JWT A Tale of Four Cities: A JWT India Brand Chakras Study

Uncovering the forces that make the character of each of India's four principal metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata - and understanding how citizens relate to their cities


Tale of four cities A Tale of Four Cities: A JWT India Study set out to understand how citizens relate to their cities and therefore how brands can connect with people in different cities and the roles they can play.

The study examined Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata through the seven principal life themes of Survival, Pleasure, Power, Love, Creative Expression, Transcendence and Spirituality.

The qualitative study involved Depth Interviews with journalists, RJs, psychiatrists, advertising professionals, HR consultants and Focus Group Discussions amongst citizens of each city, a mix of men and women, young adults, long term residents and recent settlers.

If the essence of each city could be captured in one thought, it would be:
  • Mumbai: OPPORTUNITY
  • Delhi: POWER
  • Chennai: BALANCE/MODERATION
  • Kolkata: ROMANCING THE INTELLECT
While the quintessential citizen of each city would be:
  • Mumbai-ite: Self-absorbed survivor
  • Delhi-ite: Judgmental power seeker
  • Chennai-ite: Deceptive understater
  • Kolkata-ite: Threatened drifter
"While it is only natural for great thirst for political power in the city due to its capital status, there is also a lot of craze for power on the social front also here" - Delhi resident

Delhi is the seat of power in India, not only political but also social. Everything is about oneupmanship over the neighbour, showing off, and using influence and the power of contacts to live above rules and regulations. On the other hand, Mumbai is driven by the idea of "Opportunity". Its citizens are goal oriented and competitive, and feel the environment fosters creativity and innovation, giving people repeated chances at success. Day to day living is a struggle and you have to go with the flow. There is no room for whining, and no time to be concerned about others, which is why the Mumbai citizen is best described as the Selfabsorbed Survivor.

"Survival is the art of living in Mumbai... In Mumbai, it is difficult to survive and also easy to survive... you just have to be a little street smart" - Mumbai resident Contrastingly, Kolkata's citizens prefer to drift along, and take life as it comes. They like to describe their life as a struggle but in a "happily whining" manner. It is a city in which people take great care in nurturing relationships with family and friends and where people value creativity above all. Writers, painters, speakers and other artists are highly revered. The typical Kolkatan ranks intellectual power higher than power derived through money, which is in contrast to the Delhi-ite who thinks "Affluence is Power".

"Every other person in this city considers himself a poet" "Kolkata is known for its book fairs...over here, book shops are big... everybody buys, everybody reads" - Kolkata resident

Mumbai strongly subscribes to the Survival theme, while Delhi predominantly subscribes to the Power theme. Kolkata is a city where the Creative Expression and Love themes define every aspect of their life.

The study revealed that, Chennai, India's southern metro, is balanced across all the 7 life themes. Full of dichotomies, Chennai's high society life flourishes but is hidden; Chennaiites are competitive but not openly so; helpful but want gratitude; want to experiment but not cross the line; seemingly self- satisfied, but always conscious that it is "not as fashionable as" or "not as progressive as" some of the other cities. Chennai-ites think they are of superior intelligence but will not openly stake their claim, rather feeling that others should recognise and appreciate them.

"Chennai can be called the city of balance... I hate them calling the city conservative" - Chennai resident

The study has evolved a model which describes the roles that brands can play to become an integral part of the cities.



* Brand ChakrasTM is a proprietary tool of JWT India and the first eastern framework in consumer behaviour and brand study.

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