Sustainability and diversity in India

28th Oct 2019

India: How one of the world’s most populous nations approaches these topics

As the world pays closer attention to the wellbeing of both the planet and the people of all backgrounds that inhabit it, we shed a light on what sustainability and diversity mean in India. In this White Paper we explore further these key areas of focus, what they look like from a local perspective and how brands are responding to them.

Regardless of the type of product or service your company offers, the benefits of entering the Indian market are self-evident. The UN’s most recent data shows that the country is home to 1.37 billion of the world’s 7.7 billion inhabitants and covers a landmass around a third of the size of the United States. While a big part of the population still lives in poverty, the country’s economy has undergone profound changes in recent decades as an increasing proportion of the populace enters the middle classes. Recent estimates by McKinsey suggest that India’s consumer class could comprise 89 million households by 2025. Similarly, consumer spending is expected to grow from US$1.5 trillion in 2019 to US$6 trillion by 2030.

Moreover, the sheer size of India’s mega-cities means that many of these new consumers are easier to reach than ever. The largest city is Mumbai, with a population of 12.5 million, but there are over 50 urban areas that over 1 million Indians call home.

These factors and many others make this country an excellent target market, but companies seeking to carve out a niche for themselves in India must ensure that they understand the scale of the challenge that lies ahead.

Some of the very reasons that make this country an appealing target market also create difficulties for companies seeking to advertise and sell their products there. India’s vast geography and large population are dazzlingly diverse in terms of language, religion, culture and economics. Brands who fail to navigate through this complex landscape risk their message not having the desired impact on consumers or even – in the worst-case scenario – causing offence unintentionally.

Like all nations, India faces the threat of climate change and the prospect of dwindling supplies of key resources. To mitigate these risks, governments, citizens and private-sector companies will need to completely overhaul many aspects of the status quo, from public infrastructure to corporate business models. The country is certainly not alone in facing these challenges, but the hurdles for developing nations are even harder to overcome because they must be approached by a society in the midst of other, equally profound, changes.

In this White Paper, we will provide a broad overview of India’s advertising landscape, before taking a closer look at the issues of diversity and sustainability. We will consider a number of case studies of recent advertising campaigns run by brands that have tackled these topics in an effective and engaging way.

The Indian marketing/advertising sector is mature and thriving – became the world’s tenth largest advertising market in terms of ad spend in 2018. As such, brands wishing to promote their products may do so through many of the same channels that exist elsewhere.

If you are thinking of trying to break into this market, the good news is that the country’s consumer classes are immense and rapidly growing. Thanks to urbanisation and economic development in recent decades in India, the advertising market is a thriving one. However, without an awareness its culture, brands run the risk of lacking local relevance.

Climate change affects public health, especially in terms of its impact on air pollution and access to clean water. Brands that understand this context will be able to connect with viewers who have lived through these experiences. Additionally, when brands understand that there are a multitude of Indian identities, they can create successful campaigns that tap into local experiences and emotions on a national scale.

Read the Whitepaper

Read Whitepaper

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