GURGAON: Experiential marketing is emerging as an important route to reaching India's youth, leading industry figures have argued.

"Youth is only looking at how a brand gets him to experience what he loves," said Amol Dhillon, VP, Strategy and Planning at outdoor wear brand Woodland, during a panel discussion at the Pitch Youth Marketing Summit.

He went on to suggest that "youth today is actually the stakeholder of a company" and cited the example of Coke Studio, an Indian TV series featuring live music performance.

"Coke has entered their lives in a way where it touched them at a very different level and gave them a reason to connect," he explained.

Coke Studio also featured at this year's Kumbh Mela – the brand's stalls offered free wi-fi where visitors could download music from the programme.

Keynote speaker Anusha Dandekar, an MTV VJ, described youth as a "goldfish which forgets who is who in six seconds" at the same time as being hugely inquisitive. Such an outlook underpinned the need to create memorable experiences that lived on in these consumers' minds.

"Experiential marketing should target to engage and convert consumers into brand evangelists," Dalveer Singh, head of marketing, Asia Pacific, at GroupM's experiential arm Dialogue Factory, told a recent issue of Pitch.

And in the same issue, Atul S Nath, of brand activation agency Candid Marketing, stressed the need to address the issue strategically. Too many brands had taken a short-term tactical approach and failed to make the necessary investments, he said, especially in terms of time.

Dandekar also emphasised the need for brands to pay attention. "The more time you give to them [millennials], they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand," she said.

Another perspective came from panellist Dev Amritesh, President and COO of Dunkin' Donuts India, who thought that 25 year olds were exhibiting greater emotional maturity than their elders, and regarded brands differently. As a consequence, "youth experiences have to be more evolved and more layered", he said.

Data sourced from Pitch; additional content by Warc staff