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India 2015: OVERVIEW | Our Insights | SOCIAL MEDIA

New consumer assertiveness challenges brands to deliver

Jasmeeta Agarwal

Senior Planning Director 

Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai 

Jasmeeta.Agarwal@ogilvy.com 

Indians have an expression for it: chalta hai, a resigned acceptance of circumstances, right or wrong. Chalta hai may have defined our past, but it can certainly not define our future. Empowered with social media, consumers have rejected chalta hai. When brands are too lax and don’t deliver they won’t face apathy. Rather, they’ll risk being the target of public outrage.

In a hyper-connected India, while Internet penetration may still be dismal, what certain Indians are doing cannot go unrecognized. From a sarpanch, or village leader, in Haryana inspiring a viral “SelfieWithDaughter” campaign to promote empowerment of girls, to a “celebrity roast” on YouTube gone awry, digital activity is influencing public opinion like never before.

Brands need to tread carefully, since one digital faux pas could be re-tweeted and shared a million times before the day is over. While this threat does not mean brands should become wary of everything they do online, it certainly means that having a consistent tone of voice and quick response time would help build brands in this post- chalta hai digital age.