Building Brands for Rural India

Topics: Marketing, Population, City Pages: 10 (2251 words) Published: October 20, 2010
“Building Brands for Rural India”


Himanshu Shekhawat


Department of Management Studies,

Poornima Group of Colleges,

ISI-2, Sitapura Institutional Area,


E mail:


India is a very large country with 3,700 towns and 6, 00,000 villages. A rural market is a village with a population of less than 5000. But since the larger villages and the smaller towns are witnessing an explosion in growth, they are collectively known as rural markets. The Paper criticizes the urban marketers who try to create brands for rural India in a half- hearted manner. It explains that the urban marketers take the urban product, tweak it a little bit and make it rugged (and in some cases even of lower quality) before realizing it in low unit packs into the rural market.

When it comes to promotion they take the standard urban storyboard and make a film in Hindi or other vernacular languages. It points out that generations of wrong advertising and marketing norms have in fact punctured the ego of the rural markets. Marketers traditionally use intrusive and alien questionnaire formats on rural respondents. It advocates creation of brands, keeping in mind the rural perspective and ending the current one – sided branding that makes the rural man “a consumptive animal of cornflake and dog biscuit alike.” Lastly, the Paper strongly suggests eco – friendly packaging of goods, which would address the key issue of disposal.


“If large firms approach the market with the BOP (Bottom of the Pyramid) consumer’s interest at heart, it can also lead to significant growth and profits for them.”

C.K. Prahalad

Increasingly, more companies are turning to rural markets to expand the scope of their operations and also to pre-empt competition. Rural markets are tomorrow’s markets and the marketer should know how to penetrate these markets. This is not just because 70 percent of India’s population still lives in rural areas, but because of the sweeping changes that are occurring here.

Urban markets are increasingly become competitive and in many products, perhaps, even getting saturated. Consider the case of toiletries, packaged tea, dry cell batteries, and even electronics and entertainment products. For most of them, the demand seems to have reached a saturation level. That entire one sees is brand switching behavior. Nor limited new demand seems to be getting generated. In such a situation, one of the growth strategies is to find new markets for existing goods. Companies that have expanded in these areas find that they are able to ward off competition, generate new demand, and in turn, increase their sales or profits. Today, many more firms are reaching out to these markets. Products being promoted range from television and two in ones to toiletries, packaged goods, financial instruments. Rural markets today offer growth opportunities to firms caught in intensive inter firm rivalry in urban and metro markets.

There are two Indians in India. Real India and Virtual India. By Virtual India, we mean the population living in Urban India- which comprise one fourth of the populace. Consumers in the Virtual India have developed new capabilities. There is a substantial increase in buying power. Buyers here are only a click away from comparing competitor prices and product attributes on the internet. Here a great variety of goods and services are available and buyers can order goods online from anywhere in the world bypassing local offerings and realizing great savings by ordering great savings by ordering in countries with lower prices. An urban consumer has great amount of information about practically anything.

Real India is the place where around 70 per cent of the Indian populace (around three fourth) lives here. It is populous, multi cultural and multi faceted. This is the residence of the arts, the culture, the food, the ethnic fashion, the agriculture...
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