FCB Ulka has rolled out a study, Man Mood, a study that reads the Indian man. It was carried out across eight cities and three age groups of people. It included 27 workshops and 16 interactions that have revealed some of the following insights:
According to the report there were seven key learnings:
‘Sandwiched Generation – Lives responsibly but regrets it’
The 35+ segment sees itself as a sandwiched generation which has lived responsibly. They have lived their initial years according to the advice of their parents and now feel it is their duty to take care of their parents, which they perform reluctantly.
But in the bargain, they see themselves as cheated, since even as their parents had certainty of old age care, they are uncertain about their own children and now that they are finally adults, and earning well, their lives are now dictated by the needs, desires and dreams of their children, which has left them with very little time to live for themselves
‘You are only as good as the money you make’
The Indian man increasingly defines himself by his possessions rather than who he is. However this materialistic definition of self-worth means that that success is constantly shifting and seems ever elusive as both the list of items necessary to be seen as successful keeps increasing as does their associated cost.
‘Value of ‘Values’ is decreasing steadily’
Three out of four men express some level of dissatisfaction with their standard of living. Life has become a continuous climb to reach the ever elusive temple to Mammon. Anything which stands in the way of making this journey easier needs to be dismantled. This generation places very little store by ‘values’ and tends to instead swear by ‘practicality’. The worrying aspect is that they feel the need to ensure that children are brought up on a healthy dose of such practicality since good values may make it difficult to succeed.
‘Men share the responsibilities but women don’t share in the pressure’
The relationship between the husband and the wife has increasingly become a relationship of equals with both partners sharing and supporting the family. The more materialistic nature of the modern Indian society is also being manifested among women and the pressure of providing for the wants of the family is also being felt visibly by the man of the house.
The husband is also increasingly expected to contribute time towards the welfare of the household beyond just earning money, a fact which he is aware of but resents since he feels that since he brings home the income, he needs to be freed of the other aspects of taking care of the household, but he is being slowly but surely forced to take a more active role in household affairs.
‘The new convention of parenting – Children as assets to children as liabilities’
Children continue to be seen as the most precious gift but increasingly parents know that this gift comes with an expiry date. There is an increasing awareness that their role in the child’s life once it grows up and becomes independent may be limited, hence they are also preparing themselves financially for an independent existence. They see their duty as being limited to providing the best possible start for their child through the right education but increasingly expect children to shoulder the burden of expensive post-graduation degrees.
'Money is valued for what it can do rather than what it is'
The attitude to money perhaps is one of the biggest changes in the Indian consumer landscape. This generation does not today value money as an asset but rather as an enabler.
Accordingly the attitude to money is not of conservation but of optimal utilisation to achieve desires.
But money is also one of the biggest stressors for today’s consumers as expenses and inflation mount, estimating the correct amount of money for a better tomorrow is becoming tougher and tougher
'Vanity thy name is man'
The importance of grooming is being brought home to the Indian man empathically by a variety of factors and not least of which is Bollywood and television. There is a significant incidence of appearance anxiety today among the youth and young consumers, who easily ascribe a clear relationship between grooming and success.
The repertoire of grooming products used by men increases exponentially the lower you go down the age ladder. Interestingly in the less economically affluent segments, it is often the man who introduces newer branded cosmetics into the households, even as the woman of the house often continues to use traditional remedies.
The report concludes by saying that today’s men are an exciting demographic to target as they are becoming more open to spending and trying new things. However, the report also highlights a change in the nature of all relationships faced by men viz. their parents, spouses and children.
The report has been compiled by Sunil Shetty, head of strategic planning - FCB KL, Malaysia and Ruta Patel, head of strategic planning (Mumbai), FCB Ulka.