Branding involves a gamut of activities, the total of which leads to creating the brand. But when the scenario is looked at under the rural market lens, the variables and dynamics of marketing and communication get redefined. Let’s take India’s case, a country that is witnessing robust growth and a booming economy.
The country’s growth is happening at a steady rate as foreign funds flow to fund infrastructure and consumer markets that seek to tap the rural domains extensively. How do the dynamics change with the change of settings, i.e., from an urban market towards rural markets? Are the rules different in this case? Well, the rules may be the same, but the perspective of approaching things might be different. In other words, it calls for looking at the scenario with a rural and pragmatic lens.
Many unsaid dicta of rural communication are being used effectively by leading advertising houses like O&M to market brands. Most of these are subject to terrain, demographics, & psychographics of the different rural regions in the country.
So, devising an effective rural communication campaign calls for a few caveats and imperatives that cannot be ignored. A few measures which could prove effective in rural communications are:
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Understanding the Audience
The psyche of the audience is of foremost importance when it comes to communicating messages related to brands. People or consumers in each region have their own set of idiosyncrasies and dogmas deeply rooted in their rituals and customs. So, what would apply to one would in all certainty not apply to another set of consumers in a different rural region.
As people in each region have their own cultures and rituals, this implies they have their set of symbols or identifiers which, once identified, could be used in a very effective manner. This is conveyed through wall painting which still conveys in rural parts of India, places like villages where colorfully painted walls become the center of attraction. As the communities are closed in nature, people passing by the walls notice the product, which leads to high brand recall value.
Apart from the symbols, there could be other aspects such as worship where crowds throng in large numbers. So, O&M used this very effectively for Lifebuoy by conveying the message of safe health by propagating it through Gurudwaras. They put up banners and billboards which emphasized the importance of using soaps for good health.
Use of Common Sense
It often happens that in a bid to look at minuscule aspects revolving around marketing, Brand managers in advertising firms fail to apply common sense- A tool that comes in as a very potent measure in rural communication.
An example of the same could be seen in the visual communication used by O&M to bring out the difference in loose and packed tea by drawing a parallel to healthy and inferior grains, a correlation that worked instantly in the rural communities which depend on agriculture for livelihood.
Advertising firms could resort to visible means of communication that percolates into the community’s daily lives by branding objects used by the community people. This could range from their buckets to painting wells, which could lead to high brand recall value.
These were just a few thoughts that could go a long way when it came to effective communication aimed at a rural audience, and these are not the only ones. While devising the communication strategy for an audience that has a different way of viewing and perceiving things, it is the behavior that needs to be addressed and not just mere superficial needs.
Well, there exist many more but most of them adhere to one primary line when it comes to the rural audience – Me, Myself, and My Community.