#UnYoung #wolfSIGHTS

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50+ % of India is going to be under or just about 25. India is one of the youngest countries in the world.

What are the socio-cultural ramifications for those who don’t fit into this bracket of the most desirable/marketed demographic definition?.

Predominantly Urban India, but increasingly semi-urban & rural India seems to be afflicted with diseases of “Growing younger” & “Staying Young”. Have been witness to this during #stratalogues 2013.

50 yr olds trying to discover the elixir of jeans, anti-ageing creams and behaving young – rather than just feeling naturally “ageless” are premiumised, romanced & communicated.

Hey! looking & feeling old is the new social-taboo. Urban-Taboo!

40 is the new prime of youth according to Cosmo-magazines!

Why define feeling with age? Why imprison ageing with a demographic mindset?!

If you apply the famous disruption philosophy…is #StayingYoung the new convention?!. Is #UnYoung the new disruption?.

Europe & other geographies seem to be held at ransom for greying…so what’s wrong with greying?!.

Where is the place for the really old, while the “relatively old – mid 30’s to mid- 40’s ppl are still excused from the accusation of being tagged too old” – they make for a high disposable income, mid-life criss afflicted prime-marketing TG.

The premium on #WisdomOfGrey is lost on this world. Indian cities are turning into Roman arenas where the privileged old are the only ones who can afford the spectre of watching the instigated young war-it-out.

As the cosmopolitans breed the need for young, the old will migrate away. As the young migrate to cities, the old stay back in towns & villages…

The dissemination of the filial social-architecture of India & the abundance of the “Baghban phenomenon’ (elders bereft of the support of the youth of their kin) will result in ageing middle-towns!… Leading to growth of business categories in security for the elders, medical home care for elders , old age homes for the elderly rich– further propleled by  the need of the criminalisation of the youth who stay back in smaller towns.

Security for the middle-town & the reverse-migrant rich old will sadly be a huge business-spawning need,

The rising need for the MCYS – Singapore sponsored award winning “filial Piety” kind of communication in India & Larger Asia too can be safely predicted. Government sponsored “Social Care Communication” will soon be a sad reality.

Rise in the segment of “green-seeking” retired urban warriors, Like-minded friend spawned retiring gated communities in India will be another business opportunity.

But yet the emotional need of the old & the aged to harvest their wisdom for the benefit of the young will be left unfulfilled.

Can we spur social-organizations to broker a marriage between the orphans of India and the listless middle-town/reverse-migratory aged of India and satiate a mutual need of the old seeking a venue to vent their wisdom and the young exhibiting a sponge for a source of wisdom?. Who will champion the much needed social-engineering?.

All this while, those classified as not-exactly-young in urban India will suitably suffer from capitalistism-propagated need to struggle against the natural instinct to age. We as an Asian collectively will suffer to stay young.

Everyday women shall look at themselves in the mirror and yearn for botox, staying slim and being desireable as per conventions, Everyday men will regret the prosperity of their paunches. Energy drinks consumption will rise, the not so young shall punish their life-rich bodies to behave young in the night bars (while the young abandon these places for becoming too uncley & aunty’ish joints).

Everyday the not-so-young will invent new excuses for self as well their august social-entourages to find a way to stay at home and not push the debaucherous cinderella timelines.

Once in a while they will secretly whisper to their close confidants that they really dont like to “pardy all night” and would rather lounge.

The rising convention of #StayYoung, will give birth to a new age disruption of being #UnYoung.

This new phenomenon will spawn a new urban tradition of being comfortable with the ageing process.

Not punishing yourself to be the air-guitar strumming, pub-hopping, crotch-hugging jeans clad not-so-young youth.

The next wave of idea-based businesses will arise out of catering to & easing the socio-cultural pressure for these relatively young and not so young consumers (mind you with a high disposable income).

#UnYoung will be the premium along with #PreimumOfGrey in this young Asia.

Fill a room predominantly with youngsters, brands preaching youth and presto! You have a convention being set-up to be broken!

Here’s a strategic instigation for brands to liberate the relatively young and the gracefully ageing from the tyranny of capitalism enforced youth!

#UnYoung possibly is the blue Ocean business opportunity in a red ocean of youth.

Interesting times in India & parts of younger Asia ;)


#UnYoung could be a huge liberation that a high-disposable income TG – who are the products of an erstwhile scarcity economy truly seek :D


Consumer Comics: The New Father of the Bride

Wolfzhowl Consumer Comics

The rise of the new age daughter has given birth to a new age father of the bride.

Even until a few years ago, the Indian father of the bride used to be the ever cautious, timid and subservient father – always in fear of & displaying reverence towards the  daughter’s in-laws. He would over- pamper and over-indulge the son-in-law, and let himself be taken for granted by the daughter’s new family.

Today however, there is an emergence of a new kind of confident, seeking to be on equal-footing, assertive and firm father of the bride.

Wolfzhowl Consumer Comics - father of the bride - transformation

3 major behavior changes that have triggered this change in the Indian mindset?

  1. The New Age wealth creators are bringing up their girl children with confidence, liberal thinking and self-reliance as key values. When these new age women blossom into the age of marriage, their self-confidence reinforces the confidence of the fathers.
  2. New Age daughters (even from the middle classes) who are confident, self reliant, capable and pursuing viable careers, are picking new age husbands who are more broad minded – responsibility & work sharing. They seek more casual & friendly relationships – rather than stereotypical age old relationships.
  3. & yes there is the rise of the new age son-in-law as well to give due credit to men.

But the phenomenon is majorly being driven by the first 2 factors, ably aided by the 3rd.

How does the rise of the new age father of the bride impact categories & brands – Pre & During the wedding and Post the wedding?

Pre & During the wedding:

New Behavior 1: Daughter is gifted not “stree dhan”, but indulgent (non-imprisoned in the locker) valuables.  Daughter is gifted independence & confidence & not dependence & conformity.

Categories Impacted: Bridal jewelry, increase in share of everyday jewelry, Personal Fixed Deposits / financial tools (instead of cash ), personal electronics (gadgets and devices), personal automobiles, etc.

New Behavior 2: Daughter’s Marriage ≠ Debts or Depleted Retirement Fund for father of the bride .  Gifting is focused  not only on groom’s side, but also on bride’s side now.

Categories Impacted: Non-gifting of major assets – e.g. apartment, automobile, etc. (Intention is to not spoil the groom / groom side by excess pampering from the beginning, rather let them earn these gifts with good behavior post marriage, i.e. if the bride’s family is well-to-do).

Getting de-burdened from groom-side gifting leaves more wallet-share to indulge own family. Hence we see the rise in spends on: Employing wedding planners (to give the bride her dream wedding), the bride’s outfits, jewelry, make-up, photography, etc., the bride’s parents and immediate family’s clothes, jewelry, etc.

Also on better accommodation for bride’s side (hotel bookings, travel bookings, etc.)

Post the wedding:

New Behavior 1: Gifting the daughter & the couple more. Lesser to the groom’s family. (Post-marriage gifting a choice & not a burdening compulsion)

Categories Impacted:

For the Daughter: Fashion, luxury, etc. for the daughter (indulging her dreams rather than her needs).

For the Couple: Holiday experiences, apartment, etc. (gifting intimacy for the couple or escape / distance from the in-laws).

New Behavior 2: A  more relaxed, indulgent lifestyle post daughter’s marriage.  There is a rise in spending on self & spouse.

Categories Impacted: Holidays, automobiles, consumer durables, fashion and apparels, more frequent renovation / refurbishing of house, club memberships, etc.

New Behavior 3: With the increased desire for indulgence, there is a noticeable increase in risk appetite as well as the need for quicker wealth multiplication to indulge more.

Categories Impacted: Mutual funds will become more a part of active financial portfolio (might be more open for short term higher earning, higher risk mutual funds), insurance might be in the form of ULIP, acquiring properties (Holiday properties like farm houses, etc., and also flats / apartments which they can rent out), etc.

Note: These category implications are SEC agnostic and some truths could be relevant to the middle class segments while some could be relevant to the rich class Indians.

A few strategic instigations for certain categories, brought alive:

Business opportunity 1: Pre-wedding Scenario

Wolfzhowl Consumer comics - Father of the bride 1

Gold was often the choice of jewelry for the daughter’s wedding. Gold shines yet is malleable (adjusting – like the daughter is told to adjust in her new family). Gold is the metal of investment & wisdom (that was expected of the daughter – to be wise with her new family’s money).

In this changed scenario, along with gold – a diamond can give a message to the daughter to not take any unnecessary exploitation/pressure. To  be as tough, to shine as individualistically and to indulge in her own happiness as well (and not just adjust & sacrifice).

Business opportunity 2: Pre/Post-marriage Scenario

Wolfzhowl Consumer Comics - Father of the bride 2

The older generation father of the bride used to be cautious with money, even after marrying-off the daughter. ‘My daughter’s marriage is just the beginning of a new set of financial & emotional responsibilities for me. Maybe my son-in-law will require money, birth of a grand child, gifting to her in-laws on festivities etc;’

The new age father of the bride however indulges & feels that the time has come for his second youth. “Main toh apne sab doston ko dekhta hoon na… jinke bete hain… bacchon ki shaadi ke baad bhi koi na koi tension… kisi ko bahu ki… kisi ko business ki… is liye main sab ko kehta hun… bhai betiyaan acchi hoti hain… bete jaisa daamaad le aati hain aur koi tension bhi nahi rehta. Hum toh ab zyaada enjoy karte hain… who log holiday bhi plan karte hain toh beta ya bahu ‘kyon’ pooch hi lete hain… hum toh ekdum free birds hain…”

In the India Vs Bharat dichotomies, every truth has a contrary truth…equally true. Hence India & Bharat are also seeing the emergence of a new mindset, borne by tectonic shifts in gender liberation, gender equations and the after-effects of a liberalized economy.

In this case, lets raise a toast to the new age bride & more specifically the new age father of the bride. Here’s to hoping there are more such risings for mutual & social profitability.

Special Mention: Illustrations by Rohit Keluskar – An NID graduate (National Institute of Design), graphic designer/illustrator based out of Mumbai.

Facebook: Winning in Semi-Urban / Rural India

Facebook is a platform which is getting adopted in India with voracious appetite. Announcement of internet.org etc; only showcases how hungry platforms are to become the default window to the world for Indians.

However there are socio-cultural behaviors which impede this adoption and most importantly restrict active participation in semi-urban & rural India. #stratalogues 2013.

Social media in semi-urban & rural India – even among those adopted is a consumption platform and not a sharing/participation platform. This makes the platform itself less sticky for these users and also lower participation makes it a non-engagement /non-interaction medium, making it less attractive for marketers to deploy it for targeting their semi-urban/rural users. #wolfSIGHTS

This presentation aims to instigate Facebook to adopt certain measures which shall enable it to increase more active participation rather than passive consumption amongst its semi-urban & rural user base in India.

Note: This strategy deck has been crafted as one of the 5 thought-pieces for “The Howl” #TheHowl is a strategic instigation letter shared with marketers & other partners of @wolfzhowl every full moon.

If you want to be part of the mailing list, please write to us at intelligence@wolfzhowl.com

Successive Cricket World Cup Wins and Its Effect on the Psyche of India

Successive world cup wins and effect on Indian psyche

Hurrah! semi-finalists India!! #CWC15 #INDvsBan #WontGiveItBack…

Cricket in India is indeed a religion and is the biggest behaviour change phenomenon..read this lovely blog if you want to understand cricket & India better http://www.sumit4all.com/cricket/how-cricket-unites-india#sthash.QkPWbs8o.dpbs

NOW, in all the celebrations of reaching the semi-final, let’s pause to congratulate Bangladesh, for their journey and also the tough f(r)ight they gave us! As a passionate cricket fan, I was worried for an hour or so there. Let’s not forget to be humble & gracious in our victory! Not because we are the big brothers – but out of respect for a respectful challenger brand – like how HUL respected Cavin Kare in its hey day with KBCK (Kaun Banega Chik Ka Kaatil) over Fair & Lovely! We should not be giving Bangladesh its respect, they have earned it & demanded it from the entire world by the merit of their performance!

But back to the main thing “what does it mean to win the World Cup in a row” for India!! “In a row / successively”: is the operational phrase here.

In 1983, in an economically pre-liberalised India, under the Nehruvian socialistic approach, India was desperately seeking hope. India was seeking for a cute-acceptance in the world ( “hey look at me, am not just another 3rd world country” ), it wanted to create space in world’s TOM beyond being the land of Maharajah’s, Snake Charmers and the land that Briton brought civilisation to (bearing the White Man’s Burden – ha ha ha). India needed contextual-hope.

Then post the brilliance of Gavaskar, amidst the brilliance of Tendulkar came “dada” Sourav Ganguly. In a conformist, communal (by society & not by its political approach) India which prayed, celebrated and still does – celebrate individual Gods and “One above the rest”, Sourav Dada Ganguly taught India what passion, aggression and team spirit was. Sourav (Dada) represented a new India which was breaking away from the hierarchical babudom – a British IAS system seeded deeply into the Indian DNA! (A complete article can be written about the new laws of leadership that Sourav Ganguly taught India – but maybe for later).

Sourav represented an India, which was new-age aggressive, wanting to not bow and be gracious only anymore, but to be taken seriously (even if it was at the cost of its brahminical elegance & restraint). But he had to fight a babu system, the stupid coach and the war between Jagmohan Dalmiya & IAS Bindra. But he stood for the first time in India for “meritocracy & talent Vs experience & hierarchy”. In a way it was the harbinger of calling your boss by name and being your boss’s team mate and watching his back rather than being a disciple at his altar!

Sachin, Dravid, Kumble – legends in their own right, came and went as captains – but it was a Dhoni who came into his own and truly took dada’s legacy forward (the way it deserved).

By the time Ganguly sat on the throne of India’s mass-pop culture, India was liberated by Mr. P.V Narashimha Rao (always forgotten by the history created by the residual Gandhi family) ably backed by Mr.Manmohan Singh almost a decade ago. An economically liberated India if plotted on Maslow’s hierarchy was looking for status at the world stage and not just love. Loud, brave, buoyant legacy left behind by dada (which was needed to break the cacophony of the conformist clutter & the obsessive celebration of individual Gods) was truly taken ahead by Dhoni – the calm, yet defiant, the rebel with a cause – Dhoni!!

When India won the 2011 WC – it was a way to state its claim on the world stage (the IT based knowledge economy, the young population boom, the capitalistic & consumeristic aggression were waiting to be celebrated again – to assert its new status to the world).

T20WC win confirmed to India its own irreverence (the format & the tone perfect semiotics of irreverence),WC2011 represented a strong play for its individualistic identity (Unlike 1983 – which represented sweet/cute hope), Champions trophy via Dhoni represented the discipline needed to be considered seriously.

Precisely that! The need to feel consistent in its global presence & merit! But the India now is focussed on telling the world that it is here to stay, its not a mere flash in the global economic/socio-cultural pan!!

As a behaviour strategist, I have to admit that brand India is brilliantly endowed with being an assertive brilliant challenger brand (to China to the west, etc;). We love the flashes of brilliance that we display all-round to remind the world of the brightness we are capable of and reminding the world that we deserve our place in the global Sun.

But till now, we have always been weak & have been excusing ourselves from the responsibility, commitment and stability of being part of global leadership! Happy & convenient to be the bright challengers and too afraid to be the assertive leaders with the responsibility of consistent performance and the ruthlessness & discipline that true consistency demands.

Dhoni as the high priest of the Indian Social-psyche / religion represents a minority part of India, which compels change in the entire psyche of India.

A leadership-apologetic, power-shamed, happy to be celebrating the righteousness of the challenger brand status, India will experience a great psyche-change if India were to win its 2nd world cup in a row. “With great power comes great responsibility” India is both ready for it and celebrate it jingoistically but at the same time as a society resent the claustrophobia that consistency shall set on its wonderfully liberating cacophony!

India is truly an Idea of being free, and hence the dichotomy core to the Idea of India shall continue! ‘Win’ – is a responsibility of discipline enforced on its mass psyche and ‘lose’ is a celebration & re-confirmation of its challenger status…the Idea behind India cannot be ignored anymore!!

Wake-up world!! Possibly the world’s largest democracy is having fun with itself and its wonderful plurality!!

Cricket as a “mirror of Indian psyche”..true that!!

…wolfz’OUT!! log in later!!

Strategic Dissonance @ Play in Indian Politics

Indian politics & the strategy at play (re-structuring of the past as a way to ensure a strong future foot hold):

While a lot has been written about the communication, branding and campaign skills of our Prime Minister Modi, what I also see at play is a legacy dissonance strategy. Since Independence India has only seen the Gandhi family leading the nation.

Hence contextually, the average Indian associates Indian governance with Gandhi, Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi/Manmohan Singh. Lal Bahadur Shahstri is occasionally remembered, PV Narasimha Rao all but washed away from memory.

If you check with any Indian below 25 years of age, they will hardly remember LBS, PV and most definitely not VP Singh & others.

Congress/Gandhi name is synonymous with governance and owns TOM & aided recall. Any other party after its 1st term has to face incumbency in India. However, in the face of concerns about that government, the average voter seeks security & comfort in the Gandhi name and hence nostalgia is a huge threat for any non-congress party.

For the Indian voter…

“Return to default settings” = elect a Gandhi’s led government.

Brands & branding experts would love to have this kind of strategic muscle. It is a strategic dream, not even realised in the lifetime of a brand usually.

Enter Modi, large mandate…total control in decades. While “culturally progressive & economically aggressive” have been his winning mantras and he has been busy brandishing economic agendas and social agendas…for the first time ever, we see strategic dissonance at play.

The Strategic dissonance steps:

(1) The father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi is left completely untouched. In the branding hierarchy he is higher than Nehru, hence a direct association with the original source is being crafted. Mahatma Gandhi & Gandhi political family name are different is being subtly pushed. Also it makes sense to leverage the ahimsa global image of the Mahatma.

(2) Subtle shadows are being cast over chacha Nehru (via comparisons of somebody else could have possibly been a better 1st PM of India – however taking great care not to go beyond that and accuse in any direct fashion).

(3) Alternate political giants from India’s past are being resurrected and built in the public eye & the mind, those whose legacy percolates down to the BJP more than to the congress. Hence constructing an alternative narrative of the past. Sardar Patel, JP Narayan etc; are just some of the past-stars being deployed for this cause. We also see this being done at a regional/ethnic level with Veer Savarkar being another example. AM sure this is just the beginning.

(4) There is a huge trend of re-discovering our buried or erased past that is happening at a people-level. The British have manipulated our history and attacked our culture, making us feel it is inferior are some of the opinions floating around. Immediately post-independence, the average India was hungry for survival, progress and status. If we map India on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, after 20 years of economic liberalization – a good chunk of Indians have reached ‘status’ and are now looking for ‘self-actualization’. While a larger chunk are seeking status at an identity level. Status for some & self-actualization for others seems to start with the discovery / re-discovery of self. Re-discovery of self usually starts with the examination of the past (collective & individual) and India currently is enamored with re-discovery of its past…with a strong bias towards the glory part of it (with strong rejection of anything which is not so good/great about it). India is in search of an Identity again. Hence the change in syllabus, the re-discovery of leaders from the past etc’ will be consumed with a voracious appetite. Hence the timing for this strategic dissonance creation, could not have been more apt.

(5) In this context, if we do a brand mapping based on people perceptions, the Congress shall definitely not have strong foot print in cultural & local heritage of India. BJP has a much larger footprint. Congress is seen as a party with more western values and hence rediscovery of past heritage cannot be owned by them as powerfully as by the BJP.

Hence for the first time since the history of the colonially independent India, a mammoth strategic initiative to create dissonance with the Gandhi family name to ensure a strong alternate narrative of our history is under-foot.

Since the Nehru family appropriated the name “Gandhi” for themselves and hence superbly activated their brand core with the imagery of the father of the nation and gave themselves an indomitable advantage…there is a counter strategic initiative at play.

As a strategist, the play & the counter play are simply breath taking to observe. Behavior change practitioners such as me working on brands feel dwarfed at the richness, depth and scale of this play and in a way are envious of the strategists who get to do these kind of plays.

Brand & consumer strategy seems “mere”, compared to the sheer pleasure of crafting something at this level. Tsk!

Well, I am neither for the Congress or the BJP in this instance & this is purely a piece from a Strategic Planner observing and admiring the strategic play and nothing else.

For the love of finding patterns, connecting the dots and discovering larger strategic plays in motion…for interesting times ahead.

kalyan@wolfzhowl.com, +91 9167471115


Teaching the Teacher: A Business Opportunity in the Digital Age

Amongst many a impact that the digital revolution has made, one that we cannot miss out on is the impact it had on education. While digital & education often mean e-books, e-learning, e-MBA courses etc; – this is an interesting perspective on the impact it had on teachers themselves and thereby a strategic provocation on how there is a fantastic business opportunity there to be leveraged.

Teaching The Teacher: A business opportunity in the DIgital age