Mapping and interpreting socio-cultural change in urban India: Mining cultural tension to drive brand resonance

Satyam Viswanathan
The Third Eye


This paper examines how discourses around multiple, publicly visible arenas in modern society not only shape the zeitgeist, but also often contain internal contradictions that give rise to cultural tensions. Brands that tap into these tension points build memorable, differentiated, and emotionally resonant identities for themselves. Using the richness of semiotic and cultural analysis to help brands build relevance with moving targets, this paper advocates for businesses to engage more frequently with social sciences.


Brands, both global and local, tend to be on the lookout for positioning platforms that are in sync with the new meanings and ways of being that are being proposed in the fast changing developing countries of Asia - home to more people than the rest of the world combined. However traditional research methods are often not very helpful in telling the story of broader social transformation, explaining the 'why's' behind the change, and interpreting these for brands in an actionable manner.