NEW DELHI : Terry Peigh, managing director (MD) of Interpublic Group (IPG), was in India recently to unveil its proprietary consumer study New consumers, new war, new rules.

The study which tracks six countries is being conducted since 2009, exploring how digital has impacted the purchase behaviour of consumers.

In an interview, Peigh speaks about how the Indian consumer loves to talk about brands among friends and family, the decline in efficacy of influencer marketing and millennials driving the growth of private labels in India. Edited excerpts:

How is the Indian consumer different from its international counterpart?

The Indian consumer is arguably the most engaged, involved and demanding.

There are six key characteristics where they score the highest of all countries—holding brands to the highest standards, acquiring brand knowledge as they believe it enhances their self esteem.

Indian consumers also rank highest when it comes initiating conversation about a brand both online and offline.

Personal recommendation is most important for these set of consumers. They also report the highest level of satisfaction for private labels.

What are the factors driving the growth in private labels in India?

Private labels by e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Flipkart and BigBasket have witnessed accelerated growth in India. They have become multi-category businesses both online and offline, posing a big challenge to the traditional big brands.

When I was growing up, private label was still a junkie product but it is a different beast these days. This trend is a result of millennials shopping differently.

Our study also states that millennials believe that private label quality is as good as national brands and when it comes 20-30% cheaper, they don’t mind buying it.

Increasingly, millennials are not demanding same kind of exposure and media investment from brands in order to make a purchase.

Could you explain the concept of ‘newism’ that is mentioned in the study?

‘Newism’ is a concept that covers the search for all things new by millennials which could include new restaurants, places to shop or products.

Millennials want to be known for finding new stuff, taking a picture and instagramming it.

Another term we have used in the study is ‘Discovery Generation’, which simply means millennials love to discover new things and celebrate it, especially on social media platforms.

Private labels, for instance, have done a good job in responding to millennial’s search for discovery. They are providing several variants of a product at extremely competitive prices which could include multiple colours, flavours or features.

Is influencer marketing dying a slow death?

I wouldn’t really say that, but consumers are definitely becoming more concerned about the truthfulness of what comes from an influencer because they know that influencers are getting paid for their messages.

In such a scenario, brands have to pick the right influencer, make sure they are using their products and then recommending it in an authentic way.

There’s a big move towards people choosing to believe nano influencers who have 1,000 followers or less and are most likely not getting paid for recommending a brand.

The challenge for brands to work with these influencers is achieving scale as they have to manage multiple such influencers to drive their message across. However, technology is making influencer marketing better for brands as purchases can be tracked from the social media platform itself. One can buy a product from an Instagram post directly.

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