Brand ambassadors now more relatable
Indian marketers traditionally have relied on major celebrities – the stars of cinema or cricket – to represent brands. These celebrity ambassadors idealized brands and made them seem aspirational.
The notion of celebrity has expanded and now focuses more on ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. Consumers confer hero status on individuals who contribute time and energy to improve their community or the nation.
Factors driving this shift in attitude include disenchantment with existing role models and a desire for greater authenticity. The trend follows in part from rising national pride and a consequent respect for people who advance the common welfare and not just their own.
The change in mentality also correlates with the improvement of India’s economy and the rise in expectations. Celebrity heroes resonated more in a time when experiencing life’s possibilities depended on fantasy. Today, personal initiative can turn possibilities into realities.
In one example, the India fashion brand Viva N Diva features a woman who survived an acid attack as a teenager when she rejected the marriage proposal of a man more than twice her age. The women, Laxmi Saa, models Viva N Diva fashions in a campaign called “Face of Courage.” She heads a foundation that helps victims of acid attacks.
STORYTELLINGConsumers respond to stories about Indian life, traditions
Indian consumers respond positively to emotional and sympathetic stories that depict situations in which relatable people interact with the nation’s culture and traditions, often highlighting particular Indian habits or idiosyncrasies.
Marketers need to identify a topic that is relevant to the brand, and then communicate it in a way that is local enough to be real but sufficiently general to travel well. These findings emerged from Kantar Millward Brown’s analysis of advertising data, which also yielded these recommendations:
Use slice of life India is an achievement-oriented society. It helps to showcase stories that demonstrate accomplishment relevant to the life of the viewer.
Make it personal Demonstrate how, with self-confidence and determination, individuals can overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.
Depict ingenuity Indians respect resourcefulness. Show how a brand may be the catalyst for an individual’s smart problem solving.
Be vibrant India is a sensual country. Use color and sound to present the product or service in a way that engages the senses. Go for the bold; avoid the dull.