Adaptation of products to consumer culture


In this article when we discuss on ‘Adaptation’ it means making the product to suit the consumers region or country so that it is operational and functional in the regional circumstances.

When international brands come to India they strive hard to fit in. Their design follows a rigorous survey of Indian habits. For example the Americans keep washing machines in their kitchens while in India it is kept next to the wash room. That gave LG the manufacturer of washing machines the idea of rust free paints for the washing machine’s body. Another factor was that these washing machines were turning out to be good rat breeding places. To counter this, the manufacturer designed and attached rat meshes below these washing machines..

Unlike Americans Indians do not store vegetables in their refrigerators for long. Indians prefer to purchase and use the vegetables on daily basis. Here the manufacturer has installed infra red lamps inside the refrigerator, stimulate water molecules and give a fresh and moist look to the vegetables.

Hyundai adapted its Santro for India by making doors wider and giving the car a higher ground clearance so that the saree clad women can get in and out easily. Fashion also dictates a lot of color.

All over the world gadgets make people behave different ways and these ways provide curious insights into the minds of disparate cultures. In India electronics is ushering in some unique behavioral patterns. Let us take the case of Symphony Air cooler. The designer says that they created confusion between Air cooler and Air Conditioner as middle class Indian has no snob value for Air cooler. The demand for such a modified designed Air cooler Symphony has picked up in such a way that within 3 years its prices shot up from Rs 3500 to Rs 7000.

Our struggle with frequent power cuts made storing the blackish looking inverters causing embarrassment to the house owner. The manufacturer/designer gave the inverters a new look and colors so people could proudly display it in the living room. It has luminous

looks and looks like a computer. The Nokia 1100 (inverter) is especially dust resistant to suit Indian conditions and it also has a torch light to help the person navigate during power cuts.

Traditional Indian products also inspire modern design in many ways. Designers like to call them ‘metaphors’. The washing machine with a sloping top, for instance, was derived from the shape of the stone used by earlier Indian washer men (of clothes) to wash clothes.

Elgi wet grinders were also a result of the needs of the urban south Indian who had no time or energy to use the grinding stone and did not believe in mixers. Designers incorporated the traditional black stone in the automatic grinder.

The preference of colors is also different from one region to the other even in the same country. LG, the manufacturer found 605 of the people in the north preferred grey whereas in the south and the west the preferred colors were Red and Blue. So they included various variants of colors like burgundy red and wine red in their refrigerators.

With some more technological aid the Indian poor would benefit more. There is an effort in this country to make phone navigation possible through voice than through buttons. Even existing Nokia phones can be easily altered to aid them with the help of the software and by adding extra buttons. A farmer in Haryana was carrying an ipod Nano. He had purchased it because he could easily carry it in his tobacco packet.