The brand new face of the Indian millennial – 2

How is the millennial generation shaping the way we think, live and act? This newsletter carries part 3, 4 and 5 of Lopez Design’s exclusive study of the rising millennial generation. Read our exclusive analyses about youth power and change.

Part 3: Fast and easy but hard to get

Throughout our interview with Rahul Ahuja, he drank coke and ate chips. In fact, he eats out almost every day and frankly confesses his love for fried snacks, seafood and recipes high on spice. 21-year old Rahul, in his 3rd year at a leading engineering college in Delhi, is however no laid back Gen Y candidate. He spends time at the gym, works hard, plays hard and sleeps little. India’s changing identity is inseparable from the evolution of media, networks and branding, which proliferate in purchase, which define what you use and who you are. This extends to the idea of customizing products, giving youth the added advantage of creating their own individual identity. Rahul is happy shopping online but does not buy his clothes, which are mostly gifted. When he does buy, he prefers to have his products customized.

Young Indians love experimenting with food, clothes and gadgets. They need to be on the move. They want to have their cake and eat it too: they do not let their jobs get in the way of their other interests in life. They wish to travel and explore. Restless and fidgety, they can be addicted to their phones and social networking and cannot wait to get what they ordered. In this Age of Instantaneous, curiously, just as many complain, many also hold their peace in traffic, patiently slogging out the drive without complaining.

This is a generation that reads Harry Potter, watches Game of Thrones and plays Candy Crush. Chetan Bhagat who is oft dismissed by literati for his fast and easy storytelling is loved by masses for his exploration of our milieu by addressing the Indian mind-set and their common concerns. Stepping out of the previous generation’s concerns with careful spending, respect for elders and traditional practices, the young Indian is fumbling to find the new balance.

The young Indian’s identity will present odd dichotomies.

Part 4: From real to virtual

In January 2016, India crossed the 1 billion Mobile subscribers milestone: economic growth is seen directly related to mobile internet. We are people who love to talk and connect. When we stand in a line, we don’t mind tapping a shoulder and asking for a pen. Sooner than use a handicap ramp, the person in a wheelchair may approach another for physical aid and get it. This people energy in India is now translating to the virtual realm. As per an  October 2016 article in Mint, referring to a new report by Boston Consulting Group and The Retailers Association of India projections are by 2020, we will have 650 million internet users up from 250 million in 2015. There is also a gender shift predicted: women users will increase from 29% in 2015 to 40% in 2020. These will radically alter how the Indian retail market functions. Digital India is already seeing this revolution.

For instance, the first thing Rahul Ahuja sees when he gets up and last thing before he goes to bed is his phone. Everyone in the family has smartphones and his father and sister are always on the phone. While he agrees that communication happens readily over chat sessions on Whatsapp, Rahul is very social and even enjoys the experience of car-pooling.

25-year old Navin Chadda is a copywriter. He plays the guitar and pursues photography as a hobby. Active in debates, football and theatre since a young boy, Navin had his own phone since he was in 6th grade. He does not like taking selfies but he does constantly shoot and edit in Lightroom and posts his photographs online. He uses apps for many of his activities: Instagram, Piclab Studio, Jazz Radio, FIFA, FB, Tinder, Truecaller and Ola.

Nayantaara Shah confesses she is a gadget freak. Last year alone she spent 1.5 lakh on phones as they got stolen. A happy selfie clicker, she uses filters and regularly posts on FB and Instagram. On the move, she prefers Whatsapp to calls as it’s a time saver. Plus, she can have multiple chats simultaneously. She goes online and uses Myntra, flipkart, google drive, amazon, PayTM, HR app for office, Bi basket and quora.

With their flexibility and interest in learning new things and desire to participate in the latest trends, young people will fast embrace changes in Digital realm and find new possibilities. We are a garrulous nation and point is – we are still chatting.

Our people energy, love for banter and zest for community are being shaped into a new virtual force by youth.

Part 5: Branding identities online

While Andy Warhol may have famously predicted that in the future each person would get his five seconds of fame, public media ensures that every person can have a wedge more than that. Artist and rapper Sumit Roy symbolically embellishes every one of his artistic renditions for Facebook with a crown for the head and two crosses for the eyes. With repeated use of the cross and the crown across his art – be it a lion, an elephant or an image of himself – Roy connects with his audience symbolically establishing his identity. Writer Mayank Austen Soofi perpetuates social media with his idiomatic style of expression where his photographs capture eccentric, whimsical, surprisingly truthful and surrealistic portraits of Delhi. Calling himself The Delhiwalla, Mayank’s captions are necessarily accompanied by his tagline, “somewhere in Delhi”, so much so if he leaves it out, his followers readily remind him.

Branding online – image courtesy: Sumit Roy

Good efforts get wide publicity on the web, as they get picked up, distributed and viewed zillions of times. It is this kind of reach Bihar-based 25-year old Bashar Habibullah garnered when he set up a site called PatnaBeats devoted to redefining the image of Bihar. More recently, Habibullah and Swati Kumar, a writer for Patna Beats decided to start a campaign called I am Brand Bihar. By July 2016, a TOI report stated that the campaign had gone viral. Better India carried a full story. The campaign which started with twenty-two photos of achievers in their field holding up a placard that specifies their profession following by “# I am Brand Bihar’. Habibullah and his team had managed to crack the façade of Bihar, for long looked at as a backward state to take it forward – even if this was just a beginning.

I am Brand Bihar campaign source:

Young persons in India are invested in creating their own public identity on social media, across platforms, engaging at many levels with branding. With globalization, a wide range of products is available. Indian youth are brand loving and with more money to spend, they are able to make specific impressions through their preferences.

From a nation where the artist or the craftsman was anonymous, platforms today allow us to be individualistic, celebrating who we are. The young lead this change.

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