The story about India’s liberalization two decades ago and its impact on our economy is well documented. But there is another side to this tale, which probably hasn’t received the attention it deserves. It is about the huge leap in mindset that we have taken as a society. As brand consultants, it is this human side to the -India Shining’ (to borrow an old election campaign tagline) story that enthrals us.
India today is a rapidly evolving society, which embraces the best that the world has to offer,while retaining the core values that define our culture and society. Nothing exemplifies this better than our attitude towards money, something which we keeps coming up in our various assignments on product positioning in the financial services space.
Indians always had an uncomfortable, conservative, almost guilty relationship with money. Money (Laxmi) was revered for the good things it brought with it, but also considered as dangerous if not cultivated discerningly. Too much consumption was considered to have a corrupting influence on the mind, and therefore a sure-shot route to one’s downfall. The only ‘legitimate’ way to earn money (Laxmi) was through education (Saraswati). The India of today is much more comfortablewith the concept of money. We understand its transformative power. Today, we look upon money as a enabler to upgrade my existence. Guilt is no longer associated with money – it is all about managing it wisely to fulfil one’s desires. At the same time, the Indian pursuit of money is also not about an empty gold rush. While there is no doubting the desire to get ahead in life, we want to do it in the responsible -Indian’ way without giving up our traditional conservative core.
All of this has a huge bearing on positioning of financial service products. Only those brands which understand this phenomenon and assimilate it in their positioning will be able to make it big.