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Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal

Emerald Article: Ethnoconsumerism and cultural branding: designing "Nano" car Alladi Venkatesh, Seema Khanwalkar, Lynda Lawrence, Steven Chen

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To cite this document: Alladi Venkatesh, Seema Khanwalkar, Lynda Lawrence, Steven Chen, (2013),"Ethnoconsumerism and cultural branding: designing "Nano" car", Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 16 Iss: 1 pp. 108 - 119 Permanent link to this document: Downloaded on: 30-01-2013 References: This document contains references to 48 other documents To copy this document:

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QMRIJ 16,1


Ethnoconsumerism and cultural branding: designing Nano car

Alladi Venkatesh
The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, California, USA


Seema Khanwalkar
Design and Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India

Lynda Lawrence
Management Department, University of California, Irvine, California, USA, and

Steven Chen
College of Business and Economics, California State University, Fullerton, California, USA
Purpose The purpose of this research is to explore the cultural and branding issues that have gone into the design and development of Nano a brand name for an Indian automobile which is a low-priced passenger vehicle targeted toward the middle-class Indian consumer in urban settings. Design/methodology/approach The paper provides a cultural framework for the brand initiative and its execution. Specically, the paper uses an ethnoconsumerism approach to the issue of cultural branding. Findings The Nano car was conceived and executed under two narratives: an economical and affordable vehicle, and a brand appeal that would satisfy Indian cultural sensibilities. Research limitations/implications Cultural branding is becoming a popular approach in product positioning. This research shows that an ethnoconsumerist framework is ideally suited for examining cultural branding issues. Originality/value With the emergence of global markets, new methodologies have to be employed in studying cultural issues pertaining to local conditions. Toward this end, the paper provides an application of the ethnoconsumerism approach for studying branding phenomena. Keywords Ethnoconsumerism, Cultural branding, Brand identity, Indian consumer, Global markets, Brands, India Paper type Research paper

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal Vol. 16 No. 1, 2013 pp. 108-119 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1352-2752 DOI 10.1108/13522751311289730

Introduction The central question we pose in this paper is the following: what cultural and branding design issues have gone into the development of Nano, a low-priced automobile targeted toward the Indian consumer in the middle- to lower-middle income group and in urban and semi-urban settings? We provide a cultural interpretation of this design initiative and its execution, focusing primarily on identifying the cultural model that has gone into the Nano brand and the key ingredients of this model. How has this

model taken into consideration the Indian consumer point of view (Bijapurkar, 2008; Srinivas, 2008; Varman and Belk, 2009) and changing Indian economic and cultural geography (Sen, 2003; Shurmer-Smith, 2000)? In pursuing these questions, we use an ethnoconsumerist framework (Venkatesh, 1995; Meamber and Venkatesh, 2000) together with cultural and emotional aspects of branding and design (Holt, 2004; Schroeder and Salzer-Morling, 2006; Schroeder, 2009; Norman, 2005; Sparke, 2004). Of particular signicance to our study is Firat and Dholakias (2003) work on theatres of consumption as well as a more recent work on consumer culture and branding issues in the Indian context (Eckhardt and Mahi, 2012) and Asian context (Cayla and Eckhardt, 2008). This paper is organized into three sections. First we provide a conceptualization of the ethnoconsumerist methodology as appropriate for our study. Second, we elaborate the notions of cultural economy and cultural branding. In the nal section we show how ethnoconsumerism and cultural branding can be applied to the study of the Nano car, which was recently introduced into the Indian market. Methodological framework Ethnoconsumerism Ethnoconsumerism was rst proposed as a theoretical and methodological approach to the study of consumption culture by Venkatesh (1995) and later elaborated by Meamber and Venkatesh (2000). Ethnoconsumerism encourages the researcher to study culture not merely as providing the context for the study of consumption practices but to study consumption itself as culturally constituted behavior. Ethnoconsumerism is distinguished from ethnography, which is primarily a method or an approach for data collection using a variety of techniques that include personal interviews and participant or non-participant observation. Of course, ethnoconsumerism can and does employ ethnography as a method for data collection, but it can also include other methods (e.g. visual analysis, textual analysis) as appropriate for the study of consumer culture. Ethnoconsumerism and cultural analysis In discussing cultural issues relating to marketing and consumption, we are faced with different possibilities. For example, we use the terms cross-cultural marketing, comparative studies, and cultural analysis, and so on. These are related but do not have the same meaning (Burton, 2009). What is common to all these approaches is that the focus is on culture, (or consumer culture) broadly understood, and can include people, and marketplace or consumption practices, customs, value systems, social arrangements, communities and institutional histories, meaning systems and ethnic congurations associated with any population or cultural group under study. The term cultural group can refer to sub-cultures such as, for example, youth or ethnic sub-cultures or brand communities as part of a large systemic notion. In applying ethnoconsumerism to cross-cultural or comparative studies, the reasoning is that such comparisons are warranted by the very nature of the questions studied. However, this does not mean that comparisons necessarily lead to generalizations across cultural groups, for each cultural group may exhibit unique characteristics based on their histories and practices. In this context it may be necessary to note the distinction between cultural particulars and cultural universals.

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Cultural particulars and cultural universals The ongoing debate between particulars and universals refers to the notion of the problem of specicity vs problem of generalization (Strathern, 1995). In anthropology, Geertz (1983) talks about local knowledge in the spirit of elevating particulars to a domain of relevant cultural understanding. In a similar fashion, Lyotard (1984) argues against the preoccupation with metanarratives in his defense of postmodern discourses (micro-narratives). Cultural particulars do not imply relativism, for relativism implies that there is a (universal) standard by which other systems are evaluated. Cultural particulars imply that cultures are treated in their own right but without ignoring that there could be common practices, value systems across cultures. Cultural particulars also take into account the fact that cultures do undergo change and do inuence each other, for no culture is static. The goal, however, is to avoid psychological or biological reductionism in applying cultural tropes as found in the work of Hofstede and others (Hofstede, 2001). In summary, as a research approach, ethnoconsumerism involves a combination of the following steps: (1) Describe consumer environments and pertinent socioeconomic trends. (2) Describe the cultural framework and relevant cultural categories. (3) Interpret and provide meanings for cultural categories. (4) Establish relationships between cultural categories. (5) Describe specic behaviors and or patterns. (6) Describe and interpret the ndings. With the above conceptual background, we will now proceed to the elaboration of cultural branding followed by the application of the ethnoconsumerist approach in the context of the introduction of the Nano car to the Indian market. Issues of cultural branding and cultural economies Recently, much attention has been given to the issues of cultural branding by some key researchers including Fournier (1998), McAlexander et al. (2002), Holt (2004), Arvidsson (2006), Cayla and Eckhardt (2008), Schroeder and Salzer-Morling (2006) and Schroeder (2009), as well as a few others. Collectively, they introduce a new dimension to our understanding of brands in some fundamental ways. First, they introduce the context of branding as a cultural phenomenon focusing on how cultural variables dene and establish brand identity. Second, they provide an understanding of how brands are constructed using cultural codes and categories (Schroeder, 2009). In addition, Holt (2004) argues that brands have become cultural icons some obvious examples of brands as cultural icons are Starbucks, Apple, Sony, Nikon, and MacDonalds, to name a few. Schroeders work (Schroeder and Salzer-Morling, 2006; Schroeder, 2009) elaborates on the notion of brand culture, which refers to the cultural codes of brands history, image, myths, art, theatre that inuence brand meaning in the market place (Schroeder, 2009, p. 124). Thus, we nd a more complex analysis of cultural association with brands, for brands exist as cultural, ideological objects. In Cayla and Eckhardts (2008) work, we nd a comprehensive examination of cultural branding in the transnational/global context. Using several examples from Singapore, India, Australia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, they demonstrate how brand managers create regional brands that emphasize the common experience of globalization [. . .] [and]

evoke a generic, hyper-urban, and multicultural experience infused with cultural referents (p. 216). One particular study in the US cultural context that resonates with our study is the work by Schouten and Alexander (1995) looking at Harley Davidson bikers as a brand community of shared cultural values. As these studies clearly show, cultural branding is emerging as a powerful paradigm within the literature and a very important driving force in the global marketing scene. Why has branding become so central to the cultural economy? Since cultural economy is also the economy of signs, one can ask the question, what better representation of a sign than the image of a brand? That is, related to cultural branding is the notion of market as a cultural economy (Firat and Dholakia, 2003) or as a sign economy (Venkatesh and Penaloza, 2006). Firat and Dholakia remind us that, Culture itself is marketable [. . .] and [marketing] goes beyond crass commercialization and proffers a chimerical array of new experiences (p. 4). In a related theme, Venkatesh and Penaloza (2006) articulate the cultural nature of economic systems of exchange, shifting disciplinary currents in understanding to an increasing focus on cultural roles of market offerings (e.g. brands) in providing a system of sign value. This will be elaborated as follows. Branding and the global sign economy Based on the above cited literature on cultural branding, it is now acknowledged that a major part of marketing practices has become synonymous with image marketing especially so in the global context and the vocabulary of marketing is replete with signs, symbols, and visual images. In no other time in history has there been such an explosion of visual and aesthetic images in the global economic landscape. Everyday experience involves navigating and decoding multiple kinds of aesthetic codes and signs. It goes without saying that brands are at the heart of contemporary marketing. The last decade and a half may be called the era of brand research (Fournier, 1998; McAlexander et al., 2002; Arvidsson, 2006). Brands have evolved from informational markers to community symbols (Schouten and Alexander, 1995) to cultural icons (Holt, 2004). The moment something becomes a community symbol, it is no longer subject to a conventional rational analysis. As market culture diffuses globally, branding has also become global, and global branding has become integral to the global image economy (Cayla and Eckhardt, 2008). Images pervade most of the media from which we gain information about the world we live in, reshaping our lives, guiding our consumption patterns, inuencing how we conceptualize time and space, and profoundly affecting how we embrace the global village. Thus, what used to be called a market economy is now identied as an economy of signs and symbols. Progressively, over the years, the world of commerce has shifted from creating use value to exchange value and then on to sign value (Penaloza and Venkatesh, 2010). In addition, the main focus of aesthetics of consumption is to explore, assimilate and manage sign value on an everyday basis (Venkatesh and Meamber, 2008). What are some examples of market situations that are broadly concerned with aesthetics of sign value? One has only to examine the mass media, contemporary advertising, and packaging and designing to recognize the aesthetic elements of consumption. All of these become encapsulated in branding. Since consumption systems are themselves viewed as culturally coded systems, research has begun to address how consumers understanding of products and brands

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derives from the meanings they attach to them. The fact that any given culture forms the basis of relevant symbolic systems and aesthetic representations means that these symbolic systems get integrated into the cultural ecology of branding. An ethnoconsumerist approach to the study of Nano brand and cultural meanings We examine the Nano playing eld from macro to micro, from historical to contemporary, from luxury to necessity, from expensive to affordable, from a two-wheeler to four-wheeler social transformation, and from the point of view of the Indian value system. Although the eventual success of the Nano car in the marketplace and its performance as a successful innovation can be debated, this paper does not address those specic issues except to say that many well-informed sources have discussed marketing and segmentation issues (Wells, 2010), and some even have analyzed its success potential in the marketplace (Chacko et al., 2010). Our focus is to examine Nano as a peoples car, the cultural underpinnings of its design, and its branding position within the consumer context. Following the principles of ethnoconsumerism as a research method, the data for this study constituting the eld view and the text view were gathered primarily from research publications, and public sources and press clippings. In addition, inputs were received from a professional with intimate knowledge of Nano design and marketing. Background and cultural context of India In general, historically, automobiles were mostly designed in highly industrialized and developed economies, although manufacturing plants exist all over the world. Automobiles are complex technologies and it has not been possible for less advanced countries to design their own versions of an automobile, although they have manufacturing facilities for some premier brands. This has begun to change as some emerging economies are also becoming major players in the automobile scene. It is in this context that we present research ideas and design considerations concerning Nano which is billed as a peoples car for the Indian market. The rising Indian middle class and consumerism As India is transforming to become an emerging industrial power, the aspirations of consumers are also on the rise (Bijapurkar, 2007), and so are marketing and advertising responses (Parameswaran, 2001). As discussed in detail by Dholakia et al. (2012), the Indian consumer retail environment is undergoing fundamental changes. It is true that a quarter of Indias population still lives at levels of urban or rural poverty. However, one has to weigh this against other trends. With a population of over a billion people, the middle class in the combined urban and rural sectors is considered to be around half a billion (NCAER, 2005). They have attained certain levels of education and disposable income. Upward mobility and self-sufciency are reected in many aspects of personal and family life (food, clothing, education, housing, etc.). In the last 20 years, since 1991, India has been rapidly moving toward being a consumer society (Bijapurkar, 2008). With the rise of television in many homes and the rise of televisual culture, increasing literacy, and the production of college graduates, and the rise of the IT sector along with self-sufciency in the agriculture sector, India has certainly entered the world picture. It is one of the ve BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa) the ve rising powers constituting two-thirds of the world population.


Tata Motors and the Nano brand Tata Motors is a family of pioneering industrialists whose origins can be traced to the mid-to-late nineteenth century, beginning with shipping interests under the British colonial system followed by more than a century of major investments in steel plants, commercial vehicles, and consumer products (Mukherjee, 2009). It is considered a mega economic empire. Tatas are also local representatives in India of Mercedes, a German auto manufacturer, and Tata Mercedes is a large manufacturing company of commercial vehicles under German collaboration. Tatas are known for their philanthropy, and are founders of world-class educational and advanced scientic institutes. They are one of, if not the most, trusted conglomerates in India and their reputation is legendary. Thus, Tatas themselves have become a cultural brand icon in the Indian context. In producing Nano, Tatas felt strongly that their reputation as a trusted brand would easily carry over to this automobile. Nano and cultural branding As a cultural branding issue, Tata Motors came up with the idea of peoples car or Nano, which is positioned as an affordable passenger vehicle designed for the Indian consumer for driving in the Indian setting. Recently, the introduction of Nano has received a lot of attention in research circles (Chacko et al., 2010), as well as publicity in the local and international press (Automotive News, 2009; Bhanot, 2008; The Times of India, 2008; Kurczewski, 2009). It has now been put on display in Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum and given celebrity status for its innovative design (Patton, 2010). Product offering and brand positioning With a length of just 10 feet and width and height of about 5 feet, the Tata Nano has the smallest exterior footprint for a car in India. Nano is 20 percent smaller than the cheapest car on the Indian roads right now, the Maruti Suzuki 800. It nevertheless offers a spacious passenger compartment that can seat four adults and offers a high seating position. Its small size, coupled with a turning radius of just 4 meters, makes it extremely maneuverable. Tata Motors planned initially to launch 250,000 cars and expected eventually to sell one million annually (The Hindu, 2009). The Indian auto market is very vibrant, as economic growth lifts incomes and wealth in the country. Ford, Nissan, Fiat, Suzuki, and Renault were all planning to increase production in the Nano space over the next few years. The Indian economy is expected to market ten million additional cars on Indian roads in ve years. Nano is designed and being marketed as a rst car for the working middle class, although it is conceivable it may be purchased by higher-income groups as a second or third car in the family. It is targeted toward consumers who own two-wheelers and expect to buy an automobile. The two-wheeler industry in India has grown rapidly in the country since the announcement of the process of economic liberalization in 1991. Tata Motors (2008) announced the commercial launch of the Nano in 2008. The low-cost compact model, powered by a two-cylinder engine, was introduced into the local Indian market in June of 2009 (Kurczewski, 2009), and was personally presented to the rst buyer family by the CEO of Tata Motors. Current Indian transportation scene: trafc conditions and branding and design implications In general, the trafc conditions on Indian city roads can be crowded and may appear a bit chaotic. With so many different vehicles using the same roads, from big trucks to

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passenger buses to luxury automobiles to two-wheelers, trafc congestion is more the rule than an exception. In addition, many Indians travel in crowded public transportation. The spatial distance between passengers is very small in these congested environments. It is not uncommon to designate gender-based spaces, so males and females may not sit together. This gives some relief to females in crowded interiors. But this does not solve the problem completely because there are always more passengers than seats and people have to stand in crowded buses and commuter trains. Tata Motors has addressed this issue by designing a privately owned, affordable vehicle. Under these conditions, the design and introduction of Nano is both a marketing decision and an emotional design decision (Norman, 2005). It is a marketing decision because there is a demand for an affordable small car among middle-class households and an emotional decision because it taps into national pride. The semiotics of car design and marketing touch on various aspects of Indian social, cultural, and emotional life. The whole enterprise is reminiscent of the introduction of the Model-T Ford in the USA in a bygone era. Interior space and Nano design: from two-wheelers to an automobile rst-time car ownership In terms of Nano design, the problem of space is addressed in the following way. Since it is not a form of public transportation but a private vehicle, there is no issue of travelling in the company of strangers. Second, although the space in the Nano car is not luxurious, it is comfortable and better compared to the alternative, i.e. public transportation or riding a two-wheeler with other family members. The most common vehicle for most Indians is a two-wheeler, and it is not uncommon to see a family of three or four riding a motorized scooter or motor bike. In terms of macro conditions, we note that more than 40 percent of the Indian population would be in this socio-economic category (Bijapurkar, 2008). Thus, Nano provides an affordable and safer alternative for millions of rst-time buyers who want to experience automobile ownership. Of course, many working professionals, male and female, drive fancy automobiles, but the Nano makes car ownership possible for many others with less income (seems to need something like this to complete the last sentence). In sum, the design and conceptualization of the Nano car was intended to be a major coup in the consumer cultural context. Although modest in size, price, and performance, it has captured the imagination of many Indians as well as foreign observers. The automobile as a passenger vehicle is a luxury for a majority of the Indian population but is potentially within their reach. Mythological streams a cultural probe into Nano branding While India is moving toward becoming a consumer society, Indian culture continues to play on mythological themes. References to mythological characters as sources of inspiration and social models do not seem to conict with Indias modernistic ambitions and expectations. The challenge is how to capture the essence of mythology within the context of a technological product. Mythical Indian ethos and national pride While India is rising as an economic power, Indian ethos is celebrating its history and mythical past. India has not abandoned its cultural heritage in the midst of modernization, but instead is embracing it with contemporary idioms and overtones

while celebrating it in a profound and signicant fashion. Some people have described it as the Indian renaissance or reawakening. This can be seen in the marketing of India through travel brochures and the sprucing up of historical sites (the Taj Mahal, Nalanda, Konarak, Mahabalipuram, etc.), as well as the fashioning of natural scenic settings as part of the growing tourist trade. Not only are these sites being marketed to foreign tourists, but they are now also marketed to Indians themselves. One of the political gures who promoted the Nano plant within his state is reported to have stated that Indians should receive the NANO like Krishna the child god. The image here is almost like a little divine infant bringing in a new sense of hope for India. Nano is likened to giving birth to and raising a child. In that sense it is a delicate mode of transportation and, as a parent loves and nurtures her/his child, the Indian consumer is presumed to feel the same way about this car. Parenthetically, one might add that even in the Western world, some refer to their car as my baby. As Indians awaited the arrival of Nano, we call this (borrowing from a famous play) Waiting for NANO. It is really the reective side of Indian imagery. It is about the Indian marvel, the newborn savior. So the NANO is more than a mode of transportation; it is designed for social transformation as it extends its blessings to the owners of two-wheelers and aspiring rst-timers. That is, the driver of the two-wheeler will now drive a four-wheeler as part of the socio-cultural transformation process. Although India is making headway into the twenty-rst century, Indian mythology is still reected in advertising because companies exploit mythological references. One can see this trend particularly with certain branded products such as jewelry and saris (Bannerji and Miller, 2003). This is also reected in the whole new animation culture, which is bringing back mythological characters. This mythological residue in India seems to be the DNA of Indian life, and it manifests itself in different forms. But this is not without emotional conicts in the Indian ethos, for there are other religions in India and they have every right to feel ignored. The challenge therefore in cultural branding is how to manage the controlling symbols that satisfy different cultural groups. This is certainly an ethnoconsumerist challenge. Cultural branding, national pride and design issues At the national level, Nano has become a matter of national pride and an expression of Indianness. In terms of the world of products, India is famous historically for textiles, hand-made rugs, crafts, and spices. In the last 15 years or so, India has become known globally for its software industry and has become a major player in the global knowledge economy (Dahlman and Utz, 2005). However, there is a distinction between the service/knowledge industry and a concrete technological product orientation. Thus, Nano represents a concrete manifestation of a technological achievement. Implied in the Nano design process is the notion of nationalism. Tata Motors tried to exploit the national element aggressively. For example, there was a huge advertisement by Tata Motors when this car was rst launched and the Chairman of Tata enterprises thanked the Indians publicly (The Hindu, 2009). In sum, Indian pride originates from different sources. Its mythology and mythological heroes, its national pride as an emerging economic power, its democratic form of government and successful private enterprise in the IT sector, and its preeminence in the entertainment world via Bollywood point to its current economic and cultural strength (Kasbekar, 2006).

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The target consumer The typical Indian member of the urban working class travels by public transportation, or by a bicycle or motorcycle used to carry multiple members of the family. The trend of owning two-wheelers is due to a variety of facts peculiar to India. One of the chief factors is poor public transportation in many parts of India. Additionally, two-wheelers offer a great deal of convenience and mobility for the Indian family. The wealthier class of professionals does own expensive cars. However, as stated earlier, many changes are occurring on social, cultural, and economic fronts. There is now more upward mobility than ever before and greater urbanization. The urban middle class segment is now a third of the population compared to a fourth only 15 years ago. Disposable income has risen signicantly. In addition, socially speaking, one can see the changing roles of women who are making headway in many professions in urban India, and whose presence can be felt in the world of fashion and modern attire and in their ability to switch back and forth from the traditional to the contemporary (Ghadially, 2007). Personal freedoms The tantalizing virtue of personal freedom is now being embraced by Indians in many walks of life (Lorenzen and Mudambi, 2010). For women, the expression of this freedom ranges from economic independence to choosing their life partners to wearing non-traditional (Western) style clothes and using the latest technologies, but not necessarily totally abandoning their traditional ways. It is all a matter of uidity and expressing their sense of freedom through everything from fashion to driving an automobile. Cultural factors and Nano design Indian attire and Nano design. Nano designers took into consideration the particular needs of the Indian female consumer. For example, when an Indian woman wearing a sari gets out of the car, the design question is, what height would be required to avoid disturbing the folds of the sari? Nano designers addressed this issue to ensure that the car would speak to the Indian female consumer. In other words, they looked at how Nano could make her feel that this is my car. Of course, this will not be an issue for women wearing pants which probably many younger Indian women do. Consumer aspirations. In the design process, a potential male consumer was approached for his view of Nano. He had never owned a car and was currently an owner of a motorized scooter and was in his early twenties. He said that owning Nano would increase his prospects of getting married to a female with higher social standing: Tomorrow I can get a better girl if she says, Ah, he has a car. In other words, Tata Motors is getting into the social fabric of the country. In a semiotic/cultural sense, the consumer appropriates the meaning of the car and uses it to his advantage. The consumer may ultimately own a small car, but the small car has a semiotic meaning of bigness attached to it, and has a major cultural implication for status-conscious consumers. Behavioral and reective concerns. From a marketers perspective, the ultimate success of the design rests on how consumers receive the car and whether they actually buy it and invest in it. This is the behavioral side of consumer activity. But there is also the reective side of design. That is, how does the consumer receive a product (or design) that makes the product alive within the cultural context?

Nano effect euphoria, hope and optimism, international rivalry. So what can be said of the NANO effect? It is really about euphoria, hope, optimism, and international rivalry. Conclusions The Nano car was conceived and executed under two narratives: as an economical vehicle within the reach of the rising Indian middle- to lower-income class who can now afford car ownership, and as a brand community icon that captures Indian cultural identity. Evidently, from a strictly business perspective, Tatas goal was to create a small vehicle that would satisfy the consumer aspirations of rst-time car buyers. At the same time, Tata Motors made a powerful appeal to Indian cultural sensibilities by invoking mythical or mythological tropes in creating brand identity. To address the underlying issues, in this study we employed an ethnoconsumerist interpretation of cultural branding. This is not the rst time an Indian car was conceived and marketed. In the 1950s, Birlas another industrial house marketed Hindustan, an Indian car that was a business success but never captured the Indian imagination. Nano, on the other hand, is a contrasting study.
References Arvidsson, A. (2006), Brands: Meanings and Value in Media Culture, Routledge, London. Automotive News (2009), Indian public gives Tatas Nano good marks, Automotive News, April 2, pp. 30-1. Bannerji, M. and Miller, D. (2003), The Sari, Berg, Oxford. Bhanot, S. (2008), Nano for Tata dealers, The Financial Express, available at: (accessed February 10, 2011). Bijapurkar, R. (2007), We are Like That Only: Understanding the Logic of Consumer India, Penguin, New Delhi. Bijapurkar, R. (2008), Winning the Indian Market, Wiley, Singapore. Burton, D. (2009), Cross-cultural Marketing Research: Theory, Practice and Relevance, Routledge, London. Cayla, J. and Eckhardt, G.M. (2008), Asian brands and the shaping of a transnational imagined community, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 216-30. Chacko, P., Noronha, C. and Aggarwal, S. (2010), Small Wonder, Authorized Story of the Making of the Nano Car, Westland Press, Mumbai. Dahlman, C. and Utz, A. (2005), India and the Knowledge Economy, World Bank Institute, Washington, DC. Dholakia, N., Dholakia, R.R. and Chattopadhyay, A. (2012), Indias emerging retail systems: coexistence of tradition and modernity, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 34-41. Eckhardt, G. and Mahi, H. (2012), Globalization, consumer tensions, and the shaping of consumer culture in India, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 21-8. Firat, A.F. and Dholakia, N. (2003), From Political Economy to Theatres of Consumption, 2nd ed., Routledge, London. Fournier, S. (1998), Consumers and their brands: developing relationship theory in consumer research, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 24, pp. 343-67. Geertz, C. (1983), Local Knowledge, Basic Books, New York, NY.

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Varman, R. and Belk, R. (2009), Nationalism and ideology in an anti-consumption movement, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 686-713. Venkatesh, A. (1995), Ethnoconsumerism: a new paradigm to study cultural and cross-cultural consumer behavior, in Costa, J.A. and Bamossy, G. (Eds), Marketing in a Multicultural World, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 26-67. Venkatesh, A. and Meamber, L. (2008), The aesthetics of consumption and the consumer as an aesthetic subject, Consumption, Markets and Culture, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 45-70. Venkatesh, A. and Penaloza, L. (2006), From marketing to the market: a call for paradigm shift, in Sheth, J.N. and Sisodia, R. (Eds), Does Marketing Need Reform?: Fresh Perspectives on the Future, M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, NY, pp. 134-50. Wells, P. (2010), The Tata Nano, the global value segment and the implications for the traditional automotive industry regions, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, Vol. V3, April, pp. 443-57. Further reading Penaloza, L. and Venkatesh, A. (2006), Further evolving the new dominant logic of marketing: from services to the social construction of markets, Marketing Theory, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 299-316. Varma, P.K. (2006), Being Indian, Penguin Publishers, New Delhi. About the authors Alladi Venkatesh is Professor of Management and Associate Director at the Center for Research on Technology (CRITO), University of California, Irvine. His research interests are in the areas of technology diffusion, aesthetics of design, and cultural economies. His research has appeared in various journals including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Management Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Marketing Theory and Consumption Markets & Culture. Alladi Venkatesh is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: Seema Khanwalkar is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India. She is a semiotician and has a PhD in Linguistics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has pioneered the use of semiotics and narratology as an analytical tool and method and used it in her work on lm studies, media studies, architecture, crafts, and advertising. She has collaborated in various research projects in India and the UK and has been a consultant to 7-up, Tanishq, Big Bazaar Flamingo International, among others. Lynda Lawrence is Chief Idea Ofcer of Ideaworks Consulting, and teaches Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School of Business, UC, Irvine. A former advertising agency owner, she holds a Masters in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University, and is a graduate of the Executive Program in Innovation and Organizational Change from Harvard University. Steven Chen is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at California State University, Fullertons Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. His principal research area is design thinking and new product development. His research has been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Journal of Business Research. Before joining Cal State Fullerton, he received his BA in Studio Arts and a PhD in Marketing Management from the University of California, Irvine.

Cultural branding


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