India has been an emerging market that is witnessing radical changes in the lifestyles and the spending patterns of customers. There has been a significant change (post-liberalization) in terms of the manner in which consumers look at their self-concept. Exposure to western ways and lifestyles through mass media, availability of discretionary income and the impact of reference group appeals are some of the important aspects that have created interest towards products and services associated with beauty care among consumers. Customers have been used to branded creams and lotions, and several of these offerings are being advertised with strong symbolic appeals associated with enhanced self-concepts. Kaya was also a brand in the beauty care category. However, the brand’s offerings dealt with medically anchored services intended to enhance the looks of the customers. The brand opened up a new facet of beauty care services that was associated more with up-market and state-of-the-art hospitals, where customers opted for these services under the supervision of doctors who had specialized in cosmetic surgeries/interventions. Would the differentiation between the first-time users of a beauty parlor and the loyal customers of a parlor offer insights that Kaya would find useful? Issues related to services management as well as customer value and customer loyalty were relevant to Kaya’s competitive strategies. Although the customers of a beauty parlor could be demographically different from Kaya’s customers, the commonality of the benefits related to the beauty services offered were the same. The case is about how a brand that had created a category would find it useful to draw insights on brand loyalty from a related category that does not compete with it directly. Such a dimension of competitive learning is perhaps unique to an emerging market such as India.
*To enable students of Consumer Behavior to apply the basics of services to consumer decision-making processes.
*To enable the students to understand the differences between “first-time consumers” and loyal consumers in services (beauty care services in this case study).
*Consumer Behavior students in an emerging market such as India need to work with challenges that are unique to the Indian context. The case study deals with the unique situation of an emerging category (technology-based beauty care in the consumer market and not the conventional medical market) that does not face direct competition from a related category (beauty parlor) delivering the same benefit. Students learn concepts related to thought process application that will help them deal with unique challenges in the Indian context.