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Surbhi Shukla







Introduction Concept Aim Objective Methodology When In India Locating the target audience Current Market Scenario Consumer research Competitior Analysis Reaching taarget audience The beneficiaries Conclusion References

Word count with quotes/references: 3905 Word count without quotes/references: 3659



Introduction This research document is based on the study of the Indian fashion publication market and its behaviour in relation to international lifestyle brands and related print publications. It aims to explain why there is space and a need for a contemporary culture magazine in the Indian market and to subsequently identify a relevant and effective plan to launch and market such a publication to the young, knowledgeable and creatively inclined Indian audience.

Publication Concept The concept is to create a multi dimensional culture & lifestyle magazine aimed at the Indian youth that features contemporary Indian and international fashion, photography, cinema, music, art and literature; all conveyed in a publication that emphasises contemporary cultural aesthetic through sophisticated graphics and editorials with a unique tonality.

economic growth. The publication will feature content that lets the consumer explore their Indian roots while also providing a platform that delivers information about global cultural shifts. It aspires to make the consumer aware of their heritage as a global citizen in the contemporary world that is more closely knit than ever before because of the various media of communication.

The aim is to create a unique alternative publication that highlights the rich variety of life in a country like India which has grown to become a cultural hub and is in the midst of rapid social, political and

Through fulfilling these aims the publication brand offers to be a more inspiring read than its competitors.

Aim The document focuses on researching the differences in the approach in marketing strategies of international brands and lifestyle publications in India and across the world and study the subsequent reaction of the respective audiences. It also focuses on how international fashion & lifestyle print publications and brands strive to appeal to their audience and what they do differently in India due to the distinctly different tastes of the people in every part of the country. For instance, a person from the North-western state of Rajasthan would wear clothes that are a lot more colourful as opposed to a person from the Eastern state of West Bengal, who would tend towards their staple of cottons in whites, browns and reds; a person from Gujarat in

the West, would prefer intricate embroidery and detailing as opposed to a person from Kerala in the South, who would tend toward the simple silks. This document will also take into consideration the role of new media and its effect on the relevance of print publications, analyzing how publications have found a way to co-exist with the internet. How they have adapted to its overwhelming presence, popularity, shortcomings and gradually used it to reach out their existing audience and capturing new ones, this time globally and in the process predict what would most likely be the next step in effective marketing for the proposed publications.

Objectives Short term goals of the publication are to create awareness amongst potential consumers and establish a firm foothold by surrounding the audience with the help of various media; develop, actualise and pitch a reputation to the consumer as an independent publication for inspirational, emerging culture and talent conveyed with an innovative flair. Long-term goals are to develop a brand personality as an influential and multi-dimensional publication which serves as a platform for innovative new ideas; is known amongst its competitors and globally for its design aesthetic, informed, au courant and honest approach to events.

Methodology The target audience for the publication have been defined as 2Es and 2Fs (1) i.e. the males and female consumers that belong to the 18-25 age group. The primary aim of this project is to establish why there is a market for a culture & lifestyle publication for this age group in the Indian market; to gain an insight and wider understanding of the lifestyle publication market in India and to subsequently frame a marketing plan for it by studying strategies of international luxury brands & publications in India, recognising the effective from the ineffective. A series of primary and secondary research has been carried out amongst participants who were potential consumers of the proposed publication to achieve information as to how they feel about the publications available in the market and whether or not they thought there is a need for a cultural publication that is consciously crafted for the artistic aspirations of the youth in India.

Primary Research: • • • •

Online Surveys Questionnaires Focus Groups Competitor Analysis

The research produces information regarding contemplative opinions of potential consumers, including employees of an international lifestyle magazine; their views on the current nature of publications in the Indian market, along with their reading habits and thoughts on marketing strategies of lifestyle brands and publications.

Secondary Research: Secondary research information has been collected from: • Books • Mintel • Articles • Indian Readership Survey (IRS)

When In India

India is a sprawling and extremely diverse country of over 1.2 billion people that speak 22 different languages in several hundred dialects, follow different religions and celebrate hundreds of different festivals. As a result, each and every one of them has different tastes, likes and dislikes. Once known as ‘The Golden Bird’, its culture has been influenced by multiples of different empires that have come and gone; the most recent being the most apparent; the Mogul and the British Empires. It is one of the only countries in the world that holds its own heritage in high esteem along with those that have influenced it. India is the 9th largest economy in the world, the 4th largest by purchasing power and also has the largest growing population of millionaires. About 200 Million People comprise the middle class,

who have considerable spending power and disposable income to spend on non essentials, causing the change in perception of the country as a land of poverty within and outside the country. Marketing a culture & lifestyle publication to such a huge and varied audience of varied tastes is a difficult task. This research document will try to determine the common factors that influence the purchasing habits of consumers with regard to lifestyle publications and luxury products in different regions of India, also how the potential consumers of the proposed publications react to marketing approaches of Indian and international products and lifestyle publications.

Indian Metropolitan Cities

Locating the Target Audience

The market for a culture and lifestyle publication dominantly exists in metropolitan cities and relatively smaller towns. 7% of India’s population resides in metropolitan towns and 48% of the cities’ population belongs to the 18-25 age groups. The populace of cities consist of people that have migrated from different parts of the country and the world, because of better opportunities in employment and education, making the cities a hub for culture. The Fast paced nature of cities also leads to formation of new trends in design, be it in fashion, art,or literature, theatre and music. This is especially the case in New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai, which are the most populous metropolitan cities in India. The fusion of local culture can be seen alongside the British and Mogul influences. Their presence is very apparent in daily life in the verbal mean of communication, nearly 97% of the population of the cities in India can communicate in English; the means of daily public transport in various cities and towns had their

foundations laid during the British rule; the Mogul and British influences are apparent even in the architectural styles of heritage buildings. The populace of cities is better educated and hence more appreciative of different cultures. Due to the employment opportunities of a city they have a higher standard of living and access to a disposable income. In synchronisation with that, the youth of modern India are a proud and fervent blend of contemporary global and Indian culture, making them the befitting audience for a publication focusing on culture because of their desire to be well informed and abreast with the times. This obstacle has been faced, not only by publications, but also international brands that struggle to create a firm hold in India. The issue of customisation of a global brand to the Indian needs and aesthetic is a vital selling point in the Indian market.

Current Market Scenario As of November 2011, the Indian fashion Industry was worth GBP 337 million, which is very humble if it is to be compared to its international counterparts, especially in Europe and America. With the first ever Indian fashion week having taken place only in the autumn of 2000 in New Delhi, the fashion industry in India is still in its nascent stage but it is growing fast. This kind of an environment is conducive to the growth of print publications surrounding fashion, lifestyle and culture. The print media in India is growing at 11 per cent every year; however, it is still a largely unexplored territory that is a traditionalist by nature with a majority of publications in the contemporary market focussing on the Hindi cinema, or ‘Bollywood’, that the country’s vast population collectively holds dear. Only a few magazines, such as Femina, the Indian editions of VOGUE, GQ, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar dominate the market in the lifestyle publication category which like their international editions, are targeted at men and women that belong to an older demographic of the 25-50 age group. “In India, the magazine industry today suffers from low investments, which in turn results in low revenues and therefore, low performance.” Says Oona Dhabar, Marketing Director at Condé Nast India.

Femina, a joint venture of The Times Group and BBC Worldwide holds the monopoly in the lifestyle magazine sector amongst Indian women since 1952 and remains to be in the top ten English lifestyle magazines in India according to the 3rd quarter (April – July) of the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) in 2011. Femina’s popularity continues even after the arrival of Condé Nast’s 17th edition to its heavyweight publication, VOGUE, which scarcely managed to secure a place in the top 50. Both magazines recognise their audience to be contemporary women of affluent households. When the reader’s were surveyed, they responded by saying that even though VOGUE met issues of the modern woman in areas of fashion and lifestyle, their editorials, unlike that of Femina, did not quite focus on the issues of the contemporary working women that also belong to affluent households and lead dual lives, shuffling their domestic and professional responsibilities. The lack in adjustment of the editorial content of the globally phenomenal publication, VOGUE according to the lifestyle of the affluent working Indian woman, keeps the publication from being at the forefront of magazine culture in its category. This obstacle has been faced, not only by publications, but also international brands that struggle to create a firm hold in India. The issue of customisation of a global brand to the Indian needs and aesthetic is a vital selling point in the Indian market.

Louis Vuitton, when entered into the Indian market in 2004, created ostentatious advertising using the same collections as they did in Europe and America to attract the old money elite, which proved not to be an effective marketing strategy. Reason being, the well travelled nature and brand consciousness of the consumers they targeted. This audience found the same products they sold at the brand’s Indian store in their store abroad at a more competitive price along with better services. On the other hand, the newly affluent having no familiarity or prior knowledge about the brand and its heritage, shied away, failing to make them new customers. Having realised this, Louis Vuitton has since localised their marketing strategies in India, customising their collections targeted for the Indian audience and sold specifically in India alongside their international collections. They conceptualised special collections taking inspiration from major Indian festivals like Diwali, Holi etc. In 2010, the brand also created their interpretation of the traditional Indian dress, the Sari, by re-editing pieces from their Spring/Summer (2010) and Autumn/Winter (2010) collection by using vintage saris outsourced from different cities in India. The brand accentuated this marketing tactic by taking it forward with their visual merchandising for the collection, the ‘Festival of lights’ window, which was used in their stores in Europe as well.

Hermes, in October 2011, like Louis Vuitton, launched a range of limited edition saris, specifically targeting the Indian market. Mont Blanc, Christian Dior amongst many others also have regionalised their marketing strategies in India.

Canali, the Italian menswear company in their Spring Summer 2012 collection showcased pieces like silk blended blazers, casual jackets, velvet sport jackets, checked suits and silk scarves that took cues from an Indian colour palette, fabrics and prints.

Chanel were the most recent to join the list of high end brands trying to woo the Indian audience with their pre-fall (2012) Chanel Metiers D’art, Paris to Bombay Collection, which took inspiration from the Indian subcontinent and its traditional attires such as the Salwar Kameez, tailored Raj coats and Churidar Trousers’ paired with the odd Chanel tweed jacket, it was a collection fit for royalty. Even with the immense influence of northern Indian styles in the collection and the runway show, it stayed true to Chanel’s brand personality.

Consumer Research Although varied, Indian traditional culture was the focal unique selling point of marketing to the country’s audience. In the case of publications, it is however a little different. In the postmodern society of India, much like its counterparts in Europe and America, culture is redefined by the contemporary socio-economic environment and its domino effects; echoes of which can be seen in art, music, cinema, literature and fashion. This induces a vital need and environment for publications documenting and emphasising on current social and design issues. Considering the fact that the market for luxury lifestyle publications in India has flourished in the past decade and continues to grow, the market for youth culture magazines covering shifts in culture and aesthetic has been largely ignored, creating a vacuum in the marketplace in this category. Survey and questionnaire results concluded that 54.2% of the surveyed target audience were of the opinion that there weren’t any publications in the market which were consciously aimed at them. Another subject raised in the focus group discussion brought to focus the marketing strategies of various fashion & lifestyle publications that use Bollywood’s popularity as a tool to attract readership in India. Major international fashion publications use Indian actors and actresses on a majority of their front covers and include more editorials about the commercial film industry; changing the format of content they follow in their various editions around the world and deviating from the overall brand personality when compared with their editions abroad. Loyal consumers of the brand even other than those who are voracious readers of foreign editions noticed this tweak to the Indian edition and it was widely not received as a positive adjustment. This, in the opinion of the focus group participants was a clichéd and thus a patronising marketing move towards its readers. They were also of the opinion that it blurred the publication’s brand image as a credible fashion and lifestyle magazine. “when a brand is trying to sell to me, it’s important that the commodity I’m buying is adjusted to my aesthetic, but not so much so that the brand loses its personality. Because it is the brand that i was initially attracted to.” Said participant 5 of focus group. Another participant was of the profound thought that modern culture was largely ignored as the Indian film industry overshadowed it by occupying print space in publications which would otherwise be apportioned to innovative and emerging talent and cultural fields. Participant 2 said, “While bollywood is great, in my opinion, Vogue is a fashion magazine. The Indian fashion industry is doing quite well; I don’t think anything should over shadow that. It’s a very patronising attitude towards the audience.”

Competitor Analysis As previously established, there is a gap in the category of the proposed publication, so there would not likely be any direct competition from a magazine offering similar content in the Indian market. Although, Lifestyle publications that are aimed at aimed at a higher age group (25-50) like the Indian publication, Femina, the Indian editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, L’officiel, Grazia, Marie Claire that are aimed at women; GQ, Man’s World, M in the men’s lifestyle category would serve as indirect competition. Reason being, Focus group discussions held with participants that, aged between 1825 years of age found that the fashion and lifestyle publications that are available in the market are aimed at a demographic that is much older and hence are irrelevant to them, however, they still purchase them due to their desire to be in the know and there being no availability in the market of publications aimed at their demographic. While the publication’s international status as a brand known for its design aesthetic was the secondary factor. “I‘m subscribed to GQ. I really like it; it covers all of my areas of interest. The articles are humourous, even the open letter at the end. Although I know that its aimed at a demographic older than mine, the fashion editorials feature things I cannot afford, so I I’d like to see something that’s for me and my peer that goes to university.” Said person 3. International magazine would be indirect competitors as few of the proposed publication’s target audience are subscribed to international lifestyle and culture magazines like Wonderland, Dazed & Confused, V amongst a few others of the category. “I personally feel very engaged with a magazine like wonderland, even though its aimed at the British audience. I’m really interested in fashion from around the world and consuming different media, especially from different cultures, in my opinion is very important.” Said person 5. Aside from publications, internet blog sites and websites like tumblr and the cool hunter, that encompass the areas of contemporary design, fashion, art, photography, literature and music would also be considered competition with regards to conveying information as they are inexpensive means of retrieving information and are also easily accessible.

Reaching the Target Audience While the previous centuries had the industrial revolution, advancements in travel and the journey to the moon, the age today is that of the digital, of conversations that are more engaging and creative than ever. Publications today, look to move beyond the printed page and encompass a range of media so as to surround the reader and create awareness of its multi-dimensional brand through, websites, pages on social networking sites, smart-phone applications and billboard advertisements amongst many others. The audience to whom the publication is pitched at is a culturally involved urban consumer who is well acquainted with technology and frequents the internet. The new media serves as an excellent medium to initiate a two-sided conversation, between a brand and its consumers as it helps to engage the consumer with a brand while reaching out to potential audience, which makes them feel like a part of the publication’s brand which is essential to generate brand loyalty. This aspect of marketing is just as applicable to publications as it is to brands that offer products. Research through Focus groups, and questionnaires including potential audience established that social networking sites such as Facebook and twitter remain to be the most common and established ground for communicating with a target market. It is also the most cost effective way for publications to create brand awareness and find new customers. Person 3 said, “I follow the twitter and Facebook pages of magazines so I’m updated of the contents, sometimes that pushes me to buy it and sometimes I just flip through and see if the content is of interest to me.”

All lifestyle publications, Indian and International use their Facebook and twitter pages to update their audience about features of their forthcoming issues or trivia about up and coming artists, musicians, etc. to keep the interest of the audiences in between issues. Few publications such as i-D, the British style and culture magazine still use MySpace. Social networking websites, in the present day are the most important part of launching, developing and marketing any kind of product as it is the easiest and the most inexpensive way to communicate with the target audience and get valuable feedback. Websites of print publications also play the most vital role in marketing as they are the only platform apart from the publication itself that can represent the aesthetic and ideology accurately, as it is designed from the foundation; as opposed to its pages on social networking websites that constrain expression within it’s framework. Closely following the Social networking sites and websites are smartphone applications which keeps the audience updated with the publication on the go. The marketing strategy of the proposed publication aims to create a bond between the consumer and the publication by surrounding them in more dimensions than only the printed publication and through striking conversations using the new media, making the consumers views appreciated. The communication through the various media will make the consumer relate with the publication and its ideology which is vital in making a space in their mind and striking the emotion of loyalty in the process.

The Beneficiaries The presence of such a publication in the Indian market would contribute largely to the fashion industry in India as it would serve as a platform and help Indian and international talents receive appropriate exposure towards their potential audience in the country, further strengthening the bond between Indian cultural societies with their international counterparts. The publication, like others will feature certain brands, increasing the local Indian audience’s familiarity with these certain brands and their ideologies, through providing knowledge about them. This will encourages sales; boosting the retail arena which calls for much needed investment of foreign brand entities and companies into the Indian market which is also seeing the effects of the global economic recession.

The publication would also create employment opportunities for the imaginative and artistic youth in India which is are otherwise limited, giving the creative industry in India a much needed encouragement. The print and publication market in India would benefit the most from the actualisation of the proposed publication. According to the statistics calculated in November 2011, the worth of the Indian publishing and printing industry is estimated to be of $1.9 billion and $ 25 billion (USD) respectively. The actualisation of the proposed publication would benefit this industry the most; Reason for this being, as mentioned before, the traditionalist Indian lifestyle publication market has no publications available for the creatively inclined Indian youth. This would form the foundation and pave the way for future publications, generating revenue in the process.

Conclusion To conclude, the research and study of the behaviour of the Indian lifestyle publication market, it is apparent that the proposed publication is an untraditional new breed of magazine within the Indian market and thus will require new approach in reaching out to its audience and keep evolving as a publication with regard to content and marketing as all publications do to remain relevant and yet remain true to its ideology. It will bring about a change in the publication industry, paving way for uninhibited publications that dig deeper

and explore areas in design and culture in an atypical manner, because, as established, there is no room for off the shelf thinking. The publication will accentuate and enhance contemporary and mark the change in its perception. Through primary and secondary research, this document has explored the market to establish that there is most certainly a need for a culture centric publication amongst the Indian youth.

References in Text

Asha Kasbekar (2006). Pop culture India!: media, arts, and lifestyle, ABC-CLIO A. Shameem (2009). New Media Marketing, India: Excel books Marieke K de Mooij (2010). Consumer behavior and culture : consequences for global marketing and advertising, iNDIA, Sage Publications, Inc (second EDITION) Sharif D. Rangnekar (2004). Realising Brand India. India: Rupa.)



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