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Fortune and Glory. Why you should work in India

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Welcome to the third in The Sound’s Guide series.
This series consists of the stuff we think people who focus on strategy, innovation, and insight development need to know.
As an avid follower of The Sound, I’m sure you’re already aware we have an office in Mumbai. No? Well, we do, and it’s very nice too.
Doing projects in India is a bit different than doing them in North America, the U.K. or Europe, so we thought we’d prepare a Sound Guide to exploration in India, just for you (in case you wanted to do some exploring in India).

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Fortune and Glory. Why you should work in India

  1. 1. FORTUNE AND GLORY. WHY YOU SHOULD WORK IN INDIA The Sound Guide - Volume 3
  2. 2. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 2 Welcome to the third in The Sound’s Guide series. This series consists of the stuff we think people who focus on strategy, innovation, and insight development need to know. As an avid follower of The Sound, I’m sure you’re already aware we have an office in Mumbai. No? Well, we do, and it’s very nice too. Doing projects in India is a bit different than doing them in North America, the U.K. or Europe, so we thought we’d prepare a Sound Guide to exploration in India, just for you (in case you wanted to do some exploring in India).
  3. 3. Of course you did, you’re smart, and you check out the news. With GDP growing by around 7.5%, India overtook China in 2015 to become the world’s fastest growing economy. While the other BRIC nations are slowing down, India has kept its foot on the accelerator – like a Mumbai taxi driver approaching a traffic light. And it’s not showing any signs of a slowdown either. A strong domestic consumer base, relative insulation from China’s slump, and a services- oriented economy are driving sustainable growth. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 3THE SOUND DID YOU KNOW INDIA IS BOOMING? “In this cloudy global horizon, India is a bright spot.” – Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund Source: Harvard’s Centre for International Development
  4. 4. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 4 1.3 billion people live in India, and 356 million of them are under the age of 25. That’s more than the population of USA and Canada combined! Imagine if America and Canada was full of under 25 years olds? Bernie Sanders would be both President and the oldest man in North America. And this mammoth population is continuing to grow. In fact, scientists expect it to rise until 2050, by which point everyone in the world will live in India, and we will all need to learn to love cricket. Even you America… DID YOU KNOW 1 in 6 OF US LIVE THERE? If Uttar Pradesh (India’s most populous state) was a country, it would equal the population of Brazil
  5. 5. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 5 Only 18% of the country has access to internet, but e-commerce is already a 23 billion USD industry and is expected to grow to 50 billion USD by 2020. 40% of the country does not have access to television, yet nightly viewership for leading channels routinely exceeds 400 million. Yes, that’s right, 400 million people are watching the same show on the same time. Only 15 out of every 1,000 people own a car, but the Indian car industry already generates annual revenues of USD 70 billion. Oh, and one more: the number of billionaires has grown by 330% in the last ten years. BUT THE MARKET IS STILL DEVELOPING…
  6. 6. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 6 Amazon has already pumped over USD $1 billion into its Indian operation. IKEA is about to open its first store in Hyderabad and has plans for 25 more. Walmart is planning to open 50 stores in India, while closing over 200 in other parts of the world. Diageo, Starbucks, GlaxoSmithKline, Tesco, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Unilever and Vodafone have all increased investments and presence in India. And most importantly The Sound has opened an office in Mumbai with 6 staff members and growing. BRANDS ARE ALREADY PAYING ATTENTION
  7. 7. BUT WHAT’S IT ACTUALLY LIKE TO WORK IN INDIA? THE SOUND 7 THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3
  8. 8. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 8 For starters, English is the business and spoken language in most urban centres so, if you speak English, you’ll be good to go. Cities are just like cities, but probably a little more crowded and polluted than you might be used to. It’s also a little surprising to see cows wandering about, but you quickly get used to them. You’ll also be pleased to hear that Indians work in a wide variety of professions (not just IT), including research and strategy. Happily, this means that doing research here is not an insurmountable task and most systems and processes for recruitment and moderation are in place. But, there’s always a few buts, so read on and pay attention… IT’S A BIT DIFFERENT, BUT not that different
  9. 9. India is really more like multiple countries and cultures under one banner. People from different regions and states are starkly different, 
 and you’ll need to be aware of this when planning your project. To give you a sense of the diversity that India has: there are 1600 dialects, 100 unofficial languages, 23 official languages and there are 8 major religions, with 3000 castes and 25,000 subcastes, if you’re a Hindu. Even ‘vegetarians’ aren’t a homogenous group. There are at least 4 types of vegetarians - Jain Vegetarians, Hindu Vegetarians, Eggetarians and…for want of a better word, errr, ‘Flexitarians’ who sometimes eat meat and sometimes don’t. So yeah, it’s complex. Think about it being a bit like Europe – one entity but with lots of culturally distinct groups, all with different interests and values. For example, you wouldn’t just do a project in Austria in hopes of understanding all of Europe. I mean you could try, but it would be a bad move. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 9THE SOUND INDIA IS A complex country
  10. 10. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 10 It’s a culture notorious for being fashionably late, even when it’s not very fashionable. Wedding guests almost never show up on time and the groom’s party (the baraat) would be downright affronted if they couldn’t make people wait for a couple of hours. Of course, much of people’s unpunctuality is also due to factors outside of their control – in a country so large and populous, uncertainty is a daily part of life. So people have learned to (usually) relax in the face of delay. Things that need to happen will still happen - they just might not happen exactly when you first wanted them to. Learning to live with this if you’re over to India for fieldwork is very important. IST = INDIAN S T R E T C H A B L E TIME
  11. 11. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 11 It means that fieldwork schedules have to be more malleable and have buffers built in. You might hope to complete 3 in-home interviews in a day, but the traffic will probably say “nope.” Equally, your respondents might not see the problem in arriving 30 minutes late for a workshop or focus group. Reasons for delays are often out of everyone’s hands and could be anything from a city wide power cut to an impromptu rally called by a local politician. Wait, and enjoy a nice steaming cup of tea while you do. Over-recruit if you can. Don’t schedule more than two sessions a day and think about how the design of the study can help you be more efficient. Flexibility IS THE KEY TO GOOD FIELDWORK
  12. 12. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND “Guests are like God” is a popular Hindi saying. Indian culture puts a lot of emphasis on courtesy and how guests should treated (and how much they should be fed). In fact, it’s almost a sin to have a guest turn away dissatisfied from your door. So when you turn up for a home visit, you’ll be considered a guest. Which is nice and could make you very fat, but can lead to a strong positive bias in the discussion. It’s not uncommon for respondents to second guess which brand has commissioned the work and make their opinions towards it a little more positive, or down play any problems or unmet needs. In general, it’s best to be prepared for respondents initially liking stimulus and concepts. The moderator will have to dig a bit deeper and make it clear that negative feedback will also be welcome. Hard work, but the pay off will be worth it and you’ll also get lots of cups of tea and some of the world’s best snacks. 12 “Guests are like God”
  13. 13. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 13 In India, it’s hard to get a group of strangers in a room and to then be open and honest about their views. Actually, it’s quite difficult to do that anywhere, but In India, it’s really difficult. Firstly, India is a collectivist country where consensus is appreciated and rewarded. To disagree is not always socially acceptable. Also, India is still influenced by the caste system and social hierarchy, so it’s not uncommon for respondents to defer to the person with the nice clothes and the best watch on… Additionally, the prevalence of scams makes potential respondents pretty wary when strangers invite them to come to another part of the city on the promise of a cash reward. THE CONTEXT MAKES THINGS tricky…
  14. 14. In the face of challenging social norms and in order to meet the needs of Western clients, professional respondents have emerged to provide a service. They see it as a job to be done, and have adapted to turning up on time and sitting and discussing things openly with strangers. For the recruiter, they’re more reliable and punctual than ‘real’ respondents – who may drop out at the last minute, may be held up, and who take things less seriously, since it’s just a discussion and not a ‘real’ job. Professional respondents are a natural response to an industry that prioritizes predictability rather than validity. Clients want certainty and punctuality and professional respondents supply that. So in a way, they’re just trying to help. But, it means we have to work around it to get authentic learnings. Fortunately, there are recruiters that recognize this and will work with you to ensure that respondents aren’t just there to tell you what they think you want to hear. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 14THE SOUND SO THE PROFESSIONAL RESPONDENT IS A THING
  15. 15. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 15 IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE PARTNERS THAT UNDERSTAND The Sound have been working in India on projects for our global clients for 
 over 4 years now. A year ago, we opened a fully staffed office in Mumbai. It’s small, has great ‘energy’ (according to the guy who’s renting to us), and has a nice corner for our booze. More importantly – we are a team that’s part local and part expat. This leads to a pretty diverse lunch spread and an equally healthy variety of perspective. Needless to say, we’re also quite used to dealing with cultural challenges, wayward respondents, recruiters, and schedule adjustments. We’re also friends with the local cows. Seriously. We know them.
  16. 16. 1. Who is it you really want to understand? (There isn’t really one Indian) 2. Where in the country are they? 3. Are your methods culturally appropriate? 4. How long do you think you need in field? (You’ll probably need more time) 5. What are the cultural factors to be aware of in analysis? Or, you could just give us a call here in Mumbai, tell us your business challenge and we’ll figure out all that stuff for you! Now you can just concentrate on booking your flight over and thinking about what snacks you want to try when you get here… THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 16THE SOUND SO IF YOU WANT TO DO WORK HERE, THINK ABOUT:
  17. 17. THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3 THE SOUND 17 GO ON, PLAN A TRIP TO India Thank you for reading the third of The Sound’s Guides. We hope you enjoyed the experience, and please come back when we publish the next slightly offensive but never boring guide to innovation, strategy and insights. In the meantime, consider traveling to India, and give us a shout if you’re in Mumbai! Go on, contact us at info@thesoundhq.com. We’d love to hear from you!
  18. 18. V A N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W . T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M
  19. 19. IMAGE REFERENCES SLIDE SITE 1 http://www.space.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/spielberg4.jpg 3 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-likely-to-top-worlds-growth-chart-Harvard-study/articleshow/50328665.cms 4 http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1360679/packed-train.jpg http://www.economist.com/content/indian-summary 5 http://www.kildonan.org/uploaded/Independent_Project/SOLE_Central.jpg 6 http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1CNNLe4znVg/UIY4K1fXBvI/AAAAAAAADdA/229yKsPy838/s1600/starbucks_india_isimplylovemakeup.jpg 7 http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m48e4dNyMz1qf9g48o1_1280.jpg 8 https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5513/11479821104_03c21fff7d_b.jpg 9 http://im.hunt.in/cg/Agra/City-Guide/Agra-veg.jpg 10 https://indianbydesign.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/4.jpg 11 http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/01271/DE17_CITY_PG4_3COL_1271470f.jpg 12 http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NMtd8wNN0GA/Ua9vx_8CwoI/AAAAAAAAAvE/0yQRYacxsGg/s1600/chai-and-pakoras.jpg 13 http://icaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sewawomen.jpg 14 http://static.dnaindia.com/sites/default/files/styles/half/public/2016/05/04/456966-432826-ranbir1.jpg?itok=onoSAxl6 15 The Sound’s image. 16 http://www.streamdays.com/uploads/images/hardware/hardware-phone.jpg 19THE SOUND THE SOUND GUIDE - VOLUME 3

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