How To Do Branding For Rural Market
Stiff competition in the metros and big cities has pushed the corporate houses in the Indian market to go rural for revenue generation. The saturated urban market and cutthroat competition among the market players have taken a toll on margins, operating in urban areas. It has created an atmosphere for the marketers to rush to the rural population and predictions are on, that the rural markets are also going to be competitive in the near future to come. So, the marketers ought to take things urgently to establish product brands at the earliest to tap the untamed rural market.
Proper research and studies required for branding in rural markets. It shouldn’t be something like extending the brand of the product used in urban areas to the rural market. Undermining the brand power for rural markets may harm the company beyond its expectation. So, here we will see how brands can be created and developed for rural markets.
Step 1: Select a brand name
Do some research on the target market and try to observe their culture, tradition, language, education and most importantly their likings. If you take these things into consideration, you may realise that the rural people are much comfortable and feel at home with simple names, local and culturally bonded. Even the multinational companies like Samsung, LG and many more have created products and brands incommensurate with the mentality of the rural people. Samsung has named one of its mobile series as ‘Guru’. ‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit word which means the teacher whose position is very respectable in our society.
People find this type of names very native and feel comfortable in using it. The brand name and pricing of the mobile phones were done by Samsung India keeping in mind the rural population of the Country. And it proved to be a very successful brand.
Step 2: Positioning brand
It means take your brand name is such a position that it is embedded in the minds of the people. Obviously, a ‘desi’ (local) approach has a better reachability than any other techniques inculcated globally. Regional or local names, tag-lines and slogans in native languages, describing features in easy and lucid languages, easy to remember symbols, advertisements in vernacular languages etc. work better in penetrating rural and semi-rural markets. For example, Shree Cement Limited has introduced a cement named Shree Ultra Jung Rodhak (Anti Rust) Cement. This brand created an image in the minds of the people especially in rural areas that this is the cement that protects your house from rusting. The idea clicks and a notion is created among the masses which stimulates revenues.
Step 3: Enhancing recognition
Your brand needs a recognition which is beyond your practiced business techniques. It’s the identification mark that creates a space for you. For example, your logo or symbol with materialistic element surrounding us draws more attention than abstract arts. Suppose you are using a symbol of small metallic water pot (‘lota’ in Hindi) on a matchbox produced by you. Rural people where the literacy rate is not that high, they remember such things very easily. They will go to the shop and say ‘lota wala machish dena’; please give me the match with a symbol of ‘lota’. Here is your victory.
Step 4: Building brand image
Try to create a brand having a personality, especially in the eyes of rural people. The brand name should be such, that radiates respect, proud and trust. Like Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Introduced tractor series brands like Arjun, Yuvraj, Swaraj etc. People like these names and associate them with the statures.
Step 5: Countering spurious brands
This is what differentiates branding in urban areas to rural areas. Sounds odd, but the fact is your own brand has to fight against lots of brands that look alike, spells alike and the products which look desperately duplicate. Manufacturers of such spurious brands mostly ride piggyback on the advertising campaign of large players and establish their own brands in the region. Since rural customers are less literate and exposed to various brands only through media, the chances of their going to the market brand recall and being duped are high. This eventually affects their post-purchase decisions and can harm the image of the company.
A new study has revealed that branding with social perspective especially in the rural areas has better exposure than anything else. It means the companies interested in augmenting brand value should tie up or associate or sponsor social causes of upliftment. On the one hand, it will advertise about the brands’ presence in the market which the Company is striving for and on the other, the social living standards of the people can be exalted. For example, detergent and soap manufacturing companies are involving themselves in the awareness programs addressing hand sanitation and hygiene.