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    BOOK EXCERPT: Nine Timeless Nuggets

    BOOK EXCERPT: Nine Timeless Nuggets

    BOOK EXCERPT: Nine Timeless Nuggets
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    Smartphones are changing the content Indians consume and this is shaping new personas and life stories.

    Even as the ‘hedonist’ is India’s prevailing consumer avatar, a secret fragmentation is afoot, as a thousand tiny personal and social revolutions quietly play out. An admittedly small but now noticeable segment of well-qualified women in large cities are self-deterministic, eschewing traditional roles, living alone, prioritizing careers over motherhood, choosing divorce over marital unhappiness and personal fulfilment over self-sacrificing duty. E-commerce is changing the retail landscape. Fewer meals are being cooked at home as food delivery grows. The nuclear family is far from rare and is now seen even in small-town India. More Indians are finding their life partners across the fabric of society, not just from within their communities. Smartphones are changing the content Indians consume and this is shaping new personas and life stories.
    Streaming services in entertainment are doing to private TV channels what the latter did to Doordarshan two decades ago. Data is telling us what people really want. Fissures and fault lines are appearing in what was, at least to the public eye, a homogenous society. Indian and foreign brands vie side by side in the tumultuous Indian marketplace. The marketers’ ideal of a single predictable identity is breaking down faster than ever under the influence of new technology and new life values. More to the point, Indians are changing—in some regards quietly and below the surface, while in others loudly and publicly.
    The truth is that the Indian customer never had a single identity. We are a single nation, united by certain beliefs and principles, but under that we have always been, and continue to be, a patchwork quilt. The single-identity, single-personality Indian was a marketing convenience. It never actually was the truth about Indians, whether as people or as customers.
    Under the meta-narrative of being Indian, a thousand micro-narratives swirl within each of us. If one Indian has been to the top schools and colleges and aspires to a frills-free life, another might have never seen a big city until landing his first job and is driven to be rich at any cost. Each story is different, with many hues, motivations and payoffs. No customer is just one thing any more. Since marketing is principally about creating desired behaviour by managing the environment around people, marketers must contend with the challenge of knowing individuals, as well as the macro environment that is shaping them, better. How do you deal with complexity in people, shaped by complexity in environment, which in turn is being shaped by complexity in people?
    Marketing to a single consumer identity is a thing of the past. Multiple-personality Indians are tearing the rulebook of traditional models. Multiple needs, springing from multiple personalities, will coexist. This is the new Indian customer. This is the marketing territory of the future. If you are navigating this territory for brand and business success, you need a new marketing blueprint.
    —Excerpted with permission from Nine Timeless Nuggets by Bharat Bambawale, published by Penguin Random House India. Price Rs 599.
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