When life gets you down, dress up

jayniebell_nice-tieHere’s a nugget of positivity from a family living through rough times: When their business went bust, they had to cut back in many areas and their standard of living went from “hero to zero,” to borrow a phrase. Through it all, however, they took special care to keep up appearances: The lady of the house made sure they were unfailingly well-dressed—smart, spotless, on trend.

This mattered for their self-esteem, and also for keeping face. Given that financial difficulties are rarely discussed or disclosed in India, their friends and neighbors never knew just how bad it had gotten. Later their friends told them that they were never quite sure whether or not they were in dire straits. With most of their financial woes now well behind them, the family remains convinced that no matter what, it’s worth the effort to dress well.

This insight can be powerfully leveraged to foster emotional connections in many categories that play transformational roles in people’s lives. This is especially important for brands in categories like grooming (Lakme, Elle 18, Lifestyle, West Side, Pantaloon) and banks that issue business and personal loans (Standard Chartered, State Bank of India). Other “value” brands, like Big Bazaar (a department store that has its own line of clothes) and Nirma & Wheel (a bargain detergent), while highly relevant given their low price positioning, can use this idea to build higher esteem with consumers during rough times.

Photo credit: Jaynie Bell

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