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Sep, 07 2011


In its bid to attract and cash in on the young brigade, brands are ready to go an extra mile with innovative strategies through ‘cool’ commercials, customisation and even tweaking the menu!

WHETHER it's a fetish for a hot cuppa coffee or a desire to be the 'most desirable' with trendy dresses, the youth is simply lov'in it and so are the brands that are going bullish by catching the fancy of the Gen-Y. If family is the ultimate coterie of the Indian society, then youth surely is the 'un maître'! Positioned as the effective force of consumerism, the Indian youth seems to have wedged the attention of brands. As per the industry estimates, brands are bolstering their focus, more so in India, where two-third of the population is below 35 years. Adding thrust to this aspect are recent research reports that show annual expenditure of the youth (12-16 years) is Rs 10,360, while that of working singles (21-25 years) is Rs 17,310. Hence, a young and rich India, being the fulcrum of the future, is fuelling rapid growth across key segments like clothing, accessories, food & beverage and consumer durables.

Franchise fusion

With the youth segment providing much impetus, several franchise brands, too, are cashing in on this boom. Rewards have been enormous agrees Manav Shital, Partner & Founder, Vertigo India Food & Beverages (Juice Lounge): “The reward about customisation of products, especially for the youth, is paying a great deal. Our 'Super Boosters' to gain and lose weight has been a success. These products are not available with any other brand or at any other place in the city, so we have huge demand being the sole provider of this service.” Likewise, Classic Polo, the brand catering to men's wardrobe solution for 20-35 years, is reaping rich dividends as the walk-in population below 25 years has increased, which is a clear indication that customisation does wonders.

Picking up a market trend vis-à-vis customisation for the youth has been imperative for both franchisors as well as franchisees. This means, from brand communication to market strategies and even the choice of inventory are the crucial verticals for the success of a franchise brand. Shedding light on this aspect, Usha Periasamy, Vice-President (Operations & Brands), Royal Classic Groups says: “We all, including franchisees, are aware that we have to buy 'stock from the principle,' which means they need to be extremely careful and in-tune with the pulse of the customers and changing market trend in case they wish to sell out the booked stocks.”

Going by the trend, franchisees, too, are in a win-win situation with not only high footfalls, but there has been a clear jump in revenues! Shital shares: “Customisation of the products for the youth has had an impact on franchisees, as they are getting huge response from the youth. Nowadays, youth tends to focus more on health and body and Juice Lounge gives them the right direction, as we serve healthy juices and products. More than 50 per cent of our client share is youth. Our kiosks and OTCs (Over the Counter) in different malls are a hit among youngsters in India, as we offer them healthy food options, including fresh juices, salads and sandwiches, which help them stay healthy. While Periasamy details out: “We see majority of franchisees' investment going up on fashionable products and youth off late simply because the results are worth the investment. Besides, faster rotation of money in this segment means stocks moving off the shelf quickly. This is a fair indication of the success rate of the merchandise as well as the impact it has created. More over, the repeat purchase, quantum and expectation from the subsequent season in the youth category have seen an upward trend.”

Brands going gung ho!

They may be young and restless, yet it's the youth who have always expressed their identity through the choice of brands. Leaving no stone unturned, brands, too, have jumped into the bandwagon, wooing this mammoth section of consumers. This is being done through multiple modes that include re-positioning of brands, launch of customised products and even through electronic and digital marketing techniques. Vikas Punjabi, Managing Director, The Chocolate Room Franchise, The Chocolate Room India Pvt. Ltd, avers: “Youngsters love our brand and it's because of them we have a strong position in the market. We will do everything to make our concept and brand youth oriented.”

Making a mark

With the youth brigade turning out to be the most desirable segment among brands, brands are busy chalking out manifold strategies, including brand communication and marketing wherein several top-notch brands like KFC, Pizza Hut, Ferns N Petals, Brownie Xpress, Fusion Lounge have lined-up their stratagem focusing the youth. Leading casual dining restaurant brand Pizza Hut has recently launched an all-new advertisement campaign for its exciting 'Weekday Special' promotion. The aim was to reach out to the youth, for whom Pizza Hut is a preferred choice to dine even on week days. Speaking about the campaign, Sandeep Kataria, Chief Marketing Officer, Yum! Restaurants India, said: “Being a casual dining restaurant, Pizza Hut reinforces the brand promise of affordability through the latest campaign 'Weekday Special'. College-goers prefer eating out almost every day throughout the week. They are always on a lookout for the most economic deals that give them large quantity of food and a huge variety without compromising on the quality. We have captured this excitement experienced by a group of teenagers at Pizza Hut through our latest TV commercial. I am sure the advertisement will grab teenagers' attention across the country and they will be tempted to rush to their nearest Pizza Hut,” he claims.

Likewise, KFC has also positioned itself as a youth-oriented brand in India with teenagers, young as well as working adults as its primary target. Recently, KFC has added an exciting range of cold coffees 'KFC Krushers Kafeccino' to its menu. The brand has been promoting this through a television campaign, wherein the commercial builds on the insight of youngsters, capturing their favourite moments.

Similarly, customisation has been making waves among brands that are not only introducing uniqueness to their platter, but also making an extra move to slash prices. Ajay Manchukonda, Managing Partner, Brownie Xpress, says: “We are customising for the youth in the form of special chocolate gift packs for Valentine's Day, Friendship Day etc.” Pattabhi Rama Rao, President, Australian Foods India Pvt. Ltd., had said that Cookie Man, over the past few years, has launched and developed heart shaped cookies, customised heart shaped tins especially for Valentine's Day, youth-oriented gift packs and cookie eating contest for college goers.

For promotion, brands like Juice Lounge have already made a radical move. Asserts Shital: “This year we took part in college events to spread brand’s awareness. We have also tied-up with five universities to open up our brand outlet on their premises.”

While today's youth is armed with a spending power, yet several food & beverage brands have introduced low-cost edibles. For instance, the 'Streetwise' range of snacks from KFC has been a huge hit with college-goers. The 'Streetwise' range delivers the taste of KFC at 'canteen prices' starting from just Rs 25! In the 'Streetwise' range, KFC also offers a lunch option called 'Rizo' that has a piece of KFC's signature chicken served with aromatic rice and gravy at Rs 99. Speaking about the initiative, Dhruv Kaul, Director Marketing, KFC, India, said: “The most important part of a teenager's life is the time he spends with his friends. KFC offers the youth with a 'cool' ambience to spend time with friends over some lip-smacking snacks. With 'Streetwise' we are delighted to offer a range of signature KFC products at affordable prices.” On a similar note, Kataria adds: “Considering the fact that the youth has to survive on low allowance throughout the week, our 'Weekday Special' will give them just what they are want for just Rs 99 without pinching their pocket much.”

Future perfect!

While capturing the interest of the youth is not a cake walk, yet brands are ready to take on this challenge. Manchukonda sums up: “The success rate is highest among youth-oriented brands. The smartest move today is to cash in on the young, as they are more flexible, willing to experiment and appreciate a product or a brand. This works out perfectly for the growth of a brand. Hence, I am focusing on the youth for the success of my brand across the country.”

Annual expenditure of the youth

(12-16 years) is Rs 10,360,

while that of working singles

(21-25 years) is Rs 17,310

Picking up a market trend

vis-à-vis customisation for the

youth is imperative for both

franchisors and franchisees

From brand communication, to

market strategies and even the choice

of inventory are crucial for the

success of a franchise brand

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