* First, day-to-day life is a struggle
This article first appeared in Adage
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Thayalan Bartlett, JWT Sri Lanka on Branding in Turbulent Times.
Absorption: India’s equity is building up everyday, distancing itself from China, the all time point of comparison. This being said, some worries remain in foreign investors minds: Will the widening wealth gap lead to social tensions? Also, while the economy grows fast, the education system does not follow. How will industries overcome the lack of qualified labour?
The sudden rise of ‘bully consumers’ in India
What does it mean?
It simply means that brands need to be always at a higher level of hierarchy than the consumer if they need to protect the premium-ness. If the choice has to be made, then brand should be the king.
Service brands need to be careful when they’re training their staffs in soft skills. They need to be told the difference between being polite and being servile.
SKETCHING THE MYTHS, MEANINGS AND METAPHORS OF COOL
The Super Brands UK, Cool Council defines that all cool brands have a consistent presence of certain values:
Cool is forever distinctive and is aspirational.
Cool generally goes against the grain (not necessarily rebellious).
Cool is itself - it doesn’t try too hard.
Cool is authentic, it doesn’t try too hard.
The subscribers of Cool behave like a tribe.
While these characteristics form the core of cool, the ramifications and manifestations of this cool differs across cultures. Cool is not culture-agnostic, instead it is culture-driven.
Western Cool - It is all about doing your own thing. It firmly anchors itself in individuality as the primary instrument of human exploration and creative fulfillment. An individuality that has to be unrestrained and unchecked and must press forward at all costs, even to the exclusion of the larger community.
Indian Cool, on the other hand is all about Me and my community. The Indian way of life has its roots in the ancient Vedic tradition and so holds true with Indian cool as well. It seems that in India if you are outside the ambit of the society, then unlike the West, you aren’t cool- you are an outcast! And nobody wants to be an outcast in a deeply collectivist society like India.
Western cool is all about rebellion, even without a cause
Indian cool is not about rebellion at all. Be a rebel, for a greater cause, when all else fails.
Western cool traditionally springs from bottom up.
Indian cool is mandated and not self-bred! Indian cool often comes from top down.
Western cool is about Expression, Indian cool is about Aspiration.
Emerging themes of Cool
One of the key emerging themes of cool will be the emergence of local movements and expressions, that shall seek to reinforce, re-interpret and re-vitalize local cultural and historical symbols. It could be either through pure play or through fusion.
The new cool will be about coming to terms with these developments and keeping your identity intact.
Human technology interactions will probably be the biggest dynamic that cool will play out on.
Cool will be about evangelism, philanthropy and filial affiliation. This theme will be more visible in developed economies.
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Given the complexity of bahaviour patterns, usage, occasions, and purchase pathways, how do you arrive at what could be a handy guide to value propositions for retail brands? Here’s a point of view: V2E3. Value, Variety, Exclusivity, Experience and Expertise. Every retailer needs to pick the dominant offering and craft a combination of those that suit its desired customer base best. Take a look at how each of these come alive.
Value: Some people just can’t resist the lure of low price.
Variety: something for everyone.
Exclusivity:The dilemma and pleasure of buying something expensive.
Expertise:How often have you gone back to a shop because of a sales person, or walked out of a shop because of a sales person?
Experience:Ambience and display turned into an art form, almost.
The above post is an excerpt from a talk titled “Value Propositions for Customer Satisfaction” delivered by Mythili Chandrasekar at Asia Retail Congress, Mumbai, Jan 08