Mr. R. V. Rajan
Date: 8 December, 2010
BRAND BUILDING IN RURAL MARKETS
We had the privilege of having with us one of the doyens of the advertising industry, Mr. R.V.Rajan. He is the founder and Managing Director of Anugrah Marketing and Advertising Services Pvt ltd. With over 42 years of experience in the advertising field, he has worked with Clarion, Grant Kenyon & Eckhardt to name a few. The colloquia centred on the importance of rural marketing in the current industry scenario.
Rural marketing is gaining immense influence in our country where more than 73% of the population lives in the rural areas. Mr. R.V.Rajan started off the colloquia by answering the most typical question as to why the companies should bring their focus to rural marketing. To this he answered that, there have been a proliferation of brands in urban areas and now it has almost reached a saturation level. Also there is greater awareness among the rural people with ever growing aspirations! He also emphasised on the need of rural communication as we are witnessing an increasing income in the rural areas.
The next fifteen to twenty minutes dealt with the challenges that the companies have to face while entering the rural markets that include poor literacy levels, poor media reach and diversely spread audiences. The golden rule of rural marketing is to invest in the right communication package aimed at specific target audience.
Rural India has been experiencing tremendous changes over the years in terms of economic, social and technological progress. Women folk play a much greater role now and in some cases are the sole bread winners of the family. Youth are forming opinion groups and community leaders are taking part in decision making. The companies have to be careful while conveying their message to the rural masses as they cannot be easily hoodwinked with the spurious and duplicate brands. The rural people are very conscious of the value of money, have different perceptions, traditions etc. Hence companies should incorporate all these while designing their ad campaigns. He also discussed the various methodologies adopted by multitudinous companies on brand building in rural areas.
The last half of the session focussed on the dark consequences that some companies had to face as their marketing strategy failed to please the rural masses. The reason for this is attributed to the difference in comprehension between the urban and rural people. Moreover the companies should not generalise rural folks and should take into consideration the cultural differences existing among different regions of our country.
As it is truly said that all is well that ends well! Mr. Rajan concluded the session with the success stories of different multinational companies who made their mark among the rural masses. Companies like HUL, Philips and Titan adopted different strategies for urban and rural audience which made a good headway among the rural community. Overall it was an amazing experience which not only gave an insight into this arena but also got us all into thinking!
By – Aditi P. Menon