The case is about Inscape, a Bangalore-based Indian entrepreneurial company in the category of furniture attempting to develop a brand. Since times immemorial, humans have expressed their “one-upmanship” in a variety of ways. Consumer behavior has a ‘`self-concept’’ component that is reflected in the symbolic behavior of consumers. Products, brands, and possessions of consumers form a symbolic part of their self-concept. Status orientation, reflection of lifestyles, and a sense of belongingness are some of the universal themes associated with symbolism. There are three aspects that form the highlights of the case. Emerging markets such as India are closely following western symbolism with regard to possession and consumption of products and brands. The case develops a historical perspective on the category by dividing the timeline into three periods of time frame that stretches from the pre-independence to the post-liberalization era. The influence of imperial lifestyles on the Indian cultural landscape is captured in the case. The second aspect is the unorganized nature of the furniture industry. An unorganized industry structure in the Indian context means several unbranded offerings are a part of the industry. Many of these offerings may be of sub-standard quality, may not have typical distribution channels and most importantly these offerings are priced much lower than the branded offerings. Around 90% of the industry is characterized by the unorganized sector. The third aspect of the case is the challenge in the formulation of a marketing strategy that can be extracted from cultural symbolism and self-concepts associated with the category.
The three major aspects are set in the backdrop of a consumer survey among two prospective groups consumers and the survey delves into the behavioral dimensions associated with self-concept and cultural symbolism associated with furniture as a part of the Indian culture.