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Young Indians seek a balanced life

News, 18 December 2014

MUMBAI: Young Indians are committed to succeeding through hard work but their definition of success is moving beyond from simple material acquisition to include meaningful work, according to a leading industry figure.

As part of Warc's New perspectives on Indian youth series, Madhukar Sabnavis, vice chairman and country head, discovery and planning, Ogilvy & Mather India Board, outlines ten trends that marketers need to consider when targeting a millennial generation that has grown up since the country embraced economic liberalisation back in 1991.

This age group understands that true achievement requires perseverance, Sabnavis says, highlighting the fact that biographies and 'how to' books tend to top the bestseller lists.

Where people previously sought short cuts to fame and success, for example, they are now more likely to have taken on board Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule which states that to become proficient at anything requires 10,000 hours of practice.

Sabnavis further notes an interesting nugget from one of those short cuts, the TV reality show. These now routinely praise the hard work of all the participants rather than focusing on the winners, while judges will reassure close losers they will get there if only they continue practising.

Economic development over the last 23 years has produced a couple of generations of well-off Indians who already have some experience of the material things life has to offer. Today's youth are less exercised by having more of the same than by making a difference and achieving recognition.

More MBAs are opting for entrepreneurial ventures, Sabnavis notes, either on their own or with start-ups, with the aim of "finding joy" rather than just big salaries and company labels.

Joy, of course, comes in many forms and in a society riven with conflicts this generation is keen to find a balance, "a harmony in thinking", in those areas that threaten to destabilise their lives.

The battle between the traditional and the modern need not be an either/or choice but an acceptable compromise: an arranged love marriage, for example.

India's millennials have grown up more exposed to Western culture than their predecessors and have taken on board some of the attitudes one might associate with their peers, such as being more socially sensitive and aware of inequalities or welcoming the unvarnished truth.

At the same time, they are under more pressure than ever to make the right choices and have fewer people they can confide in.


Facebook may help them stay connected with friends and make new connections but "depth has given way to width", Sabnavis observes. "Together alone is an apt description of their state."

Data sourced from Warc