to the latest Brand Chakras study by JWT, the Indian mother-child equation is changing quite rapidly - they are now a team with a shared vision, with mothers actively believing they can shape their children's destiny for mutual benefit.
This is the second study by JWT Brand Chakras. The first one was 'The Power and the Glory', which studied the global Indian. This new study, 'Mother India', looks at payoffs that mothers want from their children and vice versa, which have been uncovered through Brand Chakras.
The insight mining exercise was done in eight centres - Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Thrissur. It spanned mothers falling under SEC AB, with children aged between 8 and 16, through group discussions and in-depth interviews with mother-child pairs.
The child is now a project and a mission, while industriousness, determination, passion and planning are the dominant traits. The child, too, is taking the 'roti- kapada-makaan (food, clothing, shelter)' for granted and looking to the mother to give him the head start he needs in life and to ensure that he remains focused.
Other shifts include from living for the moment to constantly shaping the future; from the child's success to shared glory; and a clear staking of claims on the eligibility for the fruits of success.
Emotional elasticity, reasonable, adult-like conversations, retaining locus of control while appearing to be democratic, and tough love are some of the maternal strategies.
All mothers showed a strong inclination to the power chakra qualities and, essentially, three types of mothers emerged.
The Lifeline Seeker is one who has given up hopes of the husband improving their lives and is totally dependent on the child to rise to glorious levels and rescue her; looking for insurance and security, she will do everything she can to help him in this journey, but is clearly establishing her rights to the fruits of this labour.
The Coronation Seeker hopes that the child's achievements will bring her out of a life of oblivion and bestow on her a halo for greater social conquest. The child is seen as an opportunity to make an overwhelming statement about her own self.
The Independence Seeker strives to excel in the mother role in order to foster independence and self-reliance in her child, so that she will have the freedom and space for her own pursuits; motherhood enhances her efficiency and gives her exposure that helps her discover unexplored facets of herself.
The implications for brands in this study are many. Brands need not necessarily choose between the mother and the child as their targets, but could talk to both combined. It must reflect the new sets of motherhood values and attitudes, and also find a role in the shared vision and future that the duo chases. It's important for brands to connect with the philosophy of effort and determination that the mother is trying to instil in her kid.
While the study focuses on mothers, it has revealed three types of fathers, too, as sketched by the mothers. The Genuine Partner tries to play a synergistic role, willingly taking up activities which are beyond the mother's competence. The Conveniently Detached takes it easy, capitalising on the mother's high involvement and taking up the provider stance to negate criticism for his lack of involvement. The Cynically Detached disagrees with the approach, perceiving the mother as crossing the line and fostering too much dependence, and feels children need a more hands-off approach.
For the record, Brand Chakras is the first Indian strategic planning tool that applies the 2,000 year old chakra system, as laid out by Patanjali, to consumers and brands. This original system of understanding human behaviour is based on the seven major nerve/energy centres in the human body and is an initiative of strategic planning at JWT India.