With 2020, we step into a new decade and in an ever-evolving communication profession, it sure is a good time to map some emerging trends that could pave way to a new definition of Regional PR in India. In this column, I have tried to decode five major trends that will define the changing role & scope of communication for heartland of our country in the times to come.
- Heartland storytelling is ‘big’
It is important to mould brand stories to connect with Regional India. Think about – how do you communicate the impact of what your organisation does in a powerful and convincing way? How do you put across the story in a way that connects with your audience, your stakeholders? It’s not just about facts and figures, but it is both your story and the story of associated communities. Highlighting the heartland, by and large.
Sooner we accept this change with regards to non metro regions of India and delve into how to harness the power of stories, to influence and inspire stakeholders – the better it will be. Devising ways to communicate complex ideas to influence a challenging audience is the way to uncover storylines that will be as vivid and memorable as possible. Storytelling connected to the roots, can do wonders for a business: turn a brand into a legacy, create a robust marketing strategy, win customer loyalty and generate profit too, in the long run.
- ‘Digital’ will click ‘regional’ now
It is seen that more and more influencers are booming in Regional India, generating content at par with the national ones now, and are more authentic in their storytelling. The rise of ‘desi’ influencers is a clear phenomenon. And the internet outburst in the country has also lead to the easy availability of social media apps in the regional languages. With more consumers entering the digital space from regional India, it is imperative brands start using influencers to reach that segment as well.
In a survey by Greenroom, a consultancy specialising in digital marketing and artiste management, revealed that currently up to 15% of digital media investments are going into influencers and it’s growing very fast. ‘Regional Digital’ is invariably going to be the disruptor in the decade to come.
- Grab eyeballs – by reaching out to online media
Online editions are grabbing eyeballs, especially with the Millennials and GenZers.
It is a reality today, that online editions of newspapers are surpassing the print counterparts rapidly. With print space getting marginalised and marketing taking control, the scenario has indeed, changed. Having realised the potential of the web, online editions of newspapers are trying to identify a niche in cyberspace. If it is as attractive for advertisers or not, is something that time will unfold. Whatever be the case, it is extremely relevant that with the right kind of stories generated that resonate with the content patterns of the media houses, there is a lot of critical space that brands can capture – to make it work for them. In a time when layoffs are happening in the print industry and media houses are struggling to find the right talent for managing the booming online verticals, the trend is crystal clear. Needless to say, language content remains a hot favorite even here.
- Collaborate with media houses
A major way to introduce your brand to new audiences is through partnerships. Today, publication houses are more open to collaborating with brands even in regional india, for both commercial and CSR initiatives. Editorial content is a great avenue for publication partnerships to thrive and is one of the preferred partnerships for publishers. With the marketing taking control from editorial hands even with regional media houses, associations and partnerships sure seems to be a way out to crack the hard nut of medianet.
- Join the regional language flow
As far as language content goes, we clearly see that it is on the rise and will keep forging ahead, at a rapid pace. The future of Indian language on the internet is indeed shining. More than 75% of new Internet users over the next five years are projected to be Indian languages’ users. The government is also planning to propagate digital literacy among 60,000 rural households by 2021. Clearly, these regional languages are now taking center stage, and the internet, too, is transitioning into a diverse amalgamation of Indian languages. According to a recent Google-KPMG report, India has 234 million Indian language users online while only 175 million are English language users. The Indian language user base is poised to account for 75% of India’s internet user base by 2024.
Ultimately, in the regional scenario, there is a need for customised communication strategy. While a lot of thrust is being given to the marketing strategies for rural markets, we need to focus on specific communication strategies that are required in the different regions of India. This is what I strongly feel needs to be addressed by brands – to reach the consumers at the Bottom of the Pyramid.