The definition of India continues to evolve. It is not easy to figure out how to market the same product to urban and rural India in different ways.
Metros and Tier I cities have different attitudes and needs of consumers compared to Tier II and III cities.
The good part about the mindset of the people of India is that they are more interactive today than they were in the past.
The divide has begun to diminish due to the boom in literacy rates and better penetration of the internet which has enabled a better media reach. Consumers have a better idea of the market because of the reduced cost of mobile devices and internet packages.
According to Rohan Mascarenhas, Head- Brand and Marketing Communication, VECV, the democratisation of technology has led to Bharat expressing their opinions and exercising their choices through digital platforms, which was previously restricted to India.
The purchasing power of Bharat is similar to India and marketers need to take advantage of it. Despite the fact that they are comfortable mainly in the regional language, I think the unmet needs and ambitions of a certain socio-economic class are the same.
The challenge of pricing and distribution has been there for a long time in rural counterparts of the country, so the bigger challenge for any marketer is to set up clear and differentiating proposition and variant launches for Bharat.
Marketers have two tasks- one is to cultivate aspiration in rural markets for their urban products and the other is to make it more affordable for consumers in the rural areas so that they don't feel alienated due to the expensive and out-of-reach quotients for them to stay with the
Mascarenhas suggested that the marketing programs and advertising campaigns should be based on the same behavioural insights, with the right language and relevant cultural nuances, in order to connect withBharat.
The marketing game will be won by engaging content. He said that it can be equally effective if done correctly.
In order to penetrateBharat marketing as a whole will see a shift towards inclusivity in contrast to the current practices which are a bit more exclusive.
Content that is more similar to 'Bharat' will be a major part of marketing strategies. Increasing consumer awareness in these zones, as well as the search for products that are valued for money, are some of the factors that have fueled brands to target Bharat.
The customer living in India are in a comparatively fast-paced environment and are looking for on-the-go, result driven, quick.
He said that as marketers their objectives turn more towards getting the customer to try the product first rather than strategising on retention.
The sales and distribution scenario changes when it comes to India as the customer is someone who will go by word of mouth and buy a product or will shop online without even looking at the product.
Since the offline market in India will mostly be in modern trade, the retail penetration needs to be very high. In order to crack the general trade, brands need men on the ground and there is a lot of offline work.
Why do brands have to pay attention to the divide between India andBharat?
Content in regional languages and affordability of data are some of the trends that have added to the divide in India.
There are big differences between the two countries in terms of leisure activities, use of the internet, eating out, and ordering in amongst others. She said things like gender roles and their influence on brand choice are different.
The attitude towards authority and larger family is different in both areas in the country.
The concept of rural and urban India is not new according to The Rethink Company's founder and CEO. He said that it became part of marketing discussions even before Big B said that there are two Indias.
Two Indias that are separated by their approaches to life and living, their view of success, their priorities, their values and their impact in the way they view brands or decide between them
It is not surprising that marketers need to address the differences between India in different ways.
With time, the definition ofBharat and India has changed according to Nisha Sampath.
Most of the time, the expectation is that India will jump aboard as this was ingrained in the strategy of going after the mass.
She said that when the D2C brands came into the picture, they began to see the Indian market in the niche and began finding value in smaller things.
At this point in time, the definition of India began to change and the trends began to show that a lot of the D2C sales were coming from smaller towns.
The needs and ambitions are the same for both India andBharat.
According to Yesudas S Pillai, the founder and CEO of Y&A Transformation, 70% of India's population live in rural areas.
I remember seeing data that categorized the rich with income greater than 1 million per annum and the poor with income less than 500,000 per annum. The total households in urban areas accounted for more than half of the total households in rural areas.
It has been a foregone conclusion that there is an opportunity for marketers beyond the metros and mini metros as these markers are becoming fiercely competitive.
Voice and Vernacular are predicted to be ruling digital's future because of the proportion of digital penetration which Jio added or the data on content consumption across the last few years. The days of struggle are over.
Is it necessary for brands to have a different approach to cater to India.
The context of the story has to be different for advertisers to communicate the same message. There are differences in what they shop, how often they shop, brand loyalty, and the role of retailers.
While English is still seen as a skill to be acquired, the regional language is often seen as an everyday language. While the same message may work, the context, casting and language need to be changed for India. While smart mobile devices are well penetrated, TV is still very important to reach the various constituencies.
According to Sen, the strategy to differentiate usually involves a larger emphasis on digital for India and a dependence on traditional media.
When brands speak in English with India, they switch to the language of the country. He said that brands tend to lean on different groups of people when they need to go deeper in the country.
In a few rare cases, marketers have been resorting to different communication based on different insights for India and Bharat, and in cases where they don't, the communication is often 'watered down' to be understood by everyone.
Sampath believes that theBharat-India divide is more of a generation difference than an urban and rural one.
In order for brands to reach out to the northern and southern audiences, they tend to find a balance in terms of celebrities who are known to both audiences, as well as the targeting of the communication.
When digital came in, it became easier for brands to reach out to people, but earlier on, in advertising, ATL and BTL activities were the key ways of reaching out to people.
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