Meena Kaushik started her journey as an academic studying the symbolism of death rituals in Hinduism. She conducted extensive fieldwork amongst the Doms of Varanasi, a low caste community working in the city’s cremation grounds, for her Ph.D. in Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics.
She ventured into qualitative market research by accident and fell in love. Her training in ethnography deepened how consumer behaviour, consumer culture and consumer psyche were being understood in India in the mid to late 1980s.
A consulting stint with the Indian Market Research Bureau soon became a full fledged position and she helped found the qualitative division at MARG as a Director of Qualitative Research. Kaushik adapted anthropological methods, semiotics, and social psychology to qualitative market research problems in India, giving qualitative approaches a credibility they’d never had in the past.
In 1990 she founded Quantum Consumer Solutions with Srilekha Agarwal and Meera Vasudevan, Asia’s first purely qualitative research firm. Today Quantum has operations in seven countries with 220 employees.
Dr. Meena Kaushik takes us through her story from the revolutionary idea in the late 1970s of applying semiotics to brand and mar…