Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ethnographic research in South India

Emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China have a strong tendency of imposing their view on the global economy. Today, understanding social trends and cultural insights has become essential for innovating new products and services in emerging markets.

We have been doing ethnographic research in South India for the past 3 months. The states covered are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu with Puducherry being the lone Union Territory. Our objective was to capture new comportments and needs of the population there.

We applied a human-centred marketing approach to understand:
1) What really matters for the South Indian consumers?
2) What are their difficulties in the fast moving economy of India?
3) What would be the axis for sustainable livelihood?
The results we found were very different from one state to another. For instance, Tamil Nadu remains to be the impenetrable traditional state of South India.

The anthropological study we did includes our analysis about the South Indian population, their way of customs, their views of today’s society and way of living considering their situation and earnings. We interviewed people of all ages, background, castes and income levels in small towns, villages as well as metro cities.

For reaching the population, we were enormously helped by a few NGOs. Great credit goes to Sigaram Service Society and Welcome Society who introduced us to the locals and helped us in getting the required population count and data. We were guided so that the interviews we held were smooth and understandable on both extremes. We conducted nearly 70 qualitative interviews with people from different age groups having different income levels. From people who sustain their life in huts to people who are wealthy enough to afford a modern lifestyle. We asked them analysing questions related to their customs, mode of living, etc. to collect data. We found around 21 consumer profiles of people belonging to various families starting from the poor to middle class to the rich.

It was nice to share experience between anthropologists and social workers from South India. We are convinced that NGOs can play a major role in developing clever business model in emerging markets. We look forward to extend our partnership with multiple NGOs all over India and across the globe.

The project has a valuable market analysis to know the pulse of every kind of individual residing in South India. It helps you in understanding social trends, consumer segmentation and how they can be leveraged in product innovation and brand strategy. It offers plenty of opportunities to create new businesses in emerging market.

There won’t be any underground work needed for any company who plans to start a new market in this part of the sub-continent. This research will be available on our website from 15th Feb'2009 along with a movie clip speaking about the interest of investing in emerging markets.

Like this interview was in a slum with a very poor family. Some people thanked us for taking their interview and said they really enjoyed sharing their feelings.

Reality is far from what we think. People who share similar ideology sometimes have a totally different lifestyle. Reversely, lifestyle does not predict a consumer’s mindset.



arifa said...

So u people are working for colgate to meet its needs . This is a kind of a business to advertise colgate.

Patrick Roupin said...

Arifa we are not working for Colgate but we love Colgate and the kind of approach they have adopted for the rural markets. This example can inspire other businesses.