Connecting with the Indian Consumer

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Connecting with the Indian Consumer

Anyone who wants to sell in India has to see a Bollywood movie to get a crash course in understanding the psyche of the Indian consumer. A Bollywood movie would have three important aspects - Drama, Song & Dance and Victory of Good over Evil.

The Indian advertising market is worth over $6bn annually. The market grew by around 16 percent last year thanks to the General Election which saw political parties going overboard with their campaigns both in the traditional media of print, TV, radio and outdoor as well as on all the digital platforms.  (This year growth is forecast to be in single digits). Cell phone penetration is almost 70%, with 800 million plus users, making India the second largest Mobile market in the world.  During the General Election the fight for the voters mind was fought on Social Media making this election the first to be fought on the net.

The current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has the second highest number of followers on Twitter after Barack Obama. And like the US President, he not only connected with the electorate during the elections but has made it the primary channel of communication with the masses today. Radio, which has been used as an entertainment channel, has today become a trusted source between the  Government and the People thanks to a monthly program addressed by the Prime Minister known as Mun Kee Baat (Literally meaning My Personal Thoughts). 

It is not just the Government that is using digital platforms to connect with their customers. FMCG companies like Unilever connect with customers through their innovative mobile radio platform called the Kaan Khajuria Teshan:

Watch the clip here

This campaign won them a Lion at the Cannes Festival.

Coming back to how to sell to the Indian consumer, one must keep three things in mind:

  1. Be emotional: Indians are emotional people. When selling any product, always appeal to the emotional side of his/her thinking. Unlike in the West, in India the best rational argument will fail in front of an emotional pull.
  2. Be ‘Relational’: Every elder person in India is addressed as an Uncle or an Aunt even by strangers. If you are in India and are called as such, don’t feel bad. It’s a sign of respect shown by a stranger, especially youngsters, in a non-business environment like on the streets or if you visit someone’s home. Mr. and Mrs. is hardly ever used.
  3. Value for Money: Every product must deliver value for money. Even if a person is buying a Rolls Royce, one question that is always asked is “ What’s the mileage?”

As a matter of fact, India’s largest car manufacturer has taken ownership of this positioning and has laughed all the way to the bank

Watch the clip here

Happy selling to India!

Turab Lakdawala | Tempest Advertising 


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