This content relates to : EMERGING ECONOMY – INDIA

Jagdish Sheth

Emory University 

Fundamentally, we have to understand a country’s or India’s need for acceptable products. And there are two dimensions of acceptability. One is functional acceptability, especially in India which is a tropical country no matter how you look at it. And most of the western products are designed for a Northern European culture, Germany for example, England, America, where they have not taken into account the impact of climate;  their storage, usage, you know, etc. viewpoint.

Therefore, many products fail because they’re not packaged right for the parchment climate, they’re not actually useful … there’s dust in the air all the time. If you make very sophisticated products for the Western infrastructure, functionally they are not going to work very well. You have to adapt to the local air, for example, if we are going to do petrol or gasoline. I can go on giving examples of the tractors’ failures, computer failures because they did not understand the environment, the climate aspect. That’s clearly one. If you’re into edible products, any edible product including quick service restaurants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, no matter what it is, what matters most in all of those edible products, is the ingredient as much as the recipe. And you have to source it locally, so quite often, the local ingredient is not compatible with the recipe you created in the Western culture. So the supply chain is very different. I think that’s the second thing. They do not appreciate that we have to do functional acceptability in a very different way given the ecosystem, the infrastructure system, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s clearly one reason acceptability is a very key factor.  

The second one is psychological acceptability, which is ranked at the culture, ranked at the faith. Quite often what may be very acceptable in the Western world, because the product is innovated in the Christian culture primarily, … when you take it out into emerging economies, and again, in India, there are many, many diverse cultures. How do you rise above all those cultures or accommodate them so that the products are not objected to by opinion leaders such as faith leaders, for example … opinion leaders such as government regulations. How do  you avoid all that will be very important? Make it acceptable to the population which is psychological acceptance. It can be done by the way areas like color comes into the play, shape comes into the play, size comes into the play, the way you target and; I mean everything we teach in marketing 101 essentially becomes very key in terms of making the product more acceptable from a new product development R&D work. I’m talking about just that part, creating products in the laboratories, whether those are electronic products, on the one hand, i.e., very sophisticated, or those are basically packaged consumer goods products such as detergents, such as soaps, such as edible products, oils. I can go on giving you hundreds of examples where you can clearly see we have to in fact take care of the acceptability dimension. 

Dr. Jagdish Sheth 

Emory University