The 'Irrational' Indian

'The ultimate proof of the ‘irrationality’ of the Indian is the way he does business with partners. The westerner operates on written contracts which cover the scope of work and provide for defaults. The Indian, on the other hand, operates on ‘zubaan’. If in his heart he feels he can do business with you, he is ready to operate on your word and take the relationship forward without all the details being ironed out first. It’s emotions that drive business transactions.

If Indians as people exhibit emotions in so many other things, why should it be different for advertising and brands? After all, brands are ultimately about emotions. Marketers need to believe that they are selling to people as well as consumers, and need to recognise that while Indians as consumers are value-conscious, as people they are emotional. So talking to the heart makes as much, or more, sense as trying to attack the mind. Soft selling works better than hard selling. Maybe much of consumer testing puts the knowledge-driven Indian respondent into an intellectual examination, prompting bright student behaviour rather than real life viewer.

Something worth thinking about.

- Madhukar Sabnavis, 'Indians are less rational than what many marketers think'.


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