Market goes from pyramid to pot-bellied

When an advertising professional starts to tell the India Story, expect an interesting take. Chief strategy officer at Bates 141 India, Dheeraj Sinha, says in the introduction to “Consumer India” that his account is “from the playing field, not the sidelines.” It is the end product of consumer interaction, cutting across geography and age groups. It yields much insight into the Indian mind.

With marketers across the world eyeing the Indian consumer’s wallet, this book is handy. In 10 sharp chapters , Sinha maps changing the market’s values and expectations even as its shape changes from pyramid to pot-bellied .

Popular culture is the route to understanding consumer behaviour and it has been changing. This is especially evident in India’s sense of morality, says Sinha. Comparing two Shah Rukh Khan-starrers , Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), he writes, “From refusing to elope with his girlfriend to asking someone else’s wife to run away in search of personal happiness , the depiction of relationships and morality in mainstream Bollywood cinema has come a long way – mirroring the tremendous change India has seen in the last 15 years.” This shift in morality should mirror how and where you want to position your product . Sinha offers no gyan, he’s a mere observer. He packs in a fair bit. He discusses music videos and what a number such as Kaanta Laga means for television : “No other art form had been able to put the G-string at the center of a nationwide debate” .

And he reveals the nuances of an “entrepreneurial streak” among rural women. There are anecdotal field accounts and number crunching. Plus, new ideas such as Tata’s second-career internship programme meant for women who opted out of active careers after becoming mothers. These new mindsets, in the end, reveal the true face of the Indian consumer.

Consumer India: Inside the Indian Mind and Wallet
By Dheeraj Sinha Wiley.com/Times Group Books
Rs 400, 189 pages

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