The path to success is to take massive, determined action

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”- Anthony Robbins

Robbins summed it up in simple language. You need to have the heart to take big decisions, sometimes even risky to taste the sweetness of success. But decisions only become fruitless unless implemented with equally thoughtful implementable plan of action. The confluence of both is necessary for success.

The Most Profitable Consumer Segment

Today, the youth within the age gap of 20 – 30, commonly called the twentysumthing has become the most profitable segment for marketers. After all, this slice of the larger young adult market is nearly 38 million strong (and growing), spends more than $150 billion annually, is predisposed towards early adoption, and the bulk of its brand loyalties are still in a state of flux.   Outperform your competition and you’ll generate immediate gains to the bottom line while building lasting brand loyalties.  Miss the boat and you risk giving away a priceless competitive advantage.

TODAY’S TWENTYSOMETHINGS

To be successful, packaging must address the unique mindset and leading behavioral drivers of today’s young adults.  The market’s psyche is driven by several key factors:

Rapidly Evolving

Young adults are evolving at warp speed in language, lifestyle, usage, consideration set, and attitudes.  What’s cool today, may be passé tomorrow: brands can become obsolete faster than a speeding train.

Market Savvy

Today’s young adults are acutely aware that they are a highly desirable target market.  In a time when advertising has infiltrated pop culture, twentysomethings are well versed with the dynamics of marketing and sales: they’ve “been there, done that”.  Don’t be fooled… the market may look naïve, but it’s composed of highly experienced and enlightened consumers.

Cynical

Having been touched by crime, AIDS, drugs, corporate downsizing, and an endless parade of political scandals, twentysomethings expect to be mugged by marketers.  (Sad, but true.)   Product claims are instantly interpreted as hype and greeted with intense skepticism.

Time Crunched

Packaging can, and should, help facilitate faster decision-making.  Young adults live in an accelerated culture where time is a precious commodity.  No matter what their age or socioeconomic status, they are struggling to balance work and leisure.   Products and services that deliver increased productivity or improved quality of life will be duly rewarded.

“Adventure Seeking”

With the advent of the Global Village, young adults are taking full advantage of what the world has to offer in music, food, culture, fashion, travel, ad infinitum.  They love to “adventure seek” and have the financial resources to do so.  Except for a few lucky brands, young adults typically brand surf from one product to the next.  As such, this audience is usually the first to adopt a new product, brand, or line extension.

Culturally Diverse

Today’s young adults are the most ethnically diverse group in American history.  Remember, folks, this is the “MTV Generation”.  A gangster rap video here, an alternative rock video there, Tommy Hilfiger in the inner city, FUBU in the suburbs have blurred the lines that once formally separated one ethnic group from another.  The implications on packaging strategy have yet to be fully understood.

Sophisticated (Sometimes)

The market is incredibly sophisticated across a variety of product categories, but by no means all.  The average young adult may be quite knowledgeable about high involvement categories such as fashion, electronics, music, computers, and entertainment.  In fact, in such categories, their role as Early Adopters and Influencers is nothing short of profound.  Conversely, peripheral categories (read: MOST product categories) are low involvement and, hence, call for split decision making.   “Um, I’ll take that… ah, THAT piece of gum please.”  Packaging can play an instrumental role in young adult purchasing because the market is NOT as sophisticated about most product categories as it would like you to believe.

Also, this segment is strongly categorized for having a very strong network value. Social networks play an important role in this segment.

If you do have a product for this segment, do ensure that you consider these factors while developing your marketing mix and designing your 4Ps or 7Ps as the case may be.

Mahalaya – The day heralding the Durga Puja

We, the Bengalis wake up on this day, listening to the dream music to our ears, the recitation of Birendra Kishore’s Mahalaya poetry. This heralds the  traditional 6-day countdown to Mahasaptami. Goddess Durga visits the earth for only four days but seven days prior to the Pujas, starts the Mahalaya. The enchanting voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra fill up the predawn hours of the day thus marking the beginning of ” devipaksha ” and the beginning of the count-down of Durga Puja.

Ayi Giri Nandini Nandita Medini, Visva Vinodini Nandinute Giri Vara
Vindhya Shirodhini Vasini Vishnuvilaasini, Jisnunute Bhagavati He ShitikaNthakutumbini
Bhoorikutumbini Bhoorikrute Jaya Jaya He, Mahishaasuramardhini

How long do Bengalis all over the world wait for this day? For us, the Bengalis, the clan producing the sons like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhash Chandra, Bose, Satyajit Roy and so on.. this is what the Christmas is to our Christian brothers, the Id-ul-fitr is to our brothers of Islam, and so on. We, the “Bongs” across the world keenly wait for this day when we may return to our roots and look forward to a week full of magic with all those artifacts that we are identified with.

While our current Gen-X may sometimes be lost when it comes to identifying with our roots, this is the day that knocks us back to our senses and makes us get back to what we hold so dearly, our cultural roots. The expectations and memories from the Durga Puja are so high amongst our clan that where-ever we are, at that moment, we all hope or wish that were we in Kolkata when the puja will happen. We guys eagerly wait to don the Punjabis while our female counterparts dress up in Saris in anticipation of creating a few fluttering hearts, and sometime, ensnare a hopelessly romantic dolt with her charm.  The kids dress up and play, firing their toy-guns (caps) and the occasional sound of crackers and very recently, whistles and horns, play the perfect foil to merry-making. This is the time when the “Mashimas”,  “Boudis” and “Didis” with that “Para’r danpite meye” unite to play with the flavor of the crimson magic. This is the time we unite across generations and pay homage to our seniors. This is the time when nuclear families reunite in infectious joy. This is the time when the elderly, stop harping about the tormenting life, and enjoy the fruits of harmony with their younger counterparts. This is the time when the school going kids, are relieved of their burden from those nightmarish study-books and they are free to reign their world of fairy-land.

Yes, this is what Durga Puja brings to us. But unfortunately, although we “Bongs” would like to share the magic with all our Non-Bong friends, they would really not be in a position to savor the actual flavor of this delicacy. But, true to our roots, it is through the pursuit of these differences and these identities of our culture, we find meaning in our life. Otherwise, we are just another robot planted on this tormenting planet wonder, to play our role on the grander stage of life.

Three cheers to the Mahalaya, which heralds the Durga Puja.

And I wish I could do better justice to our roots with an ode to our cultural roots, but unfortunately, I have my limitations as a serious poet.

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