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Simply South: Dynamic, wholesome brands catch fancy

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Simply South: Dynamic, wholesome brands catch fancy

How does the purchase behaviour of the South Indian male vary from that of the South Indian female? How is his interaction with everyday brands different from that of his counterparts in other parts of the country? What do South Indian women want from their brands and how are they different from women in the rest of the country?

The answers to these are just some of the many nuggets of information that are available to Rediffusion DY&R, which has undertaken a survey that gathers information on 1,375 brands from 3,000 consumers in eight cities across India based on the findings of the BAV.

The Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), as the research is known, is a proprietary Young and Rubicam strategic marketing tool, said to be the largest brand study in the world, implemented in over 44 countries and even finds mention in David Aaker's Building Strong Brands. In the words of Mr K. Subramanian, Director (Strategic Planning), Rediffusion DY&R, "The philosophy of the BAV is to be able to look at a brand closest to the way it is processed in the consumer's mind. The consumer, for example, will not look at an LG as a durables brand and a Nike as an apparel or footwear company. If the consumer does not slot them into categories, then it is only logical that marketers begin to view their brands outside the narrow confines of their categories. Hence the BAV asks consumers the exact same question for a whole host of brands including countries, celebrities and cities."

So what are the topmost brands for South Indian men and women, and why? To understand how these two audiences vary, the averages of the 48 attributes that the top 20 brands for both audiences were scored on were considered. Some brands scored very high on the parameters of Knowledge and Esteem but low on Differentiation. The brands at the very top are those that scored consistently high on Differentiation, Relevance, Esteem and Knowledge. While the male top 20 brands scored much higher on the attributes of High performance, Unapproachable and Independent, the women's were skewed towards attributes such as Quality, Value, Progressiveness, Stylish and Innovative.

While the Southern man looks to the brand as a source of distinctiveness to set him apart from the rest, he is also a stickler for performance. To woo this audience not only must brands profess a distinctive image, but also match up to it in terms of performance.

Southern women, on the other hand, seem to have higher expectations. The top 20 brands for them outscore the men's top 20 brands in terms of innovation, style and value.

On how the South Indian male is different from men in other regions, the survey showed that going by the average attribute scores of top 10 brands the Southern male seems satisfied with brands that are wholesome in nature. The others seem to be looking for an element of glitz. Hence it would seem that the South Indian is more at ease with his persona and need not rely as much as others on brands to add class to his personality.

The top 10 brands for men in Rest of India show a distinct skew and liking for attributes such as Upper class, Friendly and High quality. However, these attributes pale in comparison to their liking for Popularity, Prestige and Progressiveness.

On the other hand, the attribute which is most sought after in almost all brands among South Indian males is Health. This attribute has to have a positive impact on the brand, and the brand has to exude confidence. Other attributes that are highly regarded are Simplicity, Traditional values and Authenticity.

While other women are satisfied to stick with the tried and trusted, South Indian women seem to be looking for constant innovation and dynamism from their brands. Leadership and trust are really not enough; even age-old brands need to keep trying new things to maintain their leadership status.

All in all, this makes the South Indian woman a far more difficult consumer to attract and retain than her counterparts from other parts of the nation. Do we hear sighs of endorsement from the brand managers trying to keep up with this audience?


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