Former Myntra CEO Discloses Consumer Preference for Products Featuring Models with Fair Skin


Former Myntra CEO, Ananth Narayanan, Unveils Indian Consumers’ Preference for Clicking on Products with Fair-Skinned Models

In a surprising revelation made by Ananth Narayanan, the founder of Mensa Brands and former CEO of Myntra, it has come to light that Indian consumers exhibit a higher tendency to click on products featuring models with fair skin. Narayanan shared this intriguing insight during a recent episode of Nikhil Kamath’s podcast, ‘WTF is with Nikhil Kamath.’ The podcast conversation delved into the intricacies of establishing fashion, beauty, or home brands.

The focal point of this revelation is the clickthrough rate, a metric that measures the frequency with which individuals who view an advertisement or product listing ultimately click on it. According to Narayanan, this phenomenon is not recent; it was observed around 5-7 years ago. Products with white models as their representatives garnered higher clickthrough rates compared to those featuring Indian models.

During the podcast, Nikhil Kamath, the host, raised a significant question: Why do major Indian brands like Louis Phillipe or Peter England, opt for foreign models as their brand ambassadors? Narayanan acknowledged that this approach had been effective for a considerable period but pondered whether it would remain as effective in the future.

Narayanan cited the example of the ethnic brand Karagiri to underscore that strategies involving Indian models could be equally successful. However, he also highlighted the pivotal role played by brand names in shaping consumer perception. The discussion then explored the idea that foreign-sounding brand names and fair-skinned models convey a sense of premium quality. When asked why this was the case, Narayanan suggested that this perception might be tied to residual colonial influences. He acknowledged that changing consumer preferences would be a gradual process, not an overnight transformation.

Another guest on the podcast, Raj Shamani, contributed his insights by emphasizing the importance of instilling a sense of pride in consumers regarding their purchases. He proposed that cultivating pride in Indian brands was crucial for their success. The prevalence of foreign-sounding names and models with fair skin in branding stems from the aim of making consumers feel proud of their choices. Shamani stressed that this approach was more effective because it has been adopted by many brands, creating a collective sense of elevation and premium quality.

In summary, the discussion illuminated the intriguing dynamics of consumer preferences within India’s branding landscape. The influence of brand names, models, and the aspiration for premium quality continue to mold the decisions made by both consumers and businesses. While change may be on the horizon, it is expected to be a gradual process.

Therefore, the next time you find yourself clicking on a product, it may be worth considering the underlying factors that shape your choice. The realm of branding in India is certain to continue evolving.

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