This blog is based on the findings of the primary research conducted in 4 metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata) during the Covid19 lockdown (May 2020) by Inxise Datalabs. For more information on detailed research finding please contact the author


HOUSEWIFE (DELHI): ek bada change yeh aaya hai ki ghar pe maida ka use bahut bad gaya hai [One big change is that we have started using a lot of all-purpose flour in our house]

MODERATOR: Maida? Kyon? [Why?]

HW: Cakes banane ke liye. Bhature, pizza, samosa vagarah bhi [To make cakes. Also, Bhaturas, pizzas, samosas]

M: Pehle nahin banate the? [Did you not make them earlier]

HW: Abhi zyada bana rahein hain [We are doing it more frequently now]

M: Kyon [Why?]

HW: Bachchon ko engage rakhne ke liye [To keep the kids engaged]





HW: Cakes ki photo pe Instagram pe bahut like aate hain [I get a lot of likes when I post the pictures of my cakes on Instagram]

So went the conversation in our online focus group discussion last week. The question therefore is: is the cake [and other delicacies] being baked for keeping the kids engaged or getting social media likes? Or are both these objectives satiating the same underlying need- a need for validation?

Validation is acceptance, encouragement, or praise received for one’s actions or experiences. One of the ways that the pandemic has altered our lives is by curtailing social interactions and, consequently, any form of social validation you receive from it. No longer can you call friends over and show-off the new showpiece you got for your livingroom. No longer can you cook them a nice dinner and savour the praise you receive. No longer can you post your latest vacation pictures and collect social media likes.

Yet, validation is an addiction. Once we are used to it, we seek it out. How do we, in our present circumstances, find validation. Offline interactions are barred and buying is limited to the essentials. Social media is the only source to seek validation. But what do you post at times when you can not step out of your house? What do you post at a time when personal grooming has taken a hit- with all the salons being closed? Posting about cooking provides a potential option. But daal-roti does not make for a good social media post. And well, if they can’t have bread, let them eat cake!

So, what can social media marketers learn from the quest for social validation? Consumers are looking for ideas they can post about. Can Pidilite run a #FixedItwithFevikwik challenge to encourage consumers to post pictures of items they fixed using Fevikwik? Can Tropicana run a #LockdownMocktails campaign where consumers post innovative mocktail recipes and pictures? Can L’Oreal run a #MaskwithMascara campaign to encourage its consumers to post selfies with a mask and mascara?

But would it work? For example, would people buy a mascara to post selfies? The lipstick index suggests that they would. Lipstick index, first proposed by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder suggests an increase in sales of small luxuries such as lipstick (or mascara) during a recession or a crisis. Lauder based it on the fact that the Estee Lauder lipstick sales doubled in the months that followed the 9/11 attacks. Subsequent researches have shown a correlation between recession and lipstick sales.

With masks being the order of the day, mascara would be a more conspicuous fashion choice. A #MaskwithMascara campaign would promote product usage and sales and, also promote a socially relevant message- wear a mask.

Lockdown can curtail an individual physically, but not their need for validation. Understanding this need and how consumers are fulfilling them in the Covid-19 driven changes to their lives would be critical. Only with this understanding would the marketers be able to design impactful and engaging campaigns

This blog is based on the findings of the primary research conducted in 4 metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata) during the Covid19 lockdown (May 2020) by Inxise Datalabs. For more information on detailed research finding please click here email us