line by Prasad Sangameshwaran

At the MTV Youth Marketing Forum in Mumbai last week, Christian Kurz was a much sought after man for his views on how the millennials think and what it means for brands

 “There are so many more similarities than there are differences. They think about the world in the same way,” says Christian Kurz, vice-president, research, insights and reporting, Viacom International to kick-start the conversation.

The key similarities globally are that it’s a very optimistic and forward-looking generation. It’s a very happy generation that believes in openness, respects authenticity and in being real. That behaviour leaves an important message for brands. “You cannot be patronising. The expectations these consumers have from brands is how will you make my life better over other products,” says Kurz. Technology is a hygiene factor, expected to be there.

And for brand managers chasing social media, there is a clear message: Don’t be on a social media platform for the sake of being there. If you are just posting the exact same picture on twitter, tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, then don’t be there as the platforms are different and they serve different needs.

With its study Curious Minds MTV came up with four trends that are important for marketers. “They are just thought-starters,” says Kurz.

Brand Aid

What can a brand do to help me? The young are always interested in becoming better. Education and learning is very important for them. So what can a brand do to help them get where they aspire to be? For example, a bike manufacturer started a Wiki page on how to fix bicycles. Now people are putting up videos on it and that community is engaging with that brand.

Brand as family

Family is extremely important for the millennial generation. They are wearing parents as a badge of honour, making statements like, “look how cool my dad is”. What does that mean for a brand? In order to penetrate that circle of trust, a brand needs to behave like a member of the family. Therefore a brand cannot just sell its products and go away but needs to be there. Authenticity is very important in this trend. If a brand is perceived as not being authentic, then consumers are never going to go there. It’s about owning up when you make a mistake. It’s about interaction with consumers and not communicating like it’s a one-way street.

Brand love

To love a brand as opposed to buying it, consumers need to engage with them. There are a lot many things that brand owners can do to bring that brand experience alive. Brand competitions used to award consumers as individual winners. Now it’s about you and your five best friends get to go to a movie and so on. The collective brand experience and bringing friends into your brand circle.

Brand new

It’s all about reinvention. This generation has grown up in a world that constantly evolved. They are used to so much change that they are now expecting it. Change is absolutely essential. That’s where new products come out at shorter intervals. Reinvention is important. Limited runs make products special and they become collectibles. But as a brand you have to stay true to core and then reinvent everything around that core.

 

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