What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Women – William S Pinckney and N S Rajan

13 Oct,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by William S Pinckney and N S Rajan.



Providing a platform for women to perform


By William S Pinckney


Sudha Mishra (name changed), a class tenth dropout and divorcee has many reasons to cheer for as today she is owner of a sufficiently large business which gives her recognition, fame, wealth, knowledge, friends and a new family in Amway business distributors. A decade ago, life was a ruined castle for her as she lost her husband and was deserted by her in-laws. Amway India has more than six lakh distributors of which almost 60 per cent are women.


A vast majority of them are housewives with diverse cultural and demographic orientation. Venturing into this business of direct selling, the Amway woman has successfully conquered great milestones, notably there are many who hail from smaller towns and cities wherein big multinational brands have minimal or no foothold.


Usually, women from these places are housewives living in joint families and have carved an indelible space for themselves in this male dominated world. They showcase peculiar characteristics when it comes for business building and entrepreneurial capabilities. Women are considered to be the backbone of the house but unfortunately, they receive least attention and recognition for all their sacrifices.




Role of PR in establishing a brand for Indian women consumers


By N S Rajan


Public Relation (PR) strategies in the consumer industry have traditionally segmented the market on the basis of income, demographics, geography, etc. But, increasingly, PR strategies of brands are fashioned to charm their most important decision-making audiences: women. The Ketchum ‘Marketing to Women’ PR practice estimates that women now control $3.3 trillion in consumer spending, are responsible for 80 per cent of household buying, control more than 50 per cent of the wealth in the US, make 62 per cent of all car purchases and take more than 50 per cent of all business trips.


Closer home, India is forecast to become the fifth-largest consumer market, with income levels expected to triple by 2025. According to a published report of a leading PE firm, women will make a significant impact as consumers, making India 12 per cent richer by 2015 and 25 per cent richer by 2025. Within that broad set, growth in the number of women entering the working population (38 per cent) will outstrip that of men (33 per cent) – numbers which go to prove that women as a segment will become equal if not more important than men! The modern Indian woman is a multidimensional personality.




She too has desires, dreams and ambitions which remain dormant unless an extra “Push” and a “Platform to perform” is given to her. Amway comes to her respite by way of a business opportunity which she can manage and grow within her family framework. It starts as a parttime business with some basic need fulfillment goals and with passage of time, she becomes a key driver in providing additional income to her family.


Women wish to create their own identity which can possibly give them self-pride and eternal satisfaction. They wish to explore and unleash their hidden inhibitions but lack an opportunity. Amway gives them that chance to move out of their spheres, interact, network and sell products to family members and friends.





She has successfully evolved from a home-maker to a chief partaker in decisions concerning her family, their future and their lifestyle. Empowered through education, employment and earnings, she is an inquisitive consumer: demanding answers and seeking value for her purchases. For a successful brand, she is the most important audience to influence in the consumer market. The communication strategy should appeal to her sensibilities and outlook. Only then, will the brand find itself a place in her lifestyle.


Increasingly brands are being launched and marketing is focused on sharp insights into Indian women. They try to understand what Indian women want, and build hugely successful offerings based on wonderful ideas that stem from that special local knowledge. The number of women-oriented magazines and television content exceed the number of magazines and TV content catering to men. Popular publications are translated into regional languages to cater to the vernacular women audiences.


Clearly marketers and PR managers are waking up to the power that women hold over household purchase decisions in India. In the past brands like Lakme, Femina, Titan and TVS have put Indian women first by understanding their unique needs, and thereby transformed the market. Lalitaji of Surf was another shining example of a campaign which not only made a competitive sales pitch but was also an education on prudent living. DSP BlackRock recently launched Winvestor, a unique platform that aids women take their own financial decisions independently.


There are many other product categories where the same transformation is waiting to happen. Perhaps, we will soon see Indian women’s brand of cars, footwear, mobile telephones or cameras. As brand strategies become increasingly women-oriented, we are also witnessing a paradigm shift in the communication approach. From merely disseminating information on the goods being sold, companies are now appealing to the personal, emotional as well as commercial aspects of the audiences’ persona.


PR campaigns are a lot more participative and community oriented – addressing issues such as health, safety, education and are no longer focused on conventional areas such as beauty, household essentials, etc. Clearly, the Indian PR industry is set for a revolution along the lines of the evolving role of women. Its effects will impact not only the existing generation of consumers but the community, as a whole.


I believe Public Relations, especially a mix of traditional and digital PR will be most effective to win over this consumer base with emotion, storytelling and building a genuine connect and trust with the new age woman – the most powerful consumer of tomorrow. Understanding any target is complex and women more so, but when brands succeed in getting the formula right they will be multibaggers and the big winners of tomorrow.



Tomorrow: Tuesday, October 14: Teens – Prashant Panday and Arijit Ray



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