Men have evolved from an economic provider to also an emotional one: Anisha Motwani

04 Sep,2013

The fact that many companies have begun allowing men to take paternity leaves is a telling sign of men’s involvement in the household. And their evolution. Anisha Motwani, Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance, feels that while there are men who would be thrilled today to have a daughter, as much they would be with a son; but at the same time issues of rape and honour killing perplex her and force her to question the evolution of the Indian male. In an interview with MxMIndia, Ms Motwani talks about the changing Indian male and how marketers are viewing this change. Excerpts: 


One often deliberates about the evolution of Indian woman in the last one decade – have the men too not evolved

If you look at India with all its disparities and regional differences, it’s very difficult to make a sweeping generalisation that men have evolved.


Rape, dowry, honour killing and preference for a male child – we have enough and more evidence to suggest that men haven’t moved an inch as far in the past many decades. But when you look at urban cities in parts, both small town and metros, you see a different picture. Evolution by definition means, a better way to survive and adapt to the changing environment. When this changing environment involves more women working, financially independent, aspiring for all kinds of careers, I’d say that certain men have adapted faster to this than others. And those who have, are better; the rest, just bitter.


Today, more and more fathers are as thrilled to have a daughter, as they would be with a son. There is no difference in treatment, when it comes to giving the girl child the best education, securing her future or providing her all the material comforts.


On a different note, men have made notable strides on the personal grooming front.


Are marketers ignoring men due to easy accessibility to women as buyers and influencers?

On the contrary, marketers are looking at men as the hot new potential segment to go after.


Emami, which claims to have a 58 per cent share of men’s fairness cream market, is gunning for a 30 per cent increase in sales of its Fair & Handsome brand,


Most personal care brands targeting men are innovating and spicing up products with extra features like sweat control, sun prevention, oil control and dark spot reduction. Even five years ago, who would have thought that men cared for these features.


One fitness brand alone, Talwalkars is present in 70 cities, with over 132,000 members. Madura Fashion and Lifestyle depends primarily on men to keep its apparel brands going.


Given that men are more on the move, are as social as women, and are digitally connected, there are enough opportunities to reach and engage them, that marketers are leveraging.


Segmenting men based on SEC, and town class – how do they differ in their aspirations, values and social needs

There are certain characteristics that are SEC-agnostic,  such as aspiring to climb up the social and material ladder.


In our own category, life insurance, we have seen differences in men’s appetite for taking risks when it comes to their money, but not necessarily SEC/town-wise differences.


How has the man’s role in the family changed/evolved?

While a stay-at-home dad is not a reality yet, men have evolved from being only an economic provider to also an emotional one. They have begun to be more sensitive to the needs of their spouses and families, more so in nuclear families.


While every man hasn’t turned a proud cook yet, it is heartening to see rising male interest in cooking being promoted through shows like Masterchef India. Even with the latest Junior Masterchef season, to see young boys actively engaged and bragging about foods and kitchen tools, is a sign of an evolving society.


Lux used Shah Rukh Khan in an ad – would you say even for small ticket items men are a target audience – though secondary?

Long before men-specific fairness lotions were out, men were already a secondary target audience.


Today, if you were to visit any hypermarket /supermarket on a weekend, you’d discover a lot of men accompanying their spouses, kids for household shopping.


So for categories like personal care or packaged food, they obviously are worth looking at.


Can men across the geographies be reached through same/similar marketing strategies?

It totally depends on the category in question. An insurance brand can adopt a common strategy across geographies, as it talks to the responsible, family man. However, a soft drink brand that appeals to the raw masculinity and action, could use regional celebrities to strengthen brand preference.


Would you say men are getting more individualistic – thus making targeting them via mass media difficult?

I think most marketers talking to men have managed to focus on core needs that appeal to men of different geographies, castes and economic profile, (such as the need for power, one-upmanship, success, need to be entertained). Focus on these, has ensured that mass media continues to be relevant.


Is platform-agnostic content facilitation the solution for media owners?

Not necessarily. While a gym brand can be platform agnostic, and focus on fitness and health-related content everywhere, a technology brand may not. Lenovo, for instance, may choose to focus on features and competitive pricing in one medium, while sharing cases of inspiring people who do in another.


The key is to look at the men’s relationship with the category and see if different platforms can be differently to appeal to the rational and emotional sides of men.


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