Thursday, March 27, 2008


Session on rural media , promotion and below-the-line (BTL) activities
by Mr.R.V.Rajan, Chairman, Anugrah Madison Advertising Pvt. Ltd.
& President, Rural marketing Agencies Association of India (RMAAI)

“Known is a drop, Unknown is an ocean”-Well, why am I making statements like this? No , no, hang on...I am not getting into explaining the meaning of any spiritual aphorism overhere.I just didn’t know how to start sharing with you the essence of a fantastic session with Mr R V Rajan, Chairman, Anugrah Madison , where we got exposed to the real, raw ,rugged and Incredible rural India in its purest form.

Yes, it was quite an eye opening session that taught us the realities of India in its rural form and how marketers are realizing the existence of such a market quite late in the day. Never mind, it’s never too late to begin.

There is enough fortune lying at the bottom of the pyramid, it’s essential for the marketers to realize this and start channelizing their resources in the right way to make optimal use of it. Mr. Rajan, the veteran rural marketing professional, who knows in and out of rural India, started off explaining the importance of marketing in the rural India.

It was really heartening to see that there has been some progress in the rural and once neglected parts of our country, which has enabled in the segmentation of rural population as ‘Rich’ rural, rural middle class and the bottom of the pyramid class. The marketers have also started understanding the fact that products and choices of people hailing from these parts are extremely different and it requires a complete change in the way they are communicated to these people.

Here the role of media and its coverage is very vital. The different forms of media and the impact each one has on them explains the usage of a particular form of communication to reach them .Did you know that the largest circulated vernacular news paper in our country is ”Dainik Jaagran”?..This circulation of this news paper proves beyond point that the level of literacy is increasing in our country and there are more and more people who still believe in the power of a written word.

The session was interspersed with his experiences during the design and successful implementation of an IMC campaign for Philips in the rural parts of Tamil Nadu during the 90’s. It was really enlightening to see the way they had gone about making Philips a brand to reckon with in the parts of Tamil Nadu where earlier it was struggling to get a strong foothold. The integrated marketing communication, weaved as "Enga veetu superstar campaign" (Super star of our house) involved positioning the brand as ‘Super Star’ among the consumer durables available and thereby making it’s Top of Mind recall value high. The film actor Rajini kant is an undisputed superstar in Tamilnadu. The campaign cleverly used this insight but produced great result with out uttering the name Rajini kant even for once.

The campaign became "maa inti megastar" in rural Andhra as the cult figure of Telugu filmdom Chiranjeevi is referred as Megastar by the fans.

The route they took to go about accomplishing this task was through the Opinion Leaders. In the rural sectors, the Opinion Leaders are the people to be targeted .These people have a influential quotient when it comes to the sale of high involvement products. Hence if one is able to convince these people about the product’s superiority, it will go a long way in building the brand image of the product in the consumer’s mind. This campaign was carried out for nearly 6 months , with varied intensities across the region. At the end of it, Philips became the market leader in this segment and attained a immovable place in the consumer’s mind. Such was the power of specialised communication in reaching to the rural masses.

The second day sessions had still more interesting case-studies on ACC Cements, Shriram group, Marico's Parachute etc. We were really thrilled to see the kind of customer involvement brought out by the Anugrah-Madison team in Hubli for a an un-exciting commodity like Cement !!! The video session enlightened us on various ways of engaging the rural audience with games, stage shows etc....not just off the cuff...but cleverly built events around the brand and its promise. Another great case was about bring the rural womenfolk, who are normally aloof , to the front rows for the promotion on Parachute. A simple insight of doing the event by trained women helped in overcoming the first barrier. Rest was followed by meticulously planned activities around the brand.

Very few people have the knack of understanding and doing what is otherwise considered to be impossible. They see the word impossible as i m possible,..that’s the difference., Mr.Rajan personified this positive attitude as far as reaching out to the rural hinterland is concerned. It was really a marketing eye-opener of our own country-side and brethren ! Thank You, Sir.

By Pradeep, Marcom Varsity,CBS

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