What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Men- Rohan Bhansali and Devendra Chawla

20 Aug,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Rohan Bhansali and Devendra Chawla



Brands cannot target men the way they target women

By Rohan Bhansali


In India, women have conventionally been the Chief Purchase Officers of the household. However, over the last few years, the men in the families have successfully stepped up to this role. Meet Rahul, your quintessential Indian male consumer. He is more aware about products and brands, for him shopping is no more than a dreaded activity he must not undertake unless absolutely necessary. Men, generally, are inclined towards online shopping and exhibit consistency in adopting online shopping. In addition to that, their range is not limited to low ticket categories. The trend extends to high involvement categories like technology, real estate, etc.



Men’s role in family affairs
has evolved


By Devendra Chawla


The fabric of the society has been changing, and it has made men evolve from just being bread earners to a more family centric role. As more and more women are stepping out of home, men are getting more involved in household sphere – from attending parent-teacher meetings to shopping – they are doing it all. Some men are even taking up cooking as a hobby inspired by cooking shows like MasterChef. Weekend cooking by men is gaining in popularity.


A key change one witnesses is that more and more men are now accompanying their spouse/family on shopping trips. Modern retail is acting as a catalyst for men to include shopping in their schedule. They are more impulsive shoppers than women, and a lot of experimentation is taking place.



Ever since, marketers have ignored men and focused on targeting women for their campaigns. However, in the last two decades, rapid globalisation has completely changed the way brands target their consumers. For instance, the marketing strategy used for condoms focuses on sensuality, while lingerie is marketed primarily as a gift item. This basically points at how brands are interlinking TGs and creating new channels to sell. However, there always remains a core TG for brands to survive on. Men, as a group, show great potential to be a gateway to reach the complete family.


While men live more in the moment and believe in finishing the task they have taken in hand, they simply act as a receptive target group. On the other hand, with impulsiveness, the interest in power and the need to look good, well-embedded in their DNA, brands cannot target men the way they target women.


Getting to the root of the consumer behavior of the Indian Male – The DNA

Men simply hate waiting. Being a part of those long queues would never interest them. Their idea of shopping can be simplified into the Neanderthal-like instinct – ‘Go. Seek. Buy!’ Ample instances show men bouncing off as confused if the checkout process is complicated. Forcing men to register on your website to gain access to the product he is looking for will simply put him off. So keep it simple. And make it fast.


Men like transparency. Nobody wants to take risks with his hard-earned money and men are no exceptions. All they want is trust and a transparent experience. You could gain their trust by not asking them for unnecessary personal information. That’s the way to being in their good books.


The stir of impulsiveness and accessibility is a huge drive for men. If they feel it, they want it. They are not hugely turned off by delivery charges if they want a product the next day. And no, they won’t mind spending extra on delivery if the product is what they fancy.


Good at Research
Men research intensely and excessively. They are quick and thoughtful while looking for what they want. I personally know of a few men who will do all their research online, zero in on the product they want, find out where they will get it and go offline and buy it – a great example of ‘Go. Seek. Buy’.


If you provide them with what they want in the most efficient way, they WILL come back. They believe in brand loyalty and are more often than not, brand loyalists.


Coming back to the quintessential Rahul, who we spoke about earlier, he can be categorised into the following groups, and brands can engage him accordingly:

The Simpleton – Driven by family values and tradition. He loves his family and believes in value for money. He wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for value.


How do you engage the simpleton?
:: Showing him the value that your brand can add
:: Surprise him with offers and better deals
:: Making it funny, as humor is a great way to reach out to his kind


The Alpha – Driven by need and hunger for status and pleasure, this metropolitan dweller has been exposed to the best of facilities around him. He identifies value with how much a concept appeals to his elitist instincts. For him, appearance of the product is of as much value as the usefulness, if not more. Status and social recognition are important too.


We can engage the Alphas by:
:: Focusing on ‘Me’. Alpha males are heavily self-driven. Give them content that satisfies their ego and put them a step ahead of other males
:: Give them exclusive content that is not for the masses
:: Talk about pride and the status symbol associated with your brand
:: Create an elitist appeal


The Progressive – Similar to ‘The Simpleton’, he is hugely involved in his family life. He thinks about his wife and kids as well. He is educated, progressive in outlook, not overly simpleton nor overly an alpha male. Such males take purchase decision by collaborating and are driven by rationality than impulse.


Such men can be engaged by:
:: Giving content that increases productivity adding value in their lives
:: Packaging family in your conversations
:: Using more of testimonials and product reviews


The next time you happen to deal with a Rahul, know that he has evolved from the Neanderthal, but is still very much the man at heart. He is well informed, brand conscious, wants status and at the same time believes in value for money. And even though he is impatient, he enjoys research and likes to spend quality time in the process of information gathering. Thus, brands need to ensure that the selling points and product details are available easily. Positive reviews and testimonials will also add more value when dealing with men.


A positive, strong and active presence on social media has also become a lethal tool in this direction. A lot of men look at these platforms for insights on brands and products. Another important aspect is the ranks of the brands on search engines. Men don’t tend to go beyond page 1 of the results page on search engines. So, it is important for brands to rank high and if possible, appear in the top 3 results of the searches.


Brands must also incorporate entertaining and engaging videos into content as men react a lot to such content. While they’re a tough combination of expectations to live up to, the challenge can be exciting. Identifying the right segment is key to applying the right strategy. Keep in mind the above categories and somewhere you’ll know which Rahul fits your brand and embodies your target group.


A quick tip: Colors like blue, red, black and green tones catch the male eye better than others. Men stay away from shades like purple and brown.




An added attraction for them while shopping is explosion in men’s categories in super markets, for instance male grooming. Men’s grooming is growing nearly double the rate of overall personal care category given its smaller base.


This brings us to yet another change in men’s behaviour: personal grooming. Looking good is important for men now, leading to them visiting spas more frequently. Centuries ago, women would choose their grooms in swayamvar, which put pressure on men to be at their best in all forms of skills and looks. With women increasingly choosing their partners and no longer just being well dressed dolls for men to see and select, men are again under pressure to look good.


That, though, is not the only reason for being better groomed. Good grooming makes one more presentable and confident at work. Besides, women in 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are very well groomed and they want their men to be well groomed as well. Older men, are hence, under pressure to keep pace with their better halves who use age defying cosmetics and don’t want their partners to look old revealing their age.


Modern man, thus has changed a lot – he is more involved in household activities, is better groomed, and an avid shopper. Credit for this change, to a very large extent goes to the sea change the Indian woman has gone through – she is much better groomed now, and is no longer confined to the four walls of the house.



Tomorrow (Aug 21): Women -Harish Bijoor and Lynn de Souza


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