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''Made In India'' Saga

The problem with our country has been that for far too long we have tinkered with the supply side rather than worrying about spurring demand.

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In this self-inflicted saga of gloom and doom that most of corporate India are reeling under, it would be pertinent to inject some infectious enthusiasm that is laced with positivity. We need to appreciate the swiftness of response that the Government has exhibited when confronted with a slow-down, the likes we haven’t seen in a long time. And then there’s the additional good news of the many start-ups that have grown to be unicorns as also the news about how some traditionally iconic Indian brands are re-inventing themselves.

It was famously said, that economies thrive when there is a greater focus on the ‘demand’ side rather than the ‘supply’ side and probably that will have to be true of India too. The problem with our country has been that for far too long we have tinkered with the supply side rather than worrying about spurring demand.

We have seen that brands that encourage consumer consumption are the ones that generally succeed. Jio proved to the world that Indians were willing to consumer tons of data provided they got it and it was value-priced. To call it predatory pricing would be insulting the Indian consumer who likes any other, has the right to a consumer at costs that are reasonable and not break the bank for the service provider either. 

Marketers need to realise that there is an inherent difference between profiting and profiteering: the former is built on avarice while the latter is built factoring market and consumer realities.

Another brand that is going through a remarkable transformation is Indian Hotels (the Taj Group). When a hospitality group decides to monetize and enhance consumer choices as also consumer experiences, you can feel assured that the management understands the dynamics of the consumer mindset and the trajectory of the market per se. When N Chandrasekaran took over as the Group Chairman of Tata Sons, he spoke about One Tata and that is assiduously being followed by Indian Hotels: to monetize unused guest houses; planters’ bungalows and even piggeries and convert them into value offerings is a remarkable step in providing multi-tiered experiences to various facets of consumer types. From Ama Trails to rapidly expanding Ginger is a strategic step in establishing a greater footprint across geographies and demographics.

More recently, Mahindra & Mahindra unveiled a leasing offering for their vehicles to consumers who wouldn’t have to bear the burden of excessive payouts in climates such as the ones we live in.

What is however very encouraging are the signs and actions of the Government as also the Reserve Bank of India. The present Governor of the RBI, Shaktikanta Das, has proved that you don’t need to be combative in order to achieve significant success and more than egos, what needs to be at play, is great sagacity. All of which he's shown with greater aplomb than some of his recent predecessors.

The only unsolicited advice to the Government would be to work towards sentiment re-calibration. 

Consumers buy in climes of happiness and not those which are mired in fear. We need to replace fear with affection and bitterness with joy. This needs to happen if we wish to seriously address the demand side issue. To many, this would be a simplistic argument but believe, it is not. It is what really impacts consumers: fear helps them conserve only because of mounting uncertainty.

India needs a new lease of happiness.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
made in india consumers reserve bank of india demand supply

Suhel Seth

The author is Managing Partner of Counselage

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