“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation”.
The main aim of the proposed study to provide greater and deeper insight in the field of marketing.
My research has helped me in understanding that the 21st century experienced India’s emergence as one of the players in the area of marketing, advertising and product promotion, which is already dominated by many global players. This study will prove to be beneficial not only for the producers but also the consumers as a source of information for them. This study will help the market strategist who are keen on making developmental plans for the rural market in India. Also, new innovation in marketing communication strategies can be discovered by catering to the needs of all advertising media. This innovation in communication strategy can then be used to effectively communicate the concepts in inclusive creative strategies due to the increase in the effectiveness of creative communicator’s competence in advertising – agencies. The principle of AIDA will be used in this study by evolving methods of providing rational communications ideas to create the best and “Out-of-the-Box” ideas in all media advertising campaigns.
The global market scenario is very competitive. Even the MNCs are finding it difficult to survive, grow, stabilize and excel in business. Thus, it has become very important to communicate to the target customers, salient aspects regarding their products and services based features.1
Social advertising is a useful tool of marketing communication and promotion that creates awareness among non-users, and persuades them to buy the same. It also helps to retain the existing customers. Further, if social advertising is done with ideal media planning, the communication effectiveness increases. Therefore, social advertising communication with innovative and strategic media planning is of great significance for promotion of the business in the present competitive scenario. Due to its great significance and scope in the present market this topic has been taken up for research.
1. Communication1 According to Harper, Douglas the activity of conveying information through exchange of thoughts, messages or information by speeches, visuals, signals, writings or behavior is called Communication. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more persons within or outside the group.
Communication can be defined as “any act by which one person gives to or receives from personal information about that person’s needs, desires, perceptions, .0and knowledge or effective states”. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or non-linguistic forms and may occur through spoken or other modes.
The communication process requires a sender, a message and a recipient. It is however, not necessary for the receiver to be aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus, communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication to be successful requires the communicating parties to share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender without any distortion.
2. Rural Market2
The Census of India (2001) defines any habitation with a population density of less than 400 per sq. km, where at least 75% of the male working population are engaged in agriculture and where there exists no municipality or board as a rural habitation. Thus, according to my research the rural population consists of 800 million inhabitants, accounting for 70% of the total Indian population.
While defining the market as rural, the following facts and figures should be considered:
a) According to the 2011 Census, India has more than 20,000 villages whose population ranges from 5,000-10,000. So any population cutoff criteria should definitely include these villages as rural areas. The majority of rural institutions, agricultural markets and rural banks are located in larger villages and towns, which have a population of up to 10,000. As the population crosses the figure, characteristics such as occupation, consumption and buying behavior show a marked change indicative of the transition from a rural to an urban/semi-urban set-up.
b) Many villages continue to retain their rural character, even after being notified as towns due to their economic growth over the last three or four decades
c) According to the data collected during my research, most of the companies in the FMCG sector, except Hindustan Unilever and ITC sector, define a rural set-up as any place with a population of up to 20,000, while durable and agro-input companies set the limit at 50,000.
2.1 Observing the rural marketing Mix and the challenges related to it
The 4 A’s of Rural Marketing:
The 4 A’s have evolved as great customer-oriented solutions in designing an appropriate strategy for rural markets. Affordability means that the product and service designed for rural markets should be affordable and hence, within their purchasing capacity. They should be readily available and reach the rural masses even in the interiors of the country via a good distribution channel network. The idea of rural-centric, below-the-line communication media should be used to spread awareness of products. Lastly, the product design should be done keeping the rural set up in mind. Ultimately, this is how a product will be readily acceptable and marketable to their target audience.
The key challenges involved in rural communication are- rural heterogeneity and spread, low literacy and varying comprehension abilities of rural consumers and differences in media reach and the habits of people. This problem in rural communication is further compounded by the heterogeneous nature of consumers, in terms of their languages.
Approximately, two-fifths of the rural population is illiterate and the literacy levels vary from one state to another. In this case, to make the communication effective the massage should be simple and it should be communicated through a visual form for better understanding. Another challenged that is faced in rural areas is the limited reach of mass media. Thus, a rural marketer should identify the most suitable media to reach the maximum target audience. This can achieved by profiling consumers in the given region and thereby building up the most effective and persuasive communication and promotional strategies to induce the target audiences to buy his product or service.
2.1.1Features of rural markets
The key features of the existing rural markets are:
-Large and scattered area
-Standards of living is low
-lack of good infrastructural facilities.
-Literacy rate is very low
The major problems faced in the rural areas of the Delhi –NCR outer villages are the lack of infrastructure, illiteracy, ethnic problems facing people, multiple dialects, and prevalence of ordinary brands, seasonal demands contributing to under-developed and dispersed markets.
2.1.2 Consumer buying behavior model in Rural India.
During my research I learnt that consumer buying behavior is influenced by four factors: cultural, social, personal and psychological. These factors can be used to identify buyers and serve them in a better way. Out of all the factors, the cultural factor is the most important determinant of an individual’s behavior in rural India. It includes cultural, social, customary and traditional aspects.
People are usually highly influenced by the preferences of other people around them like family, friends and neighbours and by roles and status. These play a major role in deciding the product and its brand.
A buyer’s decision is also largely influenced by personal characteristics like age and lifecycle stage, occupation, economic situation, lifestyle, personality and self-concept.
It is also essential for the marketer to understand the psychological factors like perceptions, beliefs and attitudes and suitably motivate prospective consumers to buy the products accordingly.
2.1.3Characteristics of the problems in Rural Communication are as follows:
Cultural and Linguistic Heterogeneity: The large numbers of consumers scattered across the country has posed enormous challenges to the rural marketers to communicate the right message to the right audience. Many villages are still beyond the reach of conventional media due to widespread geographical dispersion (638,000 villages in India). Even the use of unconventional media makes it almost unviable for the marketer to touch base with the widely scattered rural audience.
Low Literacy and Varying Comprehension Abilities: Around two-fifths of the rural population is illiterate and one-fifth hold matriculate and higher degrees. Thus, for effective communication with the less educated, it becomes necessary to focus on creating a simple message using self-explanatory visuals comprising storyboards, role plays and flip charts, rather than text for better understanding of the message.
Different Media Reach and Habits: As per the readership survey of 2011, television has the maximum reach in rural India with 45.4% of areas, cable and satellite with 32.6%, radio with 15.9%, press with 13.2%, cinema with 2% and internet with 8%4. The limited reach of mass media in rural areas and its regional and state variations pose limitations on a universal approach to communication for rural consumers.
2.1.4 Rural Communication in India
With the help of the data collected by me and on the basis of my observation during research, rural media can be classified broadly into conventional mass media and non-conventional rural centric media. Conventional media consist of radio, television, print, cinema, outdoor media, wall painting, hoarding and personalized media, point of purchase and direct mailers etc. On the other hand, non-conventional media includes rural centric media like video vans video raths, haats, melas and mandies as the platforms for communication as well as the traditional folk media. India’s multilingual and multi-cultural identity limits the role of mass media activities, particularly in rural areas. This gap is filled to a great extent through non-conventional, rural centric media like video vans, haat / mela / mandi campaigns, folk media, puppet shows, folk theatre, contests, trolleys, hoardings, leaflets, animal parade and mobile display.
1 (4 the readership survey 2011)
1. Hindustan Unilever Limited5
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is owned by Anglo-Dutch company called Unilever which owns more than 65% controlling share in HUL as of March 2015 and is the holding company of HUL. In India, it is headquartered at Mumbai. HUL’s products include foods, beverages, cleaning agents, personal care products and water purifiers. It employs more than 16,000 people and indirectly helps to facilitate the employment of over 65,000 people. Since June 2007 the Company is renamed as “Hindustan Unilever Limited”. Hindustan Unilever’s distribution covers over 2 million retail outlets across India directly and its products are available in over 6.4 million outlets in the country. As per Nielsen market research data, two out of three Indians use HUL products.
HUL provides 14 different categories in personal care, home and food products with 400 brands. No other company in India, touches as many people’s lives in so many different ways. The Company’s brand portfolio has made them the leader in every field. Some popular brands of the company include Lipton, Knorr, and Dove.
Mission Statement: Mission statement describes what an organization does, what market it serves and what it seeks to accomplish in the future. Mission statement serves as a guide for a day to day operation and the foundation for the future decision making. A strong mission statement builds commitment, loyalty and motivation.
Values and strategy: The purpose of the organization is to drive, to grow sustainably and thus create long term value for all those who have stakes in the business. The Company’s efforts are guided by their code of business principles which sets the standards of behavior of employees. It also outlines the commitments to stake holders including customers, suppliers, employees, communities and the environment.
HUL is the market leader in Indian consumer products with presence in over 20 consumer categories such as soaps, tea, detergents and shampoos amongst others with over 700 million Indian consumers using its products. Sixteen of HUL’s brands featured in the AC Nielsen Brand Equity list of 100 Most Trusted Brands Annual Survey (2014), carried out by Brand Equity, a supplement of The Economic Times.
The “most trusted brands” from HUL in the top 100 list (their rankings in brackets) are: Lux , Surf Excel , Clinic Plus, Rin Lifebuoy , Close up , Pond’s , Pepsodent , Fair & Lovely, Dove ,Sunsilk , Wheel , Vaseline , Pears , Lakme . The latest launches for Hindustan Unilever include: Knorr Chinese Noodles, Schezwan and Hot & Spicy, Lakme Absolute Sculpt Range, Lakme Lip Love, Magnum Choco Cappuccino and Axe Gold Temptation.
5 (www. Hindutal levers limiteds) , 6 (www. Lifebyoy 2010)
3.1.2 Brand story: Lifebuoy4
Lifebuoy was launched in 1894. Goal of the brand “lifebuoy” is to provide accessible hygiene and health solution with affordable price that would give people an opportunity to lead a life without fear and hygiene anxieties and health consequences. For the past 110 plus years of history, this brand has been championing to support life through its unbeatable protection. However, the brand has gone through different phases of evolution.
The early 1930’s campaign in the US was titled ‘clean hands help guard health’, encouraging the use of Lifebuoy soap to kill the germs on hands. Today similar campaigns continues with Lifebuoy hygiene program in countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam.
1. Internal and external business environment
Environmental analysis is the process of identifying and understanding emerging opportunities and threats. Some of the points of internal and external analysis are as follow.
– Technological, governmental, economic, cultural, demographic.
– Performance analysis: Profitability, sales, shareholder value analysis, customer satisfaction, product quality, brand associations, relative cost, new products, employee capability and performance, product portfolio analysis
– Customer analysis: Segments, motivations, unmet needs.
– Determinants of Strategic options: Past and current strategic problems, organizational capabilities and constraints, strengths and weaknesses.
– Competitor/ Industry analysis: Identity, strategic groups, performance, image, objectives, strategies, culture, cost structure,
– Market characteristics analysis: Size, projected growth, profitability, entry barriers, cost structure, distribution system, trends.
4.1 External Analysis
As a researcher I can say that people have different lifestyle, taste and preferences and budgets. Unilever is trying to make its product affordable to everyone by changing its technology according to the prevailing and emerging trends. Organization is carefully designing the soap bars or shower gels according to the different requirements which depend on the consumer taste and preferences. Organizations are making their decision depending on the customer analysis, available technology and market characteristics such as the size of the market, entry barriers and distribution system. 7
4.1.2 Internal Analysis
Internal analysis provides the detailed understanding of the strategically important aspects of the organization, which covers the performance analysis and key determinants of strategy. Performance analysis includes the profitability and sales, which provide an evaluation of past strategies and an indication of the current market viability of a product line. Product portfolio analysis considers the strength of each business where in the goal is to generate business mix with an appropriate balance between new and mature products. Determinants of strategic option include the past and current product strategic problem.
1. Marketing and Communication Strategy for promoting Lifebuoy
Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL) is one of the very few FMCG’s to be highly successful in rural India. It has been a pioneer in successfully reaching out to the smallest of the villages with innovative products. HUL is also open to the idea of building rural-specific brands since it will only dispel the marketing media effort for the brands. Today, HUL’s brands have become household names. No one knows Indian consumers better than HUL. The Company has access to both global and local research, technology and development teams with full support by its nation-wide manufacturing and distribution network.
Marketing strategy can not only define the business goals but also help to develop the activities to achieve them. Thus, a well-planned marketing strategy can be vital to the growth of the business. The first thing required to make a market strategy is the company’s unique selling proposition (that feature which makes the product distinct of the market). What is unique in the product? Why should the consumer choose the product? These are the questions which are required to be addressed in the strategic plan. The next thing is the target market and segment. Now the next step is the positioning of the product, and finally the marketing method. India is the major market for Lifebuoy. Lifebuoy is the leading brand in India.
7 (Mills, 2005, p50)
Lifebuoy’s goal is to provide affordable and accessible hygiene and health solutions which enable the people to lead a life without fear of lack of hygiene and anxieties and health consequences. While targeting India for Lifebuoy, product will get the large portion of the rural market. Rural customers are generally the daily wage earners and thus they don’t have the monthly income so the strategy is to figure out what attracts the rural consumer. It also requires change in the packaging size. It is therefore concluded that the rural consumers in India are looking for the low unit price pack. So the packaging is done in the smaller units and lower price packs were produced to increase their affordability. Lifebuoy should target the other market segment as the people who are using the shower gel and the bath gel.
Rural India has ample opportunities all waiting to be harnessed for the much-needed volumes. Not astonishingly, it has become the latest marketing catchword for most FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) majors. Some of the requisites for making an impression in the rural market include:
1) Strong distribution channel
2) Minimum profit margin
3) Simple yet focused marketing message
4) Low-priced packs to increase affordability
5) Packaging in smaller units and localized design to attracts consumers
6) Convenience of storage while use
7) Thorough knowledge of the village psyche
In brief, the strategy revolves around what attracts rural consumers to a product.
Lifebuoy Swastha Chetna: Lifebuoy introduced an innovative communication package called the Swastha Chetna to build a better brand image in rural market. The intent behind this campaign was to facilitate the behavioral change in favor of soap usage among school going children. They targeted children in the age group of 5-13 years, studying in primary and middle schools. A range of activities for children like quizzes, games, songs, pictorial storytelling through flip charts, and the popular GLO-GERM demonstration kit, which showed the germs present when they rinsed their hands with only water- was organized as part of the program. This was a multi-phased activity during which HUL representatives initiated contact with students and influencers in the rural community, like the panchyat bodies, anganwadi workers, medical practitioners and school teachers, to further promote this initiative and gain a larger acceptance within the community.
(1 Bharat (2008) “Rural Marketing in India-With Special Reference to Agricultural Produce in India.” 123eng.com
2 Katiyar Ruchi, C.K.Prahalad(2000), Rural marketing: Challenges, Opportunities & Strategies
3 Kaur Manpreet (2013) “Rural Marketing: A Case Study on Hindustan Unilever Limited” International Journal of Applied Research and Studies, Vol.2, Issue 6.
4 Kotni VV Devi Prasad (2012) “Prosoects and Problems of Indian rural Markets” Zenith International Journal of Business Economics and management Research.Vol.2, Issue 3.
5 MISRA, S.K. (2000). Indian Economy, Himalaya Publishing House, 18th Edition, p. 739 New Delhi.
6 priya Lakshmi and Vandana Bajpai , http://conference.aimt.edu.in/mba
7 Rajendhiran. N, S.Saiganesh,Asha p,Rural Marketing-A critical Review
8 Rakshit Rajarshi ,M.L.Narasimham,Ashish Gudhe,Kartik Vaddadi (2006) Strategies for rural marketing by an organization
11) Kothari, C.R. (2013). Research Methodology, Wishwa Prakashan, India
12) Marketing Management (2014), ICFAI University Press
13) Mamoria, C.B. (2012). Research Methodology
14) Desai Vasant (2012). Rural Development in India , Himalaya Publishing House
1 (1Harper, Douglas. “Communication”. Online Etymology Dictionary.) (2 http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/essay/rural-marketing-in-india-definition-and-features-of-rural-marketing/32335)